Many entrepreneurs prioritize incorporating or forming an LLC for their small business. What’s next after incorporating a business? What should you do once you have incorporated as an entity formation?
Spoiler alert: there’s quite a bit left on an entrepreneur’s to-do list. Let’s break it down, step by step. From applying for an employer identification number to trademark registration, here’s what your business needs to do next to stay in compliance.
1. Register for trademarks and/or copyrights
What’s the difference between trademarks and copyrights again?
- Trademarks. These are names, phrases or taglines, symbols, designs, and logos that distinguish a business and its visibility to the world. Trademark registration protects this media from being plagiarized by outside sources, which may include competing businesses.
- Copyrights. This type of intellectual property differs slightly from a trademark. A copyright is an original work of authorship. If you created a specific work, such as a literary work or music and stage plays that fall into the performing arts category, you are considered to be the author of that work. You would need to file for a copyright to protect this work.
Remember to conduct a name search before you begin filing trademark and/or copyright applications. Conducting a name search, especially with the help of a third party service like MyCorporation, ensures that the mark is available for use. Once you verify the uniqueness of the mark, you may file to register it.
2. Apply for an employer identification number (EIN)
What comes to mind when you first think of an employer identification number (EIN)? Generally, most entrepreneurs think about how an EIN is necessary in order to hire employees. If you plan to hire employees and pay them after incorporating a business, you will need to complete an EIN application.
What if you don’t plan to hire immediately? You may still file for an EIN. This federal tax ID allows entrepreneurs to open up a business bank account and establish business credit. An EIN, which is nine digits long, may also be used in lieu of your social security number (SSN) on paperwork. In the event that you decide not to use your SSN, you may use your EIN to identify and safeguard your business from identity theft.
3. Apply for relevant business licenses and/or permits
Every business requires licenses and/or permits in order to operate. The most basic license is a business operation license. This permits you to operate the business in your city, county, and state.
However, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to filing for licenses. How do you know which are required to obtain for your business? The licenses and permits your business needs are ultimately determined by your business type, its industry, and the county or city it does business in. Luckily, third party services like MyCorporation are ready to help you file for a license. Our business license compliance package researches which licenses your company needs and provides you with the proper filing paperwork.
4. Stay on top of annual maintenance
This final bullet encompasses quite a few items. Much of this maintenance is also ongoing after incorporating a business.
- Designating a registered agent. A registered agent, or RA, acts as the point of contact between the business and the state. A designated RA will receive process, organize the paperwork, and privately deliver it to the business owner in a prompt manner.
- Obtain a doing business as name (DBA). Filing for a DBA allows you to conduct business and receive payments under a name that differs from your legal business name. A DBA also allows you to open up a business bank account.
- Filing an annual report. An annual report is filed with your local Secretary of State on an annual basis. It’s actually a simple document to file. It records any changes made in the business throughout the year. Some of these changes may include the present business address, names and addresses of members of the business, or changes to the registered agent’s name or address. If you have incorporated as an LLC, it is advised that you update the LLC’s operating agreement, too. The same goes for businesses that incorporated as corporations, which will need to update their bylaws.
Don’t forget this detail when incorporating a business!
As you apply for certain legal documents and file to renew others, make sure you pay in full all required filing fees. This is an important detail that accompanies all aspects of filing documents for your small business, from start to (continued) finish. You may always consult the professionals at MyCorporation to ensure payments are made to the correct point of contact and for the proper amounts.