Prepare your company documents

While you're waiting for your state to send your confirmation, you can work on the documents you'll need right after the company has been created.

Corporations are governed by a set of rules called their "corporate bylaws," and LLCs are governed by their "operating agreements." These rules decide when company meetings are held, how decisions are made, and how profits are allocated. Corporations and LLCs are required by law to have these rules. We've provided a starting template you can use here for corporations and here for LLCs. Make sure to talk with all your company owners about the rules and, if necessary, modify the template to everybody's satisfaction.

After your company is formed, you'll need to have your first company meeting(s). We've provided a template for LLCs here; for corporations, a board meeting template is here (do this first), and shareholders meeting template is here. At these meetings, you'll need to decide a tax year. Most businesses use a "calendar tax year" ending December 31. If another date makes more sense, such as if your business is seasonal, you can use a "fiscal tax year" ending the last day of another month.

At every company meeting, you should keep minutes recording what happened at the meeting and store those minutes somewhere safe. If you like to use a service like Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox for online file storage, you can create a folder called something like "Business Documents" to store your company files. In that folder, you can keep your bylaws or operating agreement, and make a subfolder called "Minutes" containing documents with each meeting's minutes.

If your business is a corporation, you'll need to keep track of who owns how much stock. You can do so on a spreadsheet, but if you have more than a couple shareholders, it's a good idea to use a "cap table management system" like Capshare that will track changes in ownership.

Corporations are required to have yearly meetings (LLCs are not). Make sure to do so in accordance with the rules set out in your bylaws, or you’ll risk losing your status as a corporation, and the liability limitations it gives you. We recommend creating a repeating calendar reminder for yourself so that you don't forget.