(7 Simple Steps)
To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, 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 submit an Application for Reservation of Name to reserve it for 6 months.
Filing Fee: $25
A Michigan Registered Agent is required by the state to act as an intermediary of sorts. It’s their job to receive and help handle/process all official paperwork like state filings, court documents, tax forms, legal notices, and so forth. This is why it’s so important that they’re always available during regular M-F work hours and timely.
The agent can be an individual resident of Michigan or a registered business entity, but they must have a physical street address. That said, you can hire an outside professional service and pay up to $160/year, or get one free of charge when you start a corporation through IncFile or CorpNet.
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 Licensing & Regulatory Affairs. It asks for basic information to disclose for the public record including:
Filing fee: $50 for up to 60k initial shares, $100 for additional shares up to 1 million, plus the $10 fee.
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.
Appoint at least 1 Director 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 MI 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: