Business Formation Checklist

TBOE Business Entity Formation Checklist

Is your business properly structured?

There’s a lot to do to file an LLC. Varying state requirements, numerous steps and lots of important documentation leave plenty of room for error. Mistakes can be costly — that’s where The Business Owner’s Emporium LLC (TBOE) comes in.

TBOE created the Business Entity Formation Checklist so entrepreneurs can save money and still ensure their business entity is formed correctly, protecting your personal information from websites and in the best way to accomplish business credit & funding goals.

Next Steps After You Read This How-To:

DIY - Follow the Checklist Below

Consult for Free with a TBOE Business Entity Formation Specialist (Zoom or In-Person in ATL)

Check Secretary of State and Trademark Database

Once you have filed and formed your business legally, noone else in that state can file using that same business name. If you want extra protection, you can trademark your name. As an FYI, filing a fictitious or “doing business as” (DBA) name will not be sufficient to protect your business name. You must file it with the SOS.

Criteria for Business Name

Is "Trademarkable"

DIY - Follow the Checklist Below

DIY - Follow the Checklist Below

Apply for a "Name Reservation" once you select your name

Do Not Include in Your Business Name

Do not include high risk words to get business bank accounts or merchant accounts (CBD, Cannabis, Drugs, Sexual Content, etc.).

Do not select one that's too similar to a competitor's name or you might find yourself accused of trademark infringement.

Do not use words like “bank,” “trust,” or “insurance,” unless legally authorized to operate as such

.

Do not include a word from an industry considered "high risk."

Do not use a name that implies it is a governmental unit (such as Federal, United States, a city, or borough).

Do not include a word that implies professional licensing (such as “Engineer,” “Attorney,” or “CPA”) without the appropriate licensure

Does not include words that raise red flags

Choose an Industry Code

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is a business classification code used for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. economy by the IRS, financial lending institutions etc.

You select the NAICS industry codes that best fits the activities in which your business is primarily engaged.

Select your NAICS code wisely because some can trigger automatic turn-downs, higher premiums and lower limits when underwriters determine business credit amounts. Higer-risk NAICS codes and industries may still be approved; however, there may be stricter underwriting guidelines.

The IRS will use the NAICS code that you select to determine if your business tax returns are comparable to the other businesses in your industry. Therefore, if your tax deductions do not reasonably resemble the other businesses in your industry, your business could be subject to an audit.

You may suffer an impact on your insurance premiums, interest on loans, no loan approvals, and low business credit scores due to the code selected. 

    • Cash-intensive businesses
    • High-risk industries
    • Money-service businesses
    • Low-profit margin industries
    • Car Sales

    • Cannabis or drug-related
    • Real estate investing or anything else regarding investing of any type
    • Adult entertainment
    • Credit reporting agencies

    • Travel industry
    • Money lending/collecting
    • Restaurants
    • Dry Cleaners
    • Transportation & Trucking

    Example of Structuring With a High Risk Industry

    You still will be able to invest in real estate but you may have to set up a business that does business development, business management, business consulting, marketing & advertising, training and development, etc. and then operate your real estate investments from a separate division or company that does something else.

    Don’t Use Your Personal Information

    The Goal: A Business Address that conveys a business environment, protects you & family’s personal abode, is USPS non-residential categorized and Google-verifiable.

    Business Location Is Key. You Want a Business or Commercial Location and Not a Residential or Strip Mall Address…Even If It’s a Virtual Office/Mailbox

    All information provided to the Secretary of State is considered public record and available to anyone.

    USPS Designates Addresses Via RDI to Verify Residential or Business Classification.

    Vendors, lenders, and banks will do their due diligence prior to extending credit to your company. Don’t expect to receive credit by skipping this key fundamental step.

    And No, It’s Not Too Late if You Already Have an Address!

    Want More Information On Why Selecting the Most Strategic Business Address is Important.

    Avoid the Risk of Non-Compliance & Missed Legal Documents

    Almost every state requires LLCs to name a Registered Agent (also sometimes called a statutory agent). A Registered Agent (RA) is a person who agrees to receive lawsuits, subpoenas, and other official documents on behalf of the LLC.

    A RA must have a physical street address in the registered state(s) who is available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for service of process, notice, or demand.

    PO Boxes, PMB’s nor virtual “real addresses” may not be used for the Registered Agent physical address. 

    The third party can be an individual, such as an attorney, or it can be a company whose business offers registered agent services.

    I Don't Think I Need a Registered Agent!!

    Every business owner without a physical address needs a Registered Agent (RA).

    Do you want police officers showing up in front of customers, employees, or neighbors?

    Do you want creditors and marketers to access your home address?

    Do you want customers showing up at your front door?

    You Need a “Registerable” Business Number for Business White Pages & 411 Business Registry

    I perceive a TOLL FREE number as
    a sign of business credibility.

    Future Lender

    DO NOT

    DO NOT give a personal cell or residential phone as the business phone number.

    I perceive a LOCAL number as a sign of community presence.

    Future Client

    I Feel FINE Using My Cell or Google Number!!

    A cell or home phone number as your main business line could get you “flagged” as an un-established business that is too high of a risk.

    We provide a professional business number you can forward to your cell, call out using an app and have your professional voicemail on it.

    Step 6: Obtain a Business Domain | Hosting | Email

    Complete Your Corporate Conformity 

    Domain Privacy – Protect Yourself From Potential Spam And Identity Theft With A Reliable Domain Privacy Service. Ssls – Add Further Website Protection With 50 Ssl Certificates. Website Builder – Build Your Dream Website With Over 200+ Design Templates To Choose From.
    Without a website, people may question your legitimacy as a business. Showcasing your brand to your prospective customers is one of the most important things that you can do

    Because email is one of the most common forms of communication (especially with potential clients), having a professional-looking email address is key. It helps to create an instant sense of trust and credibility from the very start of your interactions.
    A professional email address using your domain name makes it easy for customers to look up your company and your website for more information.

    Step 7: Obtain Your IRS Issued E.I.N

    You Now Have All the Needed Information to Obtain Tax Identification Number from the IRS

    An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a federal tax identification number (or tax id number). Not only is it unique to your business, but it’s crucial for particular business necessities like banking, taxes, and even hiring contractors or employees. It is used to identify a business entity and is free.

    You get it immediately upon completing an online application that should take less than 10 minutes (if all checklist items above this number is complete first).

    DO NOT FORGET to download the PDF of your IRS EIN Letter. At the time of your online registration will be your ONLY opportunity to download this document and otherwise, you will need to call the IRS to request they mail (or fax) the letter. Many financial institutions DO NOT accept the faxed letter.

    Legitimize Your Business

    Register Your Business With Your Secretary Of State. Best Practice is to use A Registered Agent

    File Organizational Paperwork With Other States You Operate In

    Make sure you can legally operate your business in other states.

    If you want to take advantage of doing business in other states and/or opening business checking accounts in other states to increase business credit and funding options, you may want to register to do business in other states. To do this, you will need file LLC paperwork similar to what you filed in your resident state. In most states, LLC’s are easy to setup and maintain. However, it is important to fill the paperwork out properly and have your Operating Agreement showing you have the right as a member to do so.

    Establish your Operating Agreement

    List the Members of your Organization

    The Purpose Of The Operating Agreement Is To Spell Out Who The Member(S) Are And What Percentage Of The Llc They Own, Also Known As Their “Membership Interest”.
    It Also Defines How The Llc Is Managed, How Taxes Are Paid, And How Profits And Losses Are Distributed Amongst The Member(S).
    Remember, Your Llc Can Be Owned By One Person (Called A Single-Member Llc) Or Your Llc Can Be Owned By 2 Or More People (Called A Multi-Member Llc).

    Reserve Your Social Media Handles

    Ensure your Social Media Handles are the Same

    Once You Have Established Your Company Name You Should Go To All Social Media Sights And Lock In Your Company Name Exactly Or Close To Exactly How It Is Registered On The Sec. Of State. Aim to have all business social media handles the same across all social media. Ours is @bizownemporium across IG, YT, TW, FB as well as our website at www.BizOwnEmporium.com.
    Go to Name Check’r’ and Social Media Handle Checker to type in variations of your business name to find out if all (or just some) of them are available across all SM platforms. Then, you want to double-check on FB, IG, YT, TW etc. to ensure and secure those handles if they are actually available.

    Separate Your Business Finances

    Opening a business bank account is one of the most important things you can do to solidify the separation of your personal assets from the debts and liabilities of your company. Best Features to have: No Hidden Fees No Monthly Fees Or Minimum Balance Requirements Simple, Easy-To-Use Mobile Apps Human-Powered Customer Service Free Transfers, Mailed Checks, And Incoming Wires Integrates With Other Small Business Tools Refunds All Atm Fees Thousands Of Dollars In Exclusive Perks Backed With FDIC Insurance.

    CONSULT WITH A BUSINESS ENTITY SPECIALIST TO SHOW YOU TO HOW TO PROPERLY STRUCTURE YOUR BUSINESS.

    NOW YOU ARE READY TO POSITION YOURSELF FOR FUNDING

    Solidify Your Business in the Search Engines

    A 411 listing is a leading “directory service” that helps properly identify businesses and people. When another person or a business is researching someone or a business entity, they can do so through the 411 directories online.

    Establish Duns & Bradstreet Profile

    Build Your Business Financial Profile

    DUNS numbers are used by lenders and potential business partners to help determine the reliability and financial stability of the company in question. It is similar to a social security number but must be requested directly from Dun & Bradstreet.