When you decide to start an LLC, one of the first things you will have to do is name it. However, there are some things you should keep in mind when naming a business, and you must search the Secretary of State’s website in the state where you live to make sure the name you have in mind is available.
Naming your LLC
Many business owners name the business after themselves, while others name their business for an idea that appeals to them. Some business owners think of a name that's catchy or a play on words. Whatever you do, you should make sure the name you choose is memorable because if people can remember the name of your business, they'll be more likely to call you.
The name of your LLC should also be meaningful and original. When thinking about potential business names, you might try using alliteration or words that start with the same letter. It's also a good idea to make the name somewhat short so that it's easier to remember. It should also be easy to spell.
These days, one common trend is to combine words and capitalize each word that's combined, meaning you have capital letters in the middle of the word. You may also want to avoid slang or drop a letter from a word to make the name unique and memorable. It can be tempting to include a slang word because it's trendy, but that word probably won't be trendy anymore a few years from now.
If you can't think of a name you would like, you might even consider making up a name. Some examples of made-up names include Google, Zappos and Sony. Made-up names are unique, so they should be easier to use because they won't be taken already. It's also easy to brand made-up names because they don't have connotations that other words have. You can also think about adding a new meaning to an existing word as Amazon did.
Run some online searches on the name
Once you have some ideas about possible names, it's time to run them through Google to see what pops up. You'll find out whether anyone is using that name anywhere, but if the business isn't in your state, then the name may be available to you.
Businesses generally need a website to get the word out, so take some time to see what domain names are available. If it's a common name, you probably won't be able to find an appropriate domain name that's easy to remember. However, if you've taken the time to come up with something unique, you may be able to find a domain name easily.
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Check if the name is available
No matter what name you settle on, there is always a risk that someone else has gotten to it first. Thus, you must run the name through the search tool on the secretary of state's website in your state. There are some other things to keep in mind.
If you've settled on a name that is too similar to another business' name, you won't be able to use it. For example, if you are forming an LLC and have to use "LLC" in the name, but someone else has the same name with "Corp." attached to it, you won't be able to use the name.
Additionally, if there is any chance that your business could be confused with an already established business for any reason, you won't be able to use the name. For example, names using an article like "a" or "the" are considered the same if the main words in the name are identical.
To find the link to search your state's secretary of state website, you can check out TRUiC's LLC search tool here.
File your documents
If you are concerned about someone taking the name before you can file your articles of organization for your LLC, you can file a form and pay a fee to reserve the name with your state. Fees and forms differ from state to state, but most of them allow you to reserve a name for 90 to 120 days.
If you are confident that no one will come up with the same name, you can just move forward with your LLC paperwork. You will need to designate a registered agent who will be available at all times during normal business owners to receive service of process documents. You will also need to file your articles of organization, which will include your name and the names of all the other LLC members, if there are any. LLCs should also have operating agreements between all the members that spell out their roles and other essential aspects of the business.
Starting an LLC is exciting, but it's important to make sure you have all your paperwork in order. It all starts with having the right name and a name that's unique and memorable.