So you’ve decided to incorporate your business — congratulations! While you’re eager to move ahead as a corporation, there are a few things you will want to take care of before you incorporate. Doing so can help you make the best decisions for your business.
Learn the Lingo
Before incorporating, take some time to brush up on the following terms you’ll be hearing and reading about:
Incorporator — the single point of contact on the application to incorporate and the individual responsible for incorporating the business.
Directors — your corporation needs at least one director. A director(s) is ultimately responsible for the decisions and operations of the business. Directors must be age 18 years of age or older, click here to read the full list of requirements that directors must meet. (Note: A director can also be the incorporator)
Officers — officers make the day-to-day decisions about the corporation. An individual can be both a director and the officer.
Corporate by-laws — these set out the rules governing the internal operations of a corporation, such as setting the corporation’s fiscal year-end, appointing officers, issuing shares and setting the procedures for the meetings of shareholders and directors.
Shares and Shareholders — shares represent an ownership interest in a corporation. A person who owns shares in a corporation is called a shareholder.
Choose a Name
If you thought naming your first pet was tricky, there’s even more to consider when choosing a name for your corporation. Your corporate name is your business’ legal name and can be used on documents such as contracts, invoices, and purchase and service orders.1
If having a distinctive name for your business is not important to you, you may choose the faster route and let the government assign you a number, in which case your corporation will have what’s known as a numbered company name.
If having a distinctive name for your business is important to you, you can opt to be more creative and choose a named corporation. Name corporations should have three parts, according to Corporations Canada:
The distinctive element distinguishes your corporation from others. This could be a last name or other word, for example “Sam’s” Plumbing or “Sunshine” Plumbing.
The descriptive element describes the corporation’s main activity – for example, “Plumbing Services” or “Florist.”
After settling on a name, you will need to do a business-name search to make sure the name you have chosen is unique enough. With Ownr, you’ll get 30 simple name searches and a NUANS report to check name availability to help you choose the perfect name for your business. If your proposed name isn’t unique, you’ll have to change your business’s name. 3
Before making your final decision on your business’s name, you should consider checking out the name’s availability online to see if you’ll be able to get the URL and social media account names to match your business’s name.
Learn the Rules of Incorporation
Before incorporating, it’s important to understand exactly how becoming a corporation will change your business. Start by learning the roles and responsibilities of directors, shareholders, and officers. Think carefully about who will become a part of the corporation, and what they’ll be expected to contribute on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis.4
Once a business incorporates, it is required to maintain certain legal documentation. Take note of the requirements for filing articles of incorporation and bylaws, and amendments to the articles or bylaws. Corporations must also file annual financial reports and tax returns. Any changes to the officers or directors of a corporation must also be documented and filed with Corporations Canada.4
This list might sounds daunting but fear not, Ownr is here to help every step of the way!
Before incorporating, set aside money to cover the costs. You may choose to incorporate on your own online (with a company like Ownr) to save the legal fees a lawyer may charge. You’ll still always have to pay the government fees required in your jurisdiction, as well as the cost of a business name search and registration.5
Give these points some thought before moving on to the next steps of incorporating — creating articles of incorporation and bylaws. Doing so can save you time and money — giving you more of both to help your new business get off the ground.
Ready to start your business? Ownr has helped over 40,000+ entrepreneurs hit the ground running quickly—and affordably. If you have questions about how to register or incorporate your business, email us at [email protected]
This article offers general information only, is current as of the date of publication, and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Ventures Inc. or its affiliates.