How to Form a Company in Michigan


In Michigan, you can form a company that’s ready to go in just one day. But there are some things you should do before you make the leap. Here are steps to take so that your new business is on the right track from day one:

Check out the competition

Before you start your business, it’s important to do some research on the competition. You want to make sure that your product or service is unique and not offering the same things as others in the market. You also want to know what they are offering, so that you can better compete with them once your company starts operating.

Researching competitors’ strengths and weaknesses will help you figure out how you can set yourself apart from them. Knowing what customers want will help as well – if there are certain needs or wants that aren’t being met by existing companies in this industry, then this could be something worth exploring further for your own startup.

Choose a business name with care

A business name is a crucial part of your company’s identity. Think of it as the public face of your company—it will be seen everywhere, so you don’t want people to confuse your product or service with that of another company. In addition to being unique and easy to remember, consider how your name sounds when spoken aloud. Avoid using numbers, punctuation and abbreviations in your company name; these may not be easily pronounced by customers who aren’t familiar with them.

Finally—and this is important!—make sure that no one else has already used the name for their business before you do. You can check this by searching in databases like the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ (LARA) list of registered businesses (,4617,-7-20033_41147_41235—29460-,00).

File the Articles of Incorporation

To begin, you must file the Articles of Incorporation with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The articles must include information about your company’s name, address and purpose as well as a registered agent (which is accessible by mail). The articles must be signed by either one or more incorporators or presidents/secretaries/treasurers.

Once you have filed your Articles of Incorporation with the state government, it will give you some time to prepare for other important steps like filing for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and choosing an accounting method for handling taxes.

Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Everyone who runs a business needs an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to every person or business that pays income taxes in the United States. Unlike your Social Security number and tax identification number, this one is just for businesses and can be used as your company’s identifier with any third party that requires it.

If you’re just getting started with your corporation, there are several ways to apply for an EIN:

  • Online through the IRS website
  • By phone at 800-829-4933
  • In person at a local IRS office (this option may take longer than other methods).

Create a corporate bylaw document

A bylaw is a document that establishes the rules of a corporation. It should include information like how often meetings will be held, who can make decisions on behalf of the company, and what happens if one of those people leaves or is fired.

It also includes information about how much money you want to raise from investors, as well as information about tax deductions for business owners.

It’s important to know that you cannot create your own bylaws; you must use what’s called standard corporate bylaws provided by any government body where you form your company (which we’ll go into more detail about later).

Hold the first meeting of directors

Once you have all the paperwork in order, it’s time to formally hold your first meeting of directors. This meeting is held by teleconference or in-person and includes all of your initial directors. At this point, terms are agreed upon for each director and they’re elected to their positions on the board.

The purpose of this first meeting is to appoint officers and directors, set corporate bylaws (or rules) for running things, establish a record date for shareholders and determine how many votes each share carries in making decisions at meetings. The board members should also discuss with legal counsel any legal requirements that affect them as a company formed under Michigan law including those related to employment discrimination laws if applicable (see more about this below).

Approve company bylaws

  • The company directors will approve the bylaws, which is the set of rules for running the company.
  • The bylaws do not need to be filed with the state, or with the IRS.
  • It’s possible for you to amend your bylaws at any time—just follow your state’s laws regarding how often this can be done and what kinds of amendments are allowed.

Forming a company in Michigan is easy.

If you’re thinking of starting a business in Michigan, you will find that it is an excellent place to do so. The state enjoys a low cost of living, high technology and economic development, and access to fresh water from the Great Lakes. There are also many resources available to help you get started.

There are numerous government agencies that can help you get your company up and running quickly: The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) provides assistance with everything from forming a business entity to finding financing sources; their website has a wealth of information about how to get started as well as links to all of their forms.

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers free counseling services for entrepreneurs who need advice on everything from developing their business plan to securing funding through loans or investors. They also have an online resource center with useful guides like “How To Start A Small Business In Michigan” which answers common questions entrepreneurs have when starting out such as what types of licenses do I need?, what type should I register under? What kind is best suited for my business? How much does it cost? What legal requirements must be met before opening shop?


Now that you’ve learned about the different steps in forming a company in Michigan, it’s time to get started. Choose a business name and start incorporating!

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