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, you can file a Request for Reservation of Name form to reserve for 1 year
Filing Fee: $55 expedited/in-person & $35 mail.
A Registered Agent performs “service of process”, or in other words they’re responsible for receiving and helping process important documents like state filings, legal notices, tax forms, etc. on behalf of your corporation. The agent can be an individual resident or a domestic/foreign business entity registered with the state. A physical street address is also required.
You can hire an outside professional service and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a Registered Agent free when registering a corporation through a service like IncFile or Incorporate.com. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.
With a registered agent, once you’re ready to make your brand official, file Articles of Incorporation with the Sec. of State. It asks for basic information to disclose for the public record including:
Filing fee: $155 expedited; $135 by mail
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 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:
Your CFO, or you with your board need to 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. 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 Minnesota 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:
Corporation’s aren’t pet projects. There should be a real vision on the table, so start seriously planning out the core fundamentals: marketing approach, competitive analysis, budgeting, milestones & metrics, problem & solution, etc. And no, you don’t have to have an MBA or be a seasoned entrepreneur to get this done.
With the resources below you’ll end up with presentation-ready plans you can optimize over time and when needed show to VCs, lending institutions, potential partners and stakeholders, and so on.
Listen, if you have this part all taken care of because you have a fabulous team then that’s great! We added this step because tons of new corporations we bump into have most everything else in this article in the works by the time we meet, but their websites are in shabby condition or extremely basic.
Note that this article on how to form a corporation in Minnesota 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 Minnesota or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.