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 an Application for Reservation of Name and reserve the name for 120 days.

Filing Fee: $20

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

A Maine Registered Agent is a certified individual or business entity that acts as an intermediary, receiving and helping to handle/process all official documents on your brand’s behalf. They must be a legal resident of the state or registered to conduct business and have a Maine street address where they can be reached at all times during regular hours of operation.

You can hire an outside professional service and pay up to $160/year, or get a Registered Agent free when registering a corporation through services like IncFile and Incorporate.com. They handle this along with so much more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLCLegally incorporating in Maine requires that you file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State by mail or Online Filing. Keep in mind this is a very official document for the public record that discloses the basics of your company including:

  • 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: $145

STEP 4) GET A CORPORATE RECORDS BOOK

File Annual Reports & Publication Requirements

A Corporate Records Book, or binder, is where you put copies of all the most important core documents that make your company what it is in the eyes of the law – Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, meeting minutes, stock certificate ledger, stock certificates, stock certificate stubs, stock transfer documents, etc. It’s very common. Sure, have them online or thumb drive as well, but this is a long-standing tradition for corporations.

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) ELECT INITIAL DIRECTOR, MEET, DISCUSS BYLAWS

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsAppoint at least 1 director who among other things will oversee the 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 Status (opt.). Record Minutes of Meeting have directors sign, then add to records book.

STEP 6) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank AccountWhere you choose to bank is no small matter when we’re talking about a corporation. Often startups and solopreneurs just use personal accounts, but that’s not going to fly with a corporation. Instead you and your CFO, if you have appointed one, need to find the best bank or credit union to handle the business banking services you’ll need to grow.

Look at different fee-structures, perks, incentives, and overall costs and savings and think ahead! You could start with a smaller bank for better deals, then switch to a much larger bank when your volume demands it. To get started, check out this quick breakdown of Business Checking Accounts.

STEP 7) HANDLE TAXATION & LICENSING

Business LicensesYou should be working with a business attorney or at least buckle down and do the research thoroughly. Depending on the nature of your business there could be substantial regulatory paperwork to get through. Regardless, here’s some resources:

  1. File for a Employer Identification Number (EIN) for free at the IRS website.
  2. Bookmark the Augusta Small Business Administration office and the Corporations Division.
  3. To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
  4. Consider professional business license services that take care of the legwork for you.

OPTIONAL) WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business Plan

Corporations do require more formal and serious business planning that focuses on core fundamentals like marketing, budgeting, financials and forecasting, management structure and company culture, etc.

The good news is that these days the old school 50-page tomes aren’t as needed anymore thanks to resources that can transform data into curated, presentation-ready plans to please shareholders, investors, lending institutions, and so on. To learn more check out the free resources we’ve put together below.

  • Our free Business Plan Guide is designed to take you smoothly through the process step-by-step.
  • Business Planning Software Guide is a quick breakdown of all the best software solutions to help you plan better. (Spoiler: We’re huge fans of LivePlan, plus they offer our readers a special discount.)

OPTIONAL) BUILD A COMPANY WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteNo one’s saying you need to hire a digital marketing director and begin funneling resources into building a magnificent work of website-art to represent your brand. Thanks to advances in web-design and development, there are much trimmer and streamlined solutions that come with one-click apps, intuitive dashboards, already responsive and sharp customizable themes, etc.

Wix and Jimdo are two big names these days, along with Shopify if you’re going 100% eCommerce. Either way, they’re all great for setting up shop to at least give the world a way to investigate your company.

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 a corporation in Maine 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 a corporation in Maine or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.