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 Sec. of 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/available, you can file an Application for Reservation of Name to reserve for 60 days.
Filing Fee: $30.
A Massachusetts Registered Agent is the person or organization that receives and helps process important documents (state filings, tax forms, legal notices, etc.) on behalf of your business. They must be a Massachusetts resident or registered business entity with the state and be available during all regular M-F office hours.
You can hire an outside professional service and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a Registered Agent free of charge when starting a corporation through IncFile or BizFilings. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.
Once you have a registered agent, when you and your board agree the corporation is ready, you can make it an officially recognized business entity by filing Articles of Organization with the Department of Assessments and Taxation by mail. It asks for basic information to disclose for the public record including:
Filing fee: $275 for up to 275k shares. Additional $100 fee every additional 100k shares.
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. They’re very common and while not necessary having one is highly recommended for all serious business entities.
Appoint at least 3 Directors who among other things will oversee the corp 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:
Your CFO, or you with your board need to seriously consider this step. It’s not personal banking, so if you’re brand new to this then please do some homework and shop around. Look at different local, state, and national banks as well as credit unions. There’s plenty of great deals, perks, reduced fees, and kickbacks to be leveraged.
The other big important factor is making sure to completely separate your brand’s financials from data streams and bank accounts of any kind. Here’s a quick breakdown article of Business Checking Accounts from some of the biggest banks to begin your research.
As a legally operating MA 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. That said, here are four resources to get started:
It’s your corporate road map; the game plan! Do you need something extremely-formal during your initial startup phase? No, not really. They do help a ton but aren’t really necessary because in this phase so many things are changing and evolving so quickly in a more reactionary form.
However, the time will soon come when a streamlined, presentation-ready plan that focuses on your core fundamentals will be needed. For example when you approach serious stakeholders or potential partners who want to know you’re a serious corporation. Then of course there’s outside funding to consider.
QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING
A website is more than just an online presence for your business, it provides a vast assortment of benefits that seem to be growing every year as the internet matures. From getting prospective clients to showcasing your goods/services to using it as a sales funnel, a website is a definite must for your brand.
And, although building a website was difficult in the early 2000’s, now you can just use a customizable and affordable tool like Wix or SquareSpace. Regardless of which business website builder you choose, you’re in good hands!
Note that this article on how to form a corporation in Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.