1) Making your business name so obscure, customers won’t know what it is.

It is important to keep the name of your business simple and straightforward.  It is also important to be creative and unique with your new business name, so that it stands out.  However, this doesn’t mean that the name should be so obscure people won’t be able to tell what type of business you have – or know how to pronounce it.  As a rule of thumb, if your business name requires you to explain what it is (or means), it is too obscure.

2) “Creative Spelling.”

It can be challenging to find a business name that has an available domain name.  As a result, many businesses purposefully misspell the businesses name.  Although staying up night after night searching for available domain names can be daunting, try not to solve this problem by replacing the letter “K” with a “Q”.  Misspelling your business name will make it that much harder for customers to find your website down the road.

3) Being “Cliché.” 

You want to avoid choosing overly cliché words for your business name such as peak, summit, and apex. Clichés often go hand in hand with pop culture, and can easily date your company name. Make sure to avoid them and choose a name that is timeless.

4) Using a Name that is Already Being Used.

It seems obvious, but you want to make sure you choose a name that no one else is currently using in your area of business.  Do not get your heart so set on a name that you overlook how critical being different is.  You do not want to end up driving customers to someone else’s business.  Stand out and choose a name that is unique to your business.

5) Putting the “Secret Sauce” in Your Name.

You want to avoid putting your area of focus into your name.  An example of this is RadioShack.  As the market changed and MP3 players became available, RadioShack had difficulty rebranding and adapting because the name of the company became outdated. Give yourself the flexibility to grow and expand your company by choosing a name that isn’t too narrowly focused to a specific offering.

Step 1: Register the Business with the State.

The first thing you will need to do is to register your business with the state. You have many options, but most new ventures start out as either a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, or sole proprietorship (with a DBA) — and the decision is often based on a variety of factors we can help you understand.

Step 2:  Get a Tax ID Number.

A Tax Identification Number (TIN) or Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a number that the IRS uses to track your company’s transactions. It is similar to your social security number, but for your business. You will need these ID numbers to open a business bank account.

Step 3: Research any Necessary Licenses or Permits, and Apply.

After you have registered your business with the state, you need to research and determine whether your business needs to apply for any licenses or permits you might need to operate the business in the state and city you intend to operate.

The types of permits you need will vary based on where you’re located and what type of business you’re starting. You can find out which licenses and permits will be necessary by using an online search tool, or by asking us!

  • Every city has a database with a list of addresses that fall within that municipality. Search online for your city’s name + its business license division to find the correct webpage.
  • You can also find the right information by way of the US Small Business Administration (SBA)’s website. Their page on permits offers information about where to get licensed, with details specific to your locale and your industry.

Step 4: Know your Business Code.

Different business types have different codes, and require specific application processes which vary based on the city your business resides in. Check your city’s business license site for information or check the SBA website for a list of necessary forms and useful information.

Step 5:  Get help from a Professional.

It may be a good idea to have a professional help you with the license and permit process, as the requirements vary by the city and the type of business you are operating.  The worst thing you can do is not do your homework, and begin operations without the required documents.

Carbon Law Group excels at helping small businesses identify and obtain the correct tax permits and licenses.  Need help?  Ask us how we can simplify the process and work with you to file and complete the right forms. Click here to schedule an appointment.

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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