In order to incorporate, you must choose a legal name for the business, appoint a board of directors, create the corporation's bylaws, file the articles of incorporation with your state government, and issue stock to the initial owners. This process can take from a few weeks to several months.
- Choose the corporate name
Your corporation's name cannot be the same as another business that is incorporated in your state. The name must end with corporation, incorporated or limited. The name cannot imply an association with the federal government of infringe on any trademarks held by private enterprises.
- Appoint the board
The board must consist of at least one person, but in larger corporations it is generally a group of highly experienced businesspeople.
- Create the bylaws
The corporate bylaws determine how often shareholder meetings take place and serve as a guide for how the business operates. Bylaws are generally adopted at the first meeting of the board of directors.
- File the articles of incorporation
The articles of incorporation are relatively simple forms that are obtained through the secretary of state's office. They ask for basic information such as the businesses' address, the name of the owner(s) and directors.
- Issue stock to initial owners
In addition to distributing the stock, a shareholder's agreement should be created. This agreement spells out how stock is to be transferred in case one of the owners dies, becomes disabled, or wishes to leave the corporation.