written by MO.com Subject Matter Resource Nellie Akalp
Once you incorporate a business or form an LLC, your job isn’t over yet. There are more actions you must do to ensure your new business is kept in compliance under your state law.
My last post discussed four steps to take when navigating life after the incorporation or LLC formation process. Today, I’m sharing with you my final four steps that you should keep in mind:
1. Use your proper name on every contract and form
Whenever you reference your business, make sure to identify it as a corporation, using Inc. or Corp. (whichever your state requires). Check all business contracts to ensure the proper name is used in each. The signature line should read “John Doe, President, XYZ Corp.,” never just “John Doe.” In addition, never use your name followed by “dba” (doing business as) on a contract. In fact, you should negotiate any old contracts that do.
2. File DBAs for any name variations (corporations and LLCs):
If like most businesses you’re going to be operating under any variation of your official company name (i.e. CorpNet vs. CorpNet.com vs. CorpNet, Inc…), you will need to file DBAs for each of the variations. You should have your Corporation/LLC file the DBAs so they operate underneath your Corp/LLC.
File a DBA in any state or call us to place your order by phone:
3. Keep up with your paperwork
Your paperwork isn’t done after you submit those initial forms:
For an LLC, you’ll need to file an Annual Report each year (although specific requirements vary by state… Call us toll-free at 1-888-449-2638 and we’ll help you determine what your legal responsibilities are)
For a Corporation (C Corp or S Corp), the required paperwork is a little more hefty than with the LLC. You’ll need to:
- Issue stock and hold yearly meetings to elect officers and directors, even if they’re the same people as the shareholders.
- File an Annual Report
- File an Articles of Amendment for any major changes: for example, did you authorize more shares? Did a board member leave?
- Record Minutes of Meetings whenever a corporate meeting is held. Minutes content typically includes: time and place of meeting, attendance and chair of the meeting, any actions (purchases, elections, etc), and signature of recorder and date.
- Write a corporate resolution permitting any major activity, such as the purchase of a major asset. Keep all completed forms in the corporate book.
4. Keep your LLC/Corporation in good standing
It’s smart practice to call the secretary of state each year to check your corporate status. Keeping your company in good standing is critical to building your business credit (and avoiding fees and penalties).
Nellie Akalp is the CEO of CorpNet.com, an online legal document filing service, where she helps entrepreneurs Incorporate or Form an LLC for their new businesses.