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Name, Verify, and Register Your New Company with This Definitive Guide

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Your company’s name is more than a label; it’s the foundation of your brand, reflecting your identity and values. A well-chosen name resonates with customers, conveys your message, and sets you apart from the competition

December 26, 2023
Author: NCH

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The process of naming, verifying, and registering a business may seem daunting at first, but with the right guidance and understanding of the legal requirements, it can be straightforward.

Why a Good Company Name Matters

  • Brand Identity: Your company’s name is the first point of contact with potential customers. A well-thought-out name can create a positive first impression and communicate your brand’s identity and values.
  • Memorability: A unique and memorable name is more likely to stick in the minds of your customers, making it easier for them to recall and recommend your business.
  • Marketing and Promotion: Your company name will be a key part of your marketing and advertising efforts. It can serve as a strong marketing tool and help your business stand out in a crowded marketplace.
  • Legal Protection: When you register your company name, you gain legal rights to it in your industry or jurisdiction. This prevents others from using a similar name and helps protect your brand’s reputation.
  • Credibility: A professional and relevant company name can enhance your credibility in the eyes of customers, suppliers, and investors.

Picking the Right Name

The name of your business is not only your brand identity but also a legal requirement. To make an informed choice, take into account the following factors:

Legal Considerations

Your business name must be unique and not infringe on any existing trademarks or copyrights. Use the online database of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to search for existing trademarks and verify if the company name is already taken.

Avoid Restricted Words

Certain words or phrases may be restricted or prohibited in your company name, depending on your business structure. For instance, words like “bank,” “insurance,” and “pharmacy” may require additional licenses or regulatory approvals.

Memorability 

A well-chosen name resonates with the products or services you offer, creating an instant connection with potential customers. Opt for one that is easy to remember and spell. A complicated or confusing name can hinder word-of-mouth marketing and branding efforts.

How to Register a Company Name

Step 1: Choose Your State of Registration 

It’s highly recommended to register your business in the state where you have a physical presence or where you do business. In the United States, Nevada and Wyoming are your best bets due to their strong privacy laws and the absence of state income tax. 

Step 2: Reserve the Name 

You can reserve the chosen name with your state’s secretary of state office. Name reservation typically lasts for a specific duration (e.g., 120 days), during which no one else can use the name. This provides time to complete the registration process.

Step 3: Prepare the Documents

The specific registration documents you’ll need vary depending on your chosen legal structure:

Sole Proprietorship or Partnership

If you are operating as a sole proprietorship or partnership and plan to use your own legal name for your business, you may not need to register a fictitious name (also known as a “doing business as” or DBA name). 

However, bear in mind that you will need to file a DBA registration with your local county clerk’s office if you are planning to use a different name for your business.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

For an LLC, you must register your business name with the Secretary of State’s office in the state where your LLC is based. The specific requirements and forms for registration vary by state, so it’s important to check with your state’s filing guidelines.

Corporation

Corporations typically have stricter naming requirements and may need to include terms like “Incorporated” or “Corporation” in their name. Should you consider forming a corporation, you must register your business name with the Secretary of State. 

Trademarks

Registering a trademark can provide additional protection for your business name and brand. While not mandatory, trademark registration can prevent others from using your name and protect your brand identity on a national level.

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Step 4: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN is a unique tax identification number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to your business. If you are a sole proprietor without employees, you may not be required to get an EIN. You can use your Social Security Number for tax reporting purposes. 

However, having an EIN can help protect your personal information and is often recommended. You can obtain an EIN online through the IRS website or request professional assistance.

Step 5: Secure Local Permits and Licenses

The requirements to operate legally may depend on your location, business type, and industry. Here are some common types of permits and licenses you might need:

  • Business licenses
  • Professional licenses (e.g., for doctors, lawyers, architects)
  • Health permits
  • Sales tax permits
  • Zoning permits

Always check with your local government or use online resources to determine which permits and licenses are required for your business.

Legal and Practical Measures to Protect Your Business Name 

Trademarks

As mentioned earlier, registering your business name as a trademark with the USPTO can provide significant protection. It grants you exclusive rights to use the name for your products or services and allows you to take legal action against others who attempt to use a similar name.

Domain Name

Nowadays, it pays to check the availability of your business name as a domain. A matching domain name can help establish your online presence effectively. Consistency across your company name and web domain is recommended for a strong online presence.

Social Media Profiles

Secure social media profiles with your business name on popular platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Doing so will help you maintain brand consistency and prevent others from using your name on these platforms.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a suitable business name, as well as verifying and registering it correctly, are instrumental to your success in your chosen niche or industry. It’s a process that should not be rushed, as it can have far-reaching implications for your brand and legal compliance. 

If you need help with thinking of a company name and checking its availability, look no further than NCH. Our experts can simplify the complex and time-consuming process of forming a business and ensure you comply with all legal requirements. 

Call us at 1-800-508-1729 or check out our website today to learn more!

DISCLAIMER: The above material has been prepared for informational purposes only, containing opinions of the provider and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consider consulting tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

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