How to Incorporate Your Small Business

Many small business owners start their businesses as sole proprietorships. After all, it is the simplest and easiest type of business to administer, particularly if there are no employees involved.

However, if your business deals in tangible products, or services that put your personal credibility on the line, it may be wise to consider incorporating.

Here's how to do that.

Name Check

You can't have a business without a name. Therefore, you need to make sure that the name you've chosen is available.

It is also best to check for names similar to your small business' name to avoid confusion that may arise later.

The name check is usually done via the Secretary of State where your business is located.

Documentation

The next step is to prepare and file all of the documentation that the state requires for you to do business. These are called the 'Articles of Incorporation' and need to be filed with the Secretary of State's office.

You will then have to pay any filing fees or taxes required. Each state has different filing fees and requirements. They usually range from $100 and up.

Legal Considerations

There are many companies on the Internet that can help you with the legal aspects of incorporating. Of course, you can do everything yourself and perhaps save a bit of money.

If you do decide to do everything on your own, you'll need to research the laws of the state where your business is located and do all of the follow-up and legwork yourself.

If you decide to use a company or the services of an attorney or accountant, everything - including the name check - will be done for you. Attorneys are usually more expensive than using an accountant or Internet company.

In the end, only you can decide if you should incorporate your small business - consult your attorney or CPA for guidance.