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 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 words like ‘Corporation,’ ‘Company,’ ‘Incorporated,’ or ‘Limited.” Abbreviations for these words are also acceptable. If needed, you can file an Application for Reservation of Name through postal mail.

Filing Fee: $25

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentA Registered Agent can be an individual resident of the state or a legally registered domestic/foreign business entity with a physical street address and regular business hours. On behalf of your brand they receive and help process important business documents like state filings, tax forms, legal notices and so on. They’re essential and required by law.

That said, you can hire 3rd party professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a Missouri Registered Agent free of charge when you register a corporation through IncFile or CorpNet. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLC

With a registered agent, once you’re ready to make your brand official, set up an account with the state to file Articles of Incorporation. It asks for basic information to disclose for the public record including:

  • The name and address of the business
  • The number of shares authorized, the value they hold, and any transfer restrictions
  • The addresses and names of the president, initial directors, secretary, and treasurer
  • The type of business structure chosen

Filing fee: $50

STEP 4) GET 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) ELECT DIRECTOR, MEET, DISCUSS BYLAWS

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsAppoint 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:

  • 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

Okay, so where do you and your board/CFO plan on establishing the financial groundwork of your Missouri corporation? The first thing to ensure is that no other financial data-streams or accounts of any kind will get into the mix and muddy the waters. Keep everything separate. Then, shop around at different local, state and national banks as well as credit unions to get a good idea of your options.

To get your research going, check out this short free quasi-guide to Business Checking Accounts from the more big bank perspective. It should help give you a basic idea of the numbers involved.

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 buckle down and make sure everything is taken of yourself. Here are four resources to get you started:

  1. Get an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, free and quick through the IRS Website.
  2. Bookmark the St. Louis Small Business Administration and the 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. If you need help, consider professional Business License Research packages that handle the legwork for you. The service isn’t required, but certainly helpful.

OPTIONAL) WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business Plan

No matter what stage of corporate development you’re in, in terms of actual products/services, if you plan on going “all the way” then you’re going to need to get down to some basics are plan accordingly. No serious company gets to genuine heights without a game plan.

What does this mean? It means a presentation-ready plan that focuses on the core fundamentals of the brand for the purposes of showing VC-types, lending institutions, potential partners and stakeholders. Just to name a few.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • Use our Business Plan Software guide to see which mobile-friendly solution best suits your team. We’re huge fans of LivePlan, plus they offer our readers a special discount.

OPTIONAL) PUBLISH BUSINESS WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteLike children, business websites grow and evolve over time as your brand does. That’s why we’re such big fans of sleek platforms like Wix and Weebly among others. They make the process to get up and running much quicker and easier for corporate teams who don’t have web design savvy.

Regardless, it’s important to get out there, take advantage of the marketing potential, grow the brand name in the digital economy, and give people a way to investigate what you’re about!

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