Coming up with a name for your business can be difficult. It involves hours of brainstorming and taking into account other factors too. However, what’s even harder is finding out that your preferred name has been chosen.
That’s why it’s important to do a name search before proceeding to the final registration process. Thus, our experts will guide you to the entire process of how to do a business name search.
How to Do a Business Name Search?
The best method is to search with your state business filing agency. All US states have a special secretary of state that helps you find out if your business name has already been chosen. Their websites facilitate a variety of entity name checking tools. Once logged into the site, you can use this tool to search for your preferred business name. If you find it there, it means the name is chosen. And if you don’t, then your name is still available.
There’s also the possibility that a business might have a name similar to yours. If that’s the case, you need to research and review your state’s business naming requirements. This is because some states have strict laws against using a similar name with another business.
Choosing a Business Name
Choosing a business name can be a daunting task, especially as a new business. People have been known to spend several hours and even weeks on this project. To make sure that your name is all that it can be, our team has listed five tips to help you out:
1. Avoid words that are hard to spell
Your business name is one of the biggest pillars of your brand. It’s how your audience identifies you. If they find it hard to spell or pronounce your name, you might face difficulties in the future. Some customers might have issues finding your business online, and if that then happens, you can end up losing valuable clients.
2. Think of something capable of transcendence
At some point in time, your business might transcend its current limitations. It could end up offering more services or products than you have in mind right now. Choose a business name that caters to that. Otherwise, you might have to go through the stress of picking a new name in the future and this will put a lot of strain on your brand.
3. Choose a name that has a meaning
Names without meaning like “Google” or “Yahoo” have obviously proven useful. However, they might be more difficult to brand. Thus, choose something that’ll inspire or evoke a thought for your audience that will be great for brand storytelling. For example, Nike is named after the Greek Goddess of Victory.
4. Get feedback on your preferred name
Our experts recommend sharing your intended business name with a few people you trust. Once you do, ask them what they think and how they feel about the name. Is it catchy? Can they remember it easily? Does it communicate your business’s purpose? All this feedback is beneficial.
Advantages of Doing a Business Name Search
The advantages of doing a business name search are simple and straightforward. First, it saves you the trouble of having your application denied. As an LLC, you have to go through a formal registration process. Most states do not allow you to have the same or even similar names with another business. If you do, they’ll likely reject your application. Doing a business name search beforehand saves you that difficulty and stress.
The second is that it prevents any unsavory lawsuits in the future. Depending on your state’s laws, you might not get your application denied instantly when your name is similar to another business. Additionally, a similar business could sue you with trademark infringement. Thus, our experts strongly recommend doing a detailed business name search which will prevent such incidents from happening.
Business Name Search Per State
Each state has its unique name search tool. To help you get acquainted with your search tool, our team has compiled a list of all fifty states alongside links to their respective websites.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
* The online name availability search in California is only preliminary. To get a full name availability statement, you should submit a letter of inquiry.
** Keep in mind that Massachusetts has two searches. The first is the Reserved Names Search that functions as implied. The second is the Corporate Database Search. You’ll need to go through both to ensure that your preferred name isn’t taken yet.
Reminders In Searching for a Business Name
When searching for a business name, you should remember that your name should be as unique as possible. We mentioned a few pointers above for a good business name and that includes coming up something that hasn’t been used yet.
Also bear in mind that you can search and reserve even before incorporation. Also remember to be as thorough as possible while searching.
For detailed steps to reserve a business name, you can also read our page on how to reserve a business name here.
Other Requirements Before Registering or Incorporating
If you’ll be registering your business, especially as an LLC, you will need the following:
- Articles of Organization: Every state requires that you get these to be registered as an LLC. These documents establish the rights, responsibilities, liabilities, and roles of every member of your company. Some refer to it as “Certificate of Formation” or “Certificate of Organization.”
- Registered Agent: Every LLC within the states needs to have a registered agent. This individual or company will receive your legal documents and send them to you. It ensures that you never miss a thing.
- Operating Agreement: This might not be important in your state. But, it’s still useful. An operating agreement is an internal document that defines how you will run your LLC.
- Compliance with regulatory and tax requirements: This means you’ll need to get an EIN if you have more than one member . Also, you’ll need to obtain a business license and register for sales and employer taxes.
- Out of state registration: As the name implies, you’ll need this if your business will be functioning in another state.
Where can I find out if a business name is taken?
You can find out if a business name is taken from any state’s unique name search tool. Each state in the US has one, making it easy to do a business name search.
Coming up with a business name is challenging enough as it is. Getting your application rejected because you choose someone else’s name is even more challenging to deal with. Here, our experts have given detailed information on how to do a business name search to give you more ease as you form your LLC. All you need to do is head to your state’s website and do that search.