STEP 1) CREATE A NAME FOR YOUR CORPORATION

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in Arkansas, 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 the words ‘Corporation,’ ‘Company,’ ‘Incorporated,’ or ‘Limited.” Abbreviations for these words are also acceptable. If needed, you can have it reserved for 120 by filing the Application for Reservation of Corporate Name form.

Filing Fee: $25

STEP 2) DESIGNATE A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentYour Arkansas Registered Agent must be designated and brought aboard to provide “service of process” or in other word receive and help to process all legal notices and other critical documents like state filings. Your agent can be resident or registered business entity with a physical street address and who will be available during all regular work hours.

So there’s basically two options here – 1) hire a third-party service and expect to pay up to $160/year, or 2) get a qualified agent for your company free of charge when you incorporate with IncFile or Incorporate.com.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLCNow that you have a registered agent, when ready you can download, correctly fill out and file Articles of Incorporation with the Arkansas Secretary of State. It’s a basic declarative document that discloses some of your brand’s basics for the public record including:

  • Arkansas corporate name & address,
  • Complete name and address of each incorporator,
  • The number of shares your Arkansas Corporation is allowed to issue.

Filing Fee: Online is $45; and $50 by mail.

STEP 4) SET-UP A CORPORATE RECORDS BINDER

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsThink 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.

We’re huge fans of Corporate Kits which include gorgeous records books/binders you can brand for as little as $99.

STEP 5) APPOINT INITIAL DIRECTOR, MEET, DISCUSS BYLAWS

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Appoint at least 1 director who among other things will oversee the Arkansas 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 AccountThis is a very important step that should’ve been heavily discussed during your initial shareholder meeting. Where will your corporation set up shop and begin building its financial foundation? There’s local, state, and national banks as well as credit unions to consider.

It’s not a permanent decision. You can choose a smaller, more local institution early on to leverage the small business incentives and then move to a larger national-size bank if/when it becomes time to do so. Do some homework. Get familiar with business fee structures and figure out which core business services you’ll need.

STEP 7) COVER TAXATION & LICENSING/PERMITS

Business Licenses

As a legally operating Arkansas 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’s some helpful moves to make right away that can get the ball rolling:

OPTIONAL) REFINE YOUR BUSINESS PLANS

Write a Business Plan

What’s the big difference between corporate business plans and the average startup or solopreneur-blend (other than the fact many smaller outfits don’t both with formal planning till much later on in their growth cycle)?

A corporation needs to hammer down on core fundamentals because funding’s an issue, usually right away. Investors, banks, VC-types, and business organizations/funds will demand to see your plans before anything else – marketing, competitive analysis, budgeting & forecasts, company philosophy/culture, executive summary and pitch, etc. To learn more, check out our free resources below.

  • Our free email-based Business Plan Course is specifically designed to take you smoothly through the process step-by-step.
  • Our guide to Business Planning Software breaks down the best user-friendly solutions to help you strategize 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

If you don’t already have a functional and responsive business website yet, now’s the time to begin taking necessary steps. Without an in-house designer you trust, there are a variety of options like modern outsourcing or one-stop-shop web builder platforms. It’s just not as complex as it used to be thanks to tools like Wix, SquareSpace and Weebly.

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 an Arkansas 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 an Arkansas corporation or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.