~by Donya Zimmerman~

The most valuable step to starting a family business is to ensure protection from lawsuits and loss of personal assets. So you’ll want to incorporate your business.

Family Business

Incorporate Your Family Business

Here are some steps and considerations when incorporating a small business with your local governmental agency:

  • Formation Documentation: The formation documentation to incorporate a business is normally called the Articles of Incorporation or Certificate of Incorporation, it depends on the governmental agency terms used.
  • Fees. The fees for registering a business as a company runs from $50 to $400.    
  • Waiting Period. The normal waiting period to have the formation documentation approved by the governmental agency varies from four to six weeks (non-expedited services). But, for an extra fee for expedited services, a business can have their paperwork approved within a few days or even a few hours. In many countries and states, you are now able to fill out the formation documentation online, which will speed up the approval process.
  • Disclosure. You’ll need to disclose certain information in the incorporation documentation, such as:
    • Company Name.
    • Business purpose, both general purpose and specific purpose.
    • Registered Agent.
    • Incorporator – the person or company who is incorporating the business.
  • Registered Agent. Must have a registered agent who is the individual who can accept service of paperwork for the company.

These are just some general considerations when deciding to incorporate your small business as a legal entity in your particular state or country. It is advisable to consult with your attorney, accountant, and business consultant to determine the best incorporation form for your family business.


This is the third article in my Starting a Family Business series.

Stay tuned for more articles in this series.


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Meet the Author: Donya Zimmerman

Donya Zimmerman

Donya Zimmerman

Donya Zimmerman is a business consultant, mediator, and legal professional with over ten years of experience. Donya is also a public speaker and aspiring author. 

She is owner of Family & Community Mediation and Business Consulting (FACMBC) and Powerful Biz Woman (subsidiary of FACMBC), both of which are based in Baltimore, MD.

Services provided by FACMBC:  Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services; Business Registration Assistance; Business Plan Drafting Assistance; Business Certification Assistance; and Business Organization Assistance. 

If you are thinking about starting your own small business or non-profit organization, do not hesitate to contact me because I can show you how to do so.

For more information about Donya: