How to Register Your Business Name in the US: 3 Smart Ways
Dec 27, 2021 15:55
Starting a new business requires a lot of paperwork, processes, and tasks that you need to complete on a tight deadline.
Learning the different ways to register your business name can help make that process a little easier for you.
Why do you need to register your business name in the first place?
Because it offers you protection against someone else using your business name and capitalizing on your brand reputation. After all, you don’t want anyone else to start a competing business with the same name.
That is why you need to register your business name with the right authorities. These could be county offices, state governments, and even federal bodies.
Now that we have that cleared, let’s understand everything you need to register your business name and the different ways in which you can do that.
Prerequisites Before You Register Your Business Name
Before we get into the details of how to register your business name, you need to complete a few steps.
First, you need to decide which business entity you want to register your business as. You can choose from the four main options: an LLC, a Corporation, a Partnership, and a Sole Proprietorship. Depending on your choice of business entity, you will need to follow different naming guidelines and conventions.
Next, you need to search for name availability and ensure that your chosen name is unique and no other company is using it within your state. You may also need to do a national-level search if you intend to get a federal trademark.
You should also consider using the services of a company like GovDocFiling to get the paperwork done. They can expedite the process and take care of all the paperwork related to forming a business.
Once you do that, you are ready to register your business name with your state or federal government.
3 Ways to Register Your Business Name
Irrespective of which type of business or entity type you choose, you need to register your business name with the authorities. It is not just for identity protection but is a necessary requirement to register our business and start operations.
While this part may be clear to every entrepreneur, what you may not know is that there are different ways to register your business name.
In this section, you will learn three different ways to register your business name with the different government bodies.
Let’s get started.
1. Form a Legal Business Entity
When you start a company in the US, you have to choose and register a business name as well. In this case, the business will be a separate legal entity and will have its own bank account and financial records.
You will need to check the state’s records to ensure that no one else is using your chosen name. If it is available, you can create your business entity and register your business name with your state.
If you want to expand your business to multiple states, you will have to check if the name is available in each state before you can register your business name there and start operating.
2. File for a DBA (Doing Business As)
If you want to do business under an assumed name, other than the business name you registered during business formation, you need to file for a DBA.
Whether you have a Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, or LLC, you can file for DBA and register your business name or fictitious name.
To register your business name, you need to either go to your county office or the state agency, depending on your state. If you want to expand your business to multiple regions, you will need to check the name availability and register your business name in each region.
People often go for an assumed name to shorten the actual name, which might be quite long if you follow the naming guidelines for different types of business entities. Also, if you want to expand your business into different areas, you may register a different name for each line of business, all operating under the same company.
You can also simply choose to use a short and memorable brand name, while the actual company name may be different and difficult to remember. Whatever your reasons may be, fiking for a DBA is the answer if you want to use a different name for day-to-day operations.
3. Register it as a Federal Trademark
This is the most complex and costly way to register your business name, as it requires you to trademark your name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Then why should you go this way?
Because once you get a trademark for your business name, no one else can use it across the country. While other methods of registering your name provide state-wide or country-wide protection, this provides nationwide protection for your business name.
Of course, you need to check their records and make sure that the name is not currently in use and is unique. You also need to go through the limitations and requirements for trademarking a business name.
If you don’t want to go the federal route, trademark protection is also available at a state level. If you register your business name as a trademark within your state, then no one can use that anime within the state.
Ready to Register Your Business Name?
By now you should have a clear understanding of how to register your business name.
You will, of course, have to register a business name while forming a legal business entity. If you want to use a fictitious name for day-to-day business operations, you can file for a DBA.
If your main goal is to protect your brand name and restrict anyone else from using your name across the country, then you need to get a trademark.
Choose the option that best suits your business needs and register your business name with the right authorities. All the best!
Brett Shapiro is a co-owner of GovDocFiling. He had an entrepreneurial spirit since he was young. He started GovDocFiling, a simple resource center that takes care of the mundane, yet critical, formation documentation for any new business entity.
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