To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered Vermont name, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through 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 name must include words like “Corporation”, “Incorporated”, “Company”, or “Limited”. Abbreviations like “Corp.”, “Inc.”, “Co.” or “Ltd.” are also acceptable. If needed, you can file an Application to Reserve Specified Business Name form that’s good for 120 days.
Filing Fee: $20
A Vermont registered agent can be an individual resident of the state or a legally registered business entity with a physical street address and regular M-F business hours. On behalf of your corporation 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 work with a professional and expect to pay up to $160/yr, or get a registered agent free of charge when you incorporate with IncFile or Incorporate.com. They handle this along with much more depending on which startup package you opt for.
Now that you’ve got a registered agent, to make your corporation an official business entity by filing Articles of Incorporation with the Sec. of State that disclose for the public record some basics of your brand including:
Filing Fee: $75
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 3 initial directors who among other things will oversee the Vermont 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:
When you start a Corporation in Vermont, it’s very important to keep all personal and business assets/accounts completely separate. So don’t take this lightly. Where should you start building the financial foundation of your brand? Who is offering the best overall business services to corporate clients, relative to location and other conveniences?
If you think it’ll be helpful, look into this short breakdown of Business Checking Accounts to start brushing up if all this is unfamiliar territory. Where your corporation banks is a critical move, which is why it should be discussed at length in your initial shareholder meeting.
As a legally operating Vermont corporation, you’re required to be 100% compliant with all relevant local/state/federal agencies. Ideally you should have an attorney or be working with a filing service. Otherwise, here are four resources to get started:
What’s the first thing VC-types, investors, banks, crowdfunders, incubation programs and business organizations want to see when you approach them for a serious partnership or funding? That’s right, your corporate business plan. They want to know you’re a serious operation. They want to see your marketing approach, executive summary, pitch, etc. They want to see your numbers!
Will you need it on day 1? Perhaps, some corporations have deals waiting for when they go public. Most will need their plan polished and funding/presentation-ready within the first 6 months or so. Thankfully these days software is making the process simpler and less expensive.
QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING
If there’s already a web designer/developer on your team and your company site is already published, then fabulous. However, for those of you who have done everything above, but don’t have one – we understand it can be daunting. Should you outsource? Yes, probably.
That is unless you have someone that understands the big website-builder platforms like Wix or SquareSpace. These days you don’t necessarily need to spend as much or hire a full-time developer to get a basic, responsive agency-style site published.
Note that this article on how to form a Vermont 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 Vermont Corporation or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.