STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE YOUR BRAND NAME

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the state and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

Keep in mind your brand name should contain the words ‘Corporation,’ ‘Company,’ ‘Incorporated,’ or ‘Limited.” Abbreviations for these words are also acceptable. If needed, you can file a Reservation for Business Name form and reserve the name for 60 days.

Filing Fee: $25

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentTo act in behalf of your Corporation, a Louisiana Registered Agent must be a resident of the state, an individual attorney, a partnership from Louisiana or a foreign/domestic organization legally registered to act as one. They’re responsible for receiving and helping you to handle/process all official documentation like state filings, tax forms, legal notices, and so on.

You can hire a third party service and pay up to $160/year, or get a qualified agent free when you start a corporation through a service like IncFile or CorpNet. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLCNow that you’ve secured a registered agent, when you’re ready to make your corporation an officially recognized business entity you need to file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. Basic information that will be disclosed for the public records includes:

  • Corporate name, address, and purpose,
  • Full name and complete address of Registered Agent,
  • Full name and complete address of the incorporators,
  • Number of shares Corporation is authorized to issue, and so on.

Filing fee: $75

STEP 4) START A CORPORATE RECORDS BOOK

File Annual Reports & Publication Requirements

Think of this as the hard copy record book where all critical corporate documents are kept like the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, meeting minutes, stock certificate ledger, stock certificates, stock certificate stubs, stock transfer documents, etc. It’s the ultimate company binder! They’re very common and while not necessary having one is highly recommended for all serious business entities.

You can find them at nearby office supply stores or on Amazon, but we’re huge fans of Corporate Kits which include gorgeous records books/binders you can brand for as little as $99.

STEP 5) APPOINT INITIAL DIRECTORS, MEET, DISCUSS BYLAWS

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Appoint at least 3 directors who among other things will oversee the Louisiana corporation until the first shareholder meeting where new directors will be voted in. Prepare an “Incorporator Statement” with complete names and addresses of each director and keep it in your records book. Once elected, an initial meeting should:

  • Appoint officers & discuss/create Corporate Bylaws.
  • Choose a bank & approve the issuance of stock certificates.
  • Agree on corporate seal and adopt official stock certificate form.
  • Approve s-corp (opt.). Record Minutes of Meeting, have directors sign, then add to records book.

STEP 6) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank Account

First of all, your corporation’s financials need to be separate from all other accounts or streams of financial data. Don’t just assume you should set it up where you or your team already have personal bank accounts. Would that be convenient? Yes, but keep in mind there are plenty of options – local, state, and national banks.

Try to look at the differences in fees, kickbacks, incentives and financial services on an annual basis when you do your comparisons. Just don’t be hasty. Do some homework. Here’s a quick breakdown article on Business Checking Accounts from some of the biggest banks to begin your research.

STEP 7) HANDLE TAXATION & LICENSING/PERMITS

Business LicensesAs a legally operating corporation, you’re required to be 100% compliant with all relevant local/state/federal agencies. Ideally you should have an attorney or at least dedicate time to knocking this out yourself and doing the homework. Here are four resources to get started:

  1. Get your EIN, or Employer Identification Number, freely and quickly through the IRS Website.
  2. Bookmark the New Orleans Small Business Administration office and Sec. of State’s Business Services.
  3. To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
  4. Also, consider a professional business license service that take care of the legwork for you.

OPTIONAL) BUILD A BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanIf you’re like most corporations you a) have no one with solid experience in serious business planning/strategy aboard yet or, b) are operating more on a reactionary informal business plan. You’re moving and shaking and evolving day by day and the thought of crafting a professional business plan seems unnecessary until it’s time to search for funding.

First, modern business planning isn’t what it used to be. No one wants to see a 40-page breakdown. It’s about streamlining and focusing on core fundamentals; presentation-ready plans for everything from potential partners and investors to CrowdFunding. Learn more through our free resources below.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • Our free Business Plan Guide is designed to take you smoothly through the process step-by-step.
  • Our guide to Business Planning Software breaks down the best user-friendly solutions to help you strategize better. We highly recommend LivePlan, but there are other great options too.

OPTIONAL) BUILD A COMPANY WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteStart small, simple, and responsive then build over time only as your corporate needs grow. Don’t spend $4000 on a site before making a sale. Ideally, use profits to build from a basic landing page, agency site, or ecommerce store into something much more extensive.

It’s about marketing potential. It’s about brand expansion. It’s about social selling and generating leads by giving search engines a way to show your brand to the world. If this is your first web design rodeo, consider a solid website builder like Wix and Weebly.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom

Note that this article on how to form an corporation in Louisiana isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding how to form an corporation in Louisiana or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.