Form a Corporation in North Carolina yourself with our simple step-by-step guide. It’s free and easy!
IncFile and LegalZoom are both reliable services that take care of all legal paperwork on your behalf.IncFile ($49 + State Fee) LegalZoom ($149 + State Fee)
To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in North Carolina, 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 the name you choose should contain the words “Corporation”, “Incorporated”, “Company”, or “Limited.” Abbreviations like, “Corp.”, “Inc.”, “Co.” or “Ltd.” are also acceptable. If needed, you can file an Application to Reserve a Business Entity Name that’s good for a decade.
Filing Fee: $10
A North Carolina registered agent is a major player who receives and helps to handle/process all important documents on behalf of your brand like state filings, legal notices, tax forms, etc. Some basic requirements include:
So you can hire a 3rd party professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a registered agent free of charge when incorporating through IncFile or CorpNet. They handle this along with so much more depending on your startup package.
To legally form your North Carolina Corporation, you need to file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. Some of the information that you may need to file ahead of time include the following:
Filing Fee: $125
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 initial Director who among other things will oversee the North Carolina 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:
As discussed in your initial meeting, now’s the time to set up your brand’s financial groundwork (or have your CFO do it). And this isn’t personal banking, so if you’re new to this then shop around. Look at an assortment of local, state, and national banks as well as credit unions. There’s plenty of great deals, perks, incentives and kickbacks to be leveraged.
The other big important thing to remember is to completely separate your brand’s financials from other 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 the research process.
When starting a business, 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 and initially set up.
These days it’s all about software. Sleek, step-by-step, and beginner-friendly, you 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. Learn more through our free resources below.
QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING
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 startups 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/non-existent.
Why? We don’t know. With platforms like Wix, SquareSpace and Weebly out there, there’s no reason not to have a great responsive, functional and branded website. They are all very easy to use and won’t break your budget.
Note that this article on how to form a North Carolina Corporation 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 North Carolina Corporation or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.