Naming and Registering Your Business
The Small Business Startup Guide
Before applying for a business license, or doing just about anything associated with your business, you will need to come up with a great business name. Any business name is fair game, as long as someone hasn’t already registered it in your state, and is doing business in a similar industry to the one you are entering. If you choose a name that’s already in use, you’ll have trouble forming a business entity and you will likely be infringing upon another company’s trademarks.
Begin by coming up with a list of possible names for your business, and do some investigative work online to see if any businesses are using those names. This is easily done by doing a Google search for the name. You’ll be able to see if any businesses are using the name you want in their home page title, domain (website address, etc.). If someone else if using the name for their business or as their primary domain name, then you will want to move on to the next name on your list. You can search for social media business pages as well. Please note however that just because someone has a Facebook page with the business name you want, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have registered this name, especially if they do not have an associated website.
If you can include in your business name a word or words associated with the type of business you are starting, such as “Emily’s Handcrafted Gifts”, you may find this advantageous when people are conducting online searches, especially if the key words that people are searching for (handcrafted gifts) are in your website domain (website address).
You can also search business names through your state agency that is responsible for business commerce. Every state has a state agency that’s responsible for business entity filings, and most feature an online business name check tool. You can use the online tool to search business names and find out if another business is already using the name you have chosen.
Businesses can also register a business name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to get nationwide trademark protection. When starting a new business, it’s a good idea to search the USPTO’s online database for trademarked business names that are similar to yours.
There are several online companies that can help you file or register your business name with your local and state governments. They can also help you file for a Federal Tax ID number, which you may need to pay federal taxes, hire employees, open a bank account, and apply for business licenses and permits (depending on your selected business structure). They can also help you register your trade name or doing-business-as (DBA) if your business uses a name that’s different from the legal business name.
Always consult with a professional before setting up your business. The online companies listed below can all assist with business name filing and business entity set up.
Below is a list of online companies that can assist with business name filing and business entity set up
Legal Zoom helps customers create legal documents without necessarily having to hire a lawyer. Available services include wills and living trusts, business formation documents, copyright registrations, and trademark applications. The company also offers attorney referrals and registered agent services.
ZenBusiness is an online business services company that makes legal filing simple and affordable for small businesses. As a customer of ZenBusiness, you can use their LLC formation service to file on your own, without needing to hire expensive attorneys or legal experts to do it for you. The Zen Business mission is to enable anyone to start, run, and grow their business while avoiding the common pitfalls that derail hopeful entrepreneurs. No more having to wade through forms, taxes, or ongoing state compliance.
Rocket Lawyer is an online legal technology company that provides individuals and small to medium-sized businesses with online legal services—including incorporation, estate plans, and legal document review. The company also provides a network of attorneys that consumers and small businesses can consult with on legal issues through its On Call service.
Swyft Filings is owned by an experienced lawyer who saw a need to automate the business filing process, making it easier for small businesses and consumers to launch their business dreams without having to find, hire, and pay high-priced and uncertain legal fees