Business Formation 101

April 21st, 2015   |    By: The Startups Team

Getting your house in order is easier to do than ever. There are now tons of low-cost services you can find online to get you up and running very quickly.

Pulling all of these items together (and doing them well!) will transform your identity from a great idea into a real, operating company.

Aside from things like Web sites, business cards, and business plans, there aren’t that many visual indicators that a company actually exists. So making sure that the few that you can create are well done and easily available will be very important.

Incorporation

Incorporating is easy to do, although you’ll have to make a few decisions early on about the structure of your company. Remember that it’s possible to change the structure of your company (for example, from an LLC to a “C” Corporation) later on, so even if you get this wrong, it’s not totally irreversible.

It’s safe to say that if you haven’t incorporated the company yet, people aren’t going to take you very seriously during your capital raise. So this should be the first thing you do toward commemorating the official launch of your company.

As part of the process, you will also need to get a tax ID from the IRS. You can either pay the incorporation company you use to do this for you or do it directly on the IRS website.

Online Bios

This may sound obvious, but providing a link to your online bio (or resume) for people to reference will likely be something you’ll need quite a bit.

Since investors are reacting to your personal resume (and that of your team) as much as they are your idea, you’ll want them to be able to reference you quickly and easily without gumming up your introduction email or executive summary with a long narrative about your background.

For purposes like this LinkedIn will work great. If you want something a little more custom, using WordPress or a similar blog posting service can allow you to add a little bit more in the way of media and other specific assets.

Website

Similar to your online bio, it really helps to have a quick link on the Web to point people to. People are used to clicking links to learn more, and whether you’re starting a landscaping company or a fancy restaurant it always helps to make even a short description of your company instantly available.

The Web site should include a brief overview of what your company is looking to accomplish. This is also a great opportunity to show off some visual assets like screen shots of your upcoming launch or pictures of your prototype product.

Business Collateral

Although it’s not entirely required, getting your logo, business cards, and other associated business collateral items together is never a bad idea.

Good looking business collateral helps put a bit of polish on your business, and in many ways can be the catalyst to how you think about your brand and company image.

Items like logos and color schemes can be either developed by a designer or you can use stock logo libraries available online or through fulfillment shops like LogoWorks.com.

Many of the items you would want to produce like business cards, letterhead, and other printed items can all be produced at a very low cost with services like Vistaprint.com that offer small volumes and cheap prices for these items.

Summary

The formative pieces of your business aren’t terribly hard to put together and help investors know that you’ve put real time and attention into the identity and background of the business.

These items will be requested over and over again, so make sure you take the little bit of extra time during your business formation to really do them right.

About the Author

The Startups Team

Startups is the world's largest startup platform, helping over 1 million startup companies find customers, funding, mentors, and world-class education.

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