What are the steps to form a startup?

Overview

In terms of corporate legal paperwork, common steps good startup attorneys take to form a startup are:

  1. Incorporation (related articles)
  2. Post-Incorporation Setup (related articles)
  3. Stock Plan Adoption (related articles)
  4. Foreign Qualification (related articles)

Clerky is the only major online service to cover this entire process. You can learn more about what occurs in each of these steps in our handbook article on this topic.

After the Delaware Secretary of State files your certificate of incorporation, our software will give your company's team on Clerky access to the rest of the products necessary to complete the process above. You'll then get an email notification with a link to a personalized checklist to help walk you through the rest of the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

When do I have to do all of these steps?

Many startup attorneys have their clients do everything listed above at the beginning; we recommend this approach as well. We've written a few articles to help you determine what timing makes sense for your particular circumstances:

Is there anything else I need to do?

The steps listed above are what most startups need to do in terms of corporate legal paperwork. If your startup has any special circumstances, you should consult your startup attorney to see if anything else is necessary.

In addition to corporate legal paperwork, most startups will, at some point, need to obtain tax IDs and any required licenses or permits.

Tax IDs

In addition to the steps listed above, most startups will want to obtain an EIN from the IRS. We provide instructions for how to obtain the EIN from the IRS; most startups are able to do this online in a matter of minutes. You will likely need to obtain a tax ID for any state where your startup is foreign qualified as well.

Licenses and Permits

Your startup may require additional registrations, licenses, or permits that are specific to its location or business. Many states and some local jurisdictions operate websites to assist businesses with identifying these requirements. The IRS maintains a list of links to many of these state websites. The U.S. Small Business Administration also has information about federal and state requirements that may be helpful. If you have any questions concerning additional registrations, licenses, or permits, we recommend you contact an experienced local attorney for assistance.

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