STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE BRAND NAME

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in New Hampshire, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a free 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 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 that’s good for 120 days.

Filing Fee: $15

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

A 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 M-F 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 a 3rd party professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a qualified agent free of charge when you incorporate with IncFile or Incorporate.com.

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, and so on.

Filing fee: $100

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 Directors

Appoint at least 1 Director who among other things will oversee the New Hampshire 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 (opt.). Record Minutes of Meeting, have directors sign, then add to records book.

STEP 6) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank Account

In your initial meeting you and the board should have discussed where to set up your corporation’s financial groundwork – where to bank. This is no simple matter. If you aren’t a/haven’t hired a qualified CFO or accountant, then you need to check out a good number of different local, state, and national banks as well as credit unions.

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 LicensesWhen starting a business in New Hampshire, 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:

  1. Get an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, free and easy through the IRS website.
  2. Bookmark the Concord Small Business Administration and the state Small-Biz Dev Center.
  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 Research packages that handle the legwork for you.

OPTIONAL) BUILD A BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business Plan

In truth, success in business is about 80% execution. But, that being said, there’s a huge different between startup-phase execution and being empowered by a professional business plan. No, not some huge complex collegiate-level plan but a streamlined and presentation-ready plan that focuses on core fundamentals: marketing, demographics, budgeting, financials, forecasts, pitch, etc.

These days there are software solutions that walk you through the process so that you learn a ton and end up with a presentation-ready plan to show potential partners, stakeholders, venture capitalists, or even banking institutions.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • Our Business Planning Software Guide 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 Website

There’s so many options with this step a fair amount of new corporations try to shove the task aside for a while. Either you’re designers or you’re not. You either have an in-house designer you trust and who understands your company vision or you don’t.

In these cases we often suggest checking out platforms like Wix and Weebly because they have the most to offer including savvy dashboards, tons of easy apps you can integrate, simple upgrade options as you expand and so forth. Enjoy!

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