Registering your business is a critical first step for any entrepreneur. It establishes your company as a separate legal entity and can help protect you from personal liability. It also enables you to open a bank account and build credit. The process varies slightly depending on your state and business structure, so it’s important to check with your secretary of state for specific details. In general, you will need to get an employer identification number (EIN) and file articles of incorporation or a similar document with the state. Using an online legal service such as IncFile can save you time and headaches by handling all the paperwork for you.
It’s also a good idea to create an operating agreement, which describes how your company makes financial and functional decisions. Although this isn’t a requirement in every state, it’s widely recommended to reduce disputes and prevent future liabilities.
Some states require a license or permit before you can register your business. It’s best to check these requirements before you begin the registration process so you can plan accordingly. If you plan on selling outside of your domestic state, you will need to complete a separate process called foreign qualification.
Finally, don’t forget to designate a registered agent for your business. This is the person the state will contact if you receive any legal papers or official notifications. The agent must be a resident of your state and must be willing to accept service of process. register a business