Naming your business can be both stressful and fun! Here are some tips to make sure your new company name both stands out in the crowd and is protected!

  1. Be creative.

Make sure your name is unique. Using a literal name to describe your goods or services may warrant a rejection.

2. Avoid hard-to-spell names.

You don’t want potential customers getting confused about how to find your business online. Keep it simple.

  1. Do competitive research.

Make sure to investigate what competitive companies in your field are named, and avoid any names that are too similar.

4. Think about the future.

Avoid picking names that include words or phrases that could go out of date.  In addition, you should also avoid picking a name that is too narrowly focused that may cause you problems down the road.

5. Conduct a thorough Internet search.

Once you have a name you like, the first thing you should do is conduct an internet search for your name. Most of the time, you will find that someone is already using it as a business name.  While that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t use it, the conflicting result should caution you to investigate further.

  1. Search for and secure the domain name.

If it is possible, we recommend you try and secure the “.com” domain name for your business, rather than alternatives such as “.net”, “.org”, “.biz”, or other possible domain extensions. People tend to associate a “.com” domain with a more established business. Many times, you will find that someone already owns your desired “.com” name, but those domain owners may be willing to sell their domain for the right price.

Also, make sure to secure your desired business name on popular social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

7. Conduct a trademark search.

Trademark infringement can be costly for your business.  Before you choose a name, conduct a search on USPTO.gov to see if a familiar name, or variations of it, are trademarked. Once you choose your name, look into whether you can get a trademark or service mark for the name. Need help?

8. Conduct a Secretary of State search.

Since you will likely want to structure your business as a limited liability entity, you should search the Secretary of State’s online records to make sure your name won’t be confusingly similar to a business name that’s already registered. If it is too similar to an existing name, the Secretary of State may not allow you to register it.

  1. Register your business name.

After you confirm your business name, you need to create a legal business entity in your state. By registering your new business, you’ll have the legal foundation to move on to the next steps. You have a number of choices when it comes to your business formation; some of the most popular are: corporation, LLC, partnership, or sole proprietorship (with a DBA). Each business structure has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on your specific circumstances.

 

  1. File with your state if you plan to incorporate.

If you intend to incorporate your business, you’ll need to contact your state filing office to check whether your intended business name has already been claimed and is in use. If you find a business operating under your proposed name, you may still be able to use it, provided your business and the existing business offer different goods or services, or are located in different regions. Need help? We offer timely, cost-effective company registration services, including helping you manage your new business entity. Click here to schedule an appointment to find out how we can help you.

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