Starting a business is a little bit like raising a child. And if that metaphor stands, then the articles of incorporation is your baby business’s birth certificate. They turn your baby into an official legal entity. If you want to be a corporation like most businesses in the US are, then you’ll need these articles of incorporation to be legit.
They are usually filed with a state’s Secretary of State office as well as with the state in which you’re establishing your business. Depending on the state, there are laws you’ll have to follow. Nevada is a good example of a state with very laxed incorporation laws, as you can probably imagine from the types of businesses that tend to emerge there. You aren’t even required to be a resident of the state in order to start a business there, which is great if you’re really only a Vegas weekender.
The core elements of the articles of incorporation include the name, purpose and duration of the corporation, the name and address of the registered agent, the address of its registered office, and in the case of public companies, the number of shares the corporation is authorized to issue and the rights of each class or series of stock.
Sometimes you even have to define your company’s purpose but most of the time it is kept very broad so the company can flex and change as the world tends to go. Bylaws are often required as well. This means you have to define how your company will be run from the get-go, so it’s a good idea to think about these things ahead of time before you put something in the public record that you’ll regret.
We’re filing our articles of incorporation today so there’s no turning back on this business now. It’s really happening.