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Important documents every startup needs

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Business Law |

Starting a new business is an exciting adventure.

However, you should have all the necessary paperwork to protect yourself and your company and encourage its success.

Business plan

In March 2024, 435,629 new businesses opened their doors, many after creating their business plans. A business plan is like a roadmap for your startup. It outlines your goals, target market, competition, marketing strategies and financial projections. Having a well-thought-out business plan helps you stay focused and is a valuable tool for gaining outside financing.

Articles of incorporation/formation

These documents officially register your company with the state and establish it as a legal entity. Articles of Incorporation are for corporations, while Articles of Formation are for LLCs. They typically include information about your company’s name, address, purpose and structure.

Operating agreement/bylaws

For LLCs and corporations, an Operating Agreement or Bylaws, respectively, outline the internal workings of your business. They detail ownership structure, management roles, decision-making processes and procedures for resolving disputes among members or shareholders.


Contracts outline agreements between your startup and its clients, suppliers, vendors and employees. Clear, concise client service agreements, lease documents or employment contracts, for example, help prevent misunderstandings and protect your interests.

Intellectual property documents

Protecting your intellectual property safeguards your startup’s unique ideas, inventions and branding. Documents such as patents, trademarks and copyrights establish your ownership rights and prevent others from using your IP without permission.

Financial documents

Keeping thorough financial records helps you manage your startup’s finances and comply with tax laws. This includes balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements and any other financial documents necessary for tracking income, expenses and profits.

By creating or collecting this paperwork, you can set your business up for growth and navigate any challenges that may arise along the way.

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