After you have established the message of your company, and figured out the name based on that message (and of course the unique nature of your personality), it is time to officially set up your company. (Yeah!) This article lays out a list of the first 2 major steps you need to complete in order to have a legitimate business. If you have completed theses steps already, feel free to skip over them as needed. These steps are essential to complete before you dive into the work of branding. One primary reason is to confirm the availability of the company name you select. After this, you can delve into the visual representation of your branding, and the other elements of branding we are discussing, but - first things first..
Note: The state of Maryland is used in this example. You will want to research the same steps for your particular state. Each state has their own process.
Step 1: Register your company with the state of Maryland (Or other state)
You can go to www.egov.maryland.gov/Easy to register for an account and set up your business with the state. I tend to recommend starting out as an LLC even if you are a sole member LLC instead of registering as a sole proprietorship. When you need to set up the purpose of the company, don't over complicate it. People get stuck here because they are trying to be fancy. Don't be fancy, be efficient. At this point you have already worked on the message of your company. Pull a concise version of that and use it here to briefly explain the work you will be doing through this business.
Step 2: Get an Employee Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS
No employees? Yes! You still need this to have a legitimate business in any state. Jump on irs.gov type in the Search bar EIN, navigate to the online application for the EIN and complete that application. Request the online pdf instead of the mailed document. That will be instantaneous. Save a copy AND print a copy and keep it in a file folder somewhere where you can find it later. This is the main piece of information you will need in order to open a bank account, set up paypal, and a few other financial things that may come up.
After these two steps, you will want to investigate the particular kinds of business licenses you need for the kind of business you have started. Generally, you just want to make sure you have dotted all the "i's" and crossed all the "t's" for setting up a business that will be recognized by your state.
Disclaimer: This information serves as a brief introduction. This does NOT represent a complete list of steps to establish a legitimate business for all industries. If you have questions, please contact the specific government agency (either local or national) for additional information, and it is always a good idea to consult a lawyer who is proficient in the area of setting up a legal entity.