What you need to know about incorporating your business
Posted on August 16, 2017
When starting a business, entrepreneurs will often focus on the product or service they’re going to provide. Out of necessity, they are also going to get (or should get) a firm grip on where their financing is coming from.
A lot of these people, however, don’t think about how the company is going to be organized – at least not until after the company is up and running.
While most people are familiar with the idea that corporations offer protection for the personal assets of business owners, there are other options that might be more convenient and cost-effective for a small business. A ‘doing business as’ (DBA) or a limited liability corporation (LLC) are two such options.
The simplest option is a DBA. As a type of sole proprietorship, it doesn’t offer the liability protection of a corporation. However, it is much less expensive to register than other types of business entities. So if you don’t have a large number of personal assets to protect, or you don’t have the resources to establish a corporation, a DBA may be a good option to start your business. Those factors may change once your business begins to grow, but you can always change to another type of business entity later.
An LLC offers similar liability protection as a full-fledged corporation. Because it is a distinct business entity – separate from the owner and any shareholders – the assets of the company are the only financial liabilities at risk. That means if the company is ever sued, the owner’s personal assets, such as an automobile, home or bank account, are not at stake. An LLC can be more expensive to establish and register as a business than a DBA, but if you have personal assets to protect, it may be wise to consider this option.
These descriptions are simplified overviews, but the point is that every business is different, so you need to be informed of your options. It’s a good idea to speak with advisors, like your lawyer or accountant, before making any decisions.
Of course, if you are not already working with an attorney or accountant, you can always stop by Country Bank. The members of our commercial team specialize in helping small businesses, and if they can’t answer your specific question for some reason, they can definitely refer you to a variety of professionals in the area that can.
Finally, if you are considering incorporating your business, it’s helpful to know that all of the paperwork (and a list of fees) required for establishing a corporation in Massachusetts is available on the Secretary of State’s website (www.sec.state.ma.us). Simply look under the Corporations Division section for the information you are looking for.