The first step to building your business idea into a lucrative brand is by creating a list of potential LLC business names. This can bring up some challenges, like figuring out how to register your entity name and making sure it’s unique.
Here are several essential tips for choosing a business name. We also offer information on how to reserve a name for a business, along with insights on business name registration.
In some cases, a great business name can reflect the spirit of a local community. In others, you may want to choose an entity name that resonates with customers globally. Sometimes, though, simplicity is best. When selecting a business name, here are some general tips to help you out.
Consider an attention-grabbing business name. What business name would inspire confidence in your customers? Which name would they feel proud to recommend to a friend? If you need help, you can look up LLC names online for some ideas.
You want your business to make a positive impression on potential customers. This means choosing a business name that is distinct and memorable for your target audience. However, don’t get so creative that your name becomes confusing.
It’s great for consumers to remember your name, but only if they can easily recall it. Find LLC business names online to get an idea.
When choosing a business name for your company, analyze other businesses within your market. If you select an entity name that’s too similar to a competitor’s, you’ll struggle to differentiate yourself. Plus, you could run into marketing and branding issues later on. For example, your advertising efforts could unwittingly drive customers to your competitor, or people may struggle to find you online.
So much of your marketing and brand value will be linked to your business name, and if you change it in the future, it can become a headache marketing-wise.
Choosing a name that’s industry-specific or regionally specific can bring up issues later on.
Don’t select a narrowly specific business name if you plan to expand your focus later. For example, the name “Sensational Socks” may not serve you well if you hope to expand into other clothing types like shirts or pants.
Similarly, avoid overly local or regional business names. “Macon’s Best T-Shirt Printing” may not make sense if you plan to develop an e-commerce business reaching customers beyond Georgia.
Last, but not least, choose a great name that you and your future customers will love. Puns or gimmicky names can be effective, endearing your business to potential customers. If you choose an entity name that may eventually become corny or obnoxious, you’ll be stuck with it long after the joke has gotten old.
Once you find the name you want, most states give you the option of reserving it for a set amount of time (often 120 days) for a fee. While the process differs slightly by state, here’s a general list of steps on how to reserve a name for a business if you’d like to do so.
Before registering an LLC, a business name will have to be searched to see if it is available. Every LLC has to have a name that no other registered businesses in that state are using.
Be sure to check your Secretary of State website for your LLC’s entity name availability before filing. Nothing is more frustrating than filling out all your limited liability company formation paperwork, paying an attorney or LLC service, only to find out that your first choice name for your company has been taken. If you have found the entity name you want, also check if the domain name is also available, as a domain name that is the same as the business can be hard to find.
If a business with a similar name exists, you can review your state’s regulations to ensure that your chosen name is unique enough. You also can review other naming rules in your state to make sure your business name complies with the law and doesn’t contain prohibited words.
Some business entities (such as LLCs and corporations) are required to have a “designator” as part of their legal name. The designator indicates the business entity type.
For example, LLC names might need to include a designator like “LLC” at the end. Requirements for designators and their abbreviations vary by state.
Next, you’ll submit a name reservation form and pay a fee. If approved, this secures your desired business name for a specified period (such as 120 days). You can use this time to complete the state’s business formation process.
If you don’t know how to register a business name, then here are a few ways to do it. Keep in mind that these methods may not apply depending on your state or business entity type.
Depending on the state, you’ll have to file certain registration documents with either your Secretary of State or appropriate agency responsible for business registrations.
Keep in mind that forming an LLC or corporation only provides liability protection within the state where you register your business. If you do decide to expand to another state, you’ll have to file a foreign qualification in that state.
When figuring out how to register a business name, another way is by applying for a “doing business as” (DBA) name. A DBA is an alternate name for your business and is also known as a “fictitious name,” “trade name,” or an “assumed name.” If you decide to adopt a DBA name, you’ll have to do it at the state, county, or even local level depending on your location.
We offer a DBA service to make things easier for you. We also have a page dedicated to DBA requirements and costs by state.
The state doesn’t check to see if your desired business name has been trademarked. Your business name could be approved, and later you could be sued for trademark infringement if someone else had already trademarked that name.
Trademarks occur on both the state and federal levels. For federal trademarks, check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website to verify the name you want isn’t already registered to another business. Most states also have an agency that oversees state trademarks, which are trademarks that apply only within the borders of a particular state. You’ll need to check with your state’s trademark office to see if your desired name has already been trademarked or to get a state trademark of your own.
Trademarking can be expensive and lengthy if you do it on your own. Learn more about trademarks and why they’re important.
The following are considerations and aren’t required, but they can give you extra ways to reach customers.
With your business name secured, you can now do the following:
Whether you’re still deciding on a name or have your business up and running, reach out to learn how we can help you. Entrepreneurship is rarely easy, but we’re here to help things go smoothly as you build your dream business.
We can manage every aspect of the business formation process on your behalf. Our business filing services cover everything from reserving corporation and LLC names to officially launching your business. And registered businesses can take advantage of our full suite of products and services.
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