15 Documents Needed For Your Startup Company

If you’ve decided to quit your day-to-day job to seek professional freedom as an independent expert, you might find the administrative obligations of a business owner anything but liberating.

Ultimately, you’re switching a job where the only piece of paper you ever had to fill up was your employment contract for a role in which forms will pile up onto your desk.

While it doesn’t mean that starting your own company is all about administrative nightmares, there is no denying that your position exposes you to a new side of the business. 

Understanding your administrative duties, and how to manage the many forms your business handles can be challenging, at first. But small businesses don’t have to drown in paperwork!

In fact, the main admin and management forms you are going to see relate to your business structure, your profits, your location, and your use of data. Here’s a list of documents you might need as a startup.

1. GDPR-friendly customer forms

If your customers are based in the EU, you need to make sure you obey the GDPR rules. Indeed, EU customers can demand the full destruction of their data.

As a result, data privacy can be a delicate matter which is why if you are collecting customer data, you need to design a form that clarifies the purpose and use of the data.

Your customers should also be able to tick off marketing communication as they fill the form. 

2. Articles of Business Incorporation

When forming a business or company, an article must be drafted to contain the relevant details of the company such as the company or business name and the office or contact address. What the business stands for, the details of the owners/decision-makers of the business and the services it renders should also be included.

The business name must be unique and registered with corporate affairs commission or the organization of a country that is established by law to register business names. Once the business is registered, it will be issued a certificate displaying the business name and will then be free to conduct business uninterrupted.

3. Business Plan Document

An individual or group of individuals cannot possibly start a business without a business plan. Before such a thing is invented, it is important to carry out feasibility studies on the proposed business. This plan is the assessment of the practicality of the proposed business.

This document must contain detailed information of the targeted market, cost of operations, the business venture and capital needed. A good business plan should have sufficient information about the need(s) that the business wants to meet so that potential investors can be interested to invest at first glance.

4. Partnership agreement document

Is your business a result of a kind of partnership? If yes, asides knowing what it takes to build successful partnerships, you also need this document. This document is needed when there is more than one person involved in a business. It contains the agreement reached between the partners of the company and board of directors on how the business should be operated with fairness and impartiality.

It also has the even distribution of shares and profits from the business. This document must carry the signatures of the partners in the agreement, with each of them owning a copy of the document.

5. Intellectual property agreement

In a state where there are bound to be duplicates of an invention and theft of intellectual property, this document is very important. If your company is inventing a new product not available to the public, it stands the risk of being copied.

This agreement determines how the public should use the product. It will protect the company from intellectual property theft and infringement. The product and product name can be trademarked.

6. Bylaw Document

Bylaws, according to UpCounsel, are rules set by a corporation to handle issues that might arise in the operation of the company or organization. It legally binds the organization and saves it the time meant to deal with problems that might happen in the future.

It spells out the company’s structure, individual roles, and governance issues. The details in a bylaw document must be in accordance with the information available in the article of business corporation as well as those present in the partnership agreement and operating agreement.

7. Operating agreement

When there is more than one party contributing to the founding of a startup, there is a need to establish the roles and duties of each of the party. In detail, the document should contain the operational rules of the company, as well as the decision making and ownership processes.

It must have the information of what will happen in the event of a member’s demise to avert any future disagreement whatsoever.

8. Shareholders document

A startup company intending to have shareholders must constitute an agreement that outlines the roles and responsibilities of its shareholders.

The document will contain the details of the agreement between the company’s management and the shareholders with regards to their protection and privileges.

Read: 19 key elements of a successful business

9 Non-Disclosure Document

For a newly established company that intends to have contractors and employees, it is worthy to note that there should be a clause that restricts them from misusing private information  This might include financial records or pricing for a product.

The same clause might restrict former employees or contractors from working with the company’s competitors or becoming the competitor for a length of time. This document includes a proprietary information agreement and a confidential disclosure agreement to protect the company.

10. Meeting Minutes

Minutes of meetings keep a good record of issues raised in past meetings. It includes the ensuing discussions and decisions made and actions taken in those meetings. This document enables the company to always be on track and not forget any vital information passed in those meetings.

It is like the company’s memory bank containing details including attendance, time, and place of the meeting.

11.Corporate taxes documentations

Every business needs to pay taxes – unless it doesn’t record any transaction. Where large companies tend to use accounting teams, small businesses and solo entrepreneurs often have to make do without the expertise of an accountant.

Needless to say, if filing up your confirmation statement is a bit confusing to you, you are not going to enjoy filing your taxes.

However, you don’t need to tackle confusing money matters alone. Keeping an organized approach to your receipts and invoices can help you to stay on track.

Additionally, you can use accounting tools that do all the hard work for you and understand the business jargon. 

12. Employment and contract agreement

This document contains all the terms of employment, contract, responsibilities of the employees and the salary structure of the company. They include employee benefits, company policies and retirement plans.

However, not every kind of employment requires an employee agreement, especially a temporary one. Although the absence of it might make an employee quit his job too early and go work with a competitor. As such, this document should also include the confidential disclosure agreement and the intellectual property agreement.

13. Memorandum of understanding

This is needed when an agreement is reached between a company and a second party. A second party could be partners, suppliers or contractors for a project. Other documents you might need are tax reforms document, privacy policies and compliance document.

14. A confirmation statement

When you open a company in the UK, you will receive a confirmation statement labelled CS01 from the Companies House.

Depending on where you are in the world, you may receive a different document from your local business office. However, the principles remain the same.

Ultimately, as this article explains, the confirmation statement is designed to check the information available about your company. You are expected to fill the form every year to make sure the information about your company is correct. 

15. Google postcards

Have you received a Google postcard that doesn’t seem to make any sense? When you choose to list your business on Google Maps, you need to verify the address.

Google My Business is a tool that lets you put your company on the map as explained here. The postcard you’ve received contains a code that you need to enter online to confirm the address.

The postcard can take up to two weeks to reach you. Hence, it’s not uncommon for busy business owners to have forgotten about it by the time it is delivered! 

Conclusion

The documents above are documents your startup company needs. While this respective document functions a little bit differently from another, they are somewhat linked to each other.

It’s important that every startup company has certain documents that enable it to operate as a company. This sets of documents should contain the information and value the company has to offer as well as how it intends to protect its customers and business.

It is important to have these company documents. However, some are very tasking to construct from scratch without errors and complications. 

Nobody enjoys administrative tasks, however, they are an essential backbone of your business presence, especially as a startup. The best solution is to seek for existing templates of these documents to guide you.

Business owners who take an interest in understanding the purpose of each administrative activity are less likely to stress out about complex forms! 

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Post Author: Abimbola Joseph

Abimbola Joseph is a creative content developer who derives pleasure in encouraging individuals to be the best they can be in all relevant facets of life. She believes that we all have a better version of ourselves which can be leveraged to impact others and make the world a better place. Connect with me on Instagram @abimbolajoe.

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