One of the biggest risks of running a sole proprietorship or a partnership is that you have don't enjoy limited liability protection. In fact, you have the exact opposite: unlimited liability. If your business is sued, your personal assets, including your home and your furniture, may be liquidated to pay the expenses of the lawsuit. However, incorporation provides significant protection to the owners of a business, including a limitation on liability. Once you are incorporated, your liability is limited to corporation assets. The incorporation process is fairly simple.

Get Started Start your incorporation Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

1. Decide on a State of Incorporation

When you incorporate your business, you can choose which state you want to incorporate in. The entire process is governed by state law, and laws of the state in which you incorporate are the laws that will govern your business. Bear in mind that if you don't have a physical presence in your state of incorporation, you'll have to designate a registered agent who does. To comply with state law, you will have to select your registered agent before you apply for incorporation.

When you're deciding on a state of incorporation, research that state's laws. Currently, more businesses incorporate in Delaware than in any other state because Delaware tends to have the most corporation-friendly laws in the United States. But Delaware isn't your only option. Generally, it's more convenient to incorporate in the state where your business is actually located.

2. Choose a Business Name

You will need to choose a business name for your corporation as well. Every state maintains a list of registered business names. You must choose a name that is different from other registered business names in the state of incorporation.

3. Prepare the Articles of Incorporation

Next, you will have to prepare the company’s Articles of Incorporation. You can download an Articles of Incorporation form from your state's small business administration site (or from your state’s Secretary of State office). The Articles of Incorporation are sometimes referred to by other names, such as Certificates of Incorporation. To prepare your Articles of Incorporation, at a minimum, you will need to have:

  • Your name and the names of the other business owners

  • Your address and the addresses of the other business owners

  • Your business name

  • Your business address

  • The name and address of your business’ registered agent, if the registered agent is not one of the business owners

Some states may require that you state the kind of corporation you want to form, but the default is usually a C-Corporation if you don't specify otherwise.

Once you finish preparing the Articles of Incorporation, verify all the information. You can mail the form in or submit it online. At this point, you will also have to pay your state's incorporation fee. You cannot claim that your business is a corporation, though, until you receive notice that you are officially incorporated from your state’s Secretary of State or Secretary of Business Affairs, depending on your state. You should receive your notice, including a Certificate of Incorporation, in the mail.

To make the process easier, we’ll take care of the paperwork for you. Incorporate today.

Get Started Start your incorporation Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get Started Start your incorporation Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.