Whether you’ve started a small business or you’re looking forward to expanding your brand or branches, having your business name registered is always the next big step forward!
In the following article, we’ll show you how to register a business name in simple and easy to follow steps. Let’s dive in!
Why Register a Business Name
Registering a business name has a lot of benefits that you shouldn’t miss out on. When you’re having a small business, registering that business name will give you the following advantages:
- Protect your business name from being used by anyone else
- Helps your clients to avoid confusing you with the other
- Helps you in registering your trademark for branding and product protection
How to Register a Business Name
Here’s everything you might need to go through to get your business name registered.
Step 1: Make Sure That You Need a Business Name
Depending on the business structure you have in mind and your location, you might not need to register a business name to start a business.
The first thing you should know is that if you use your legal name to conduct business, you’re not obligated by law to register the name with state and local governments in many cases.
However, by not registering your business name, you’ll also miss out on some legal and tax benefits that come with the registration. Also, you might miss out on personal liability protection perks and trademark registration.
Step 2: Consider a Business Structure
If you already haven’t decided on your business structure, make sure that you do before proceeding with registering a business name with both state and federal agencies.
These decisions will help you streamline the rest of the steps and get the registered name without confusion.
The best way to start on forming a business structure is to consult an expert or a local attorney to help you.
You should also consider taxes and the amount of personal liability you’re willing to face. You’ll have to choose such decisions while registering, so you have to get it done first.
Step 3: Find a Physical Office Address
One of the requirements that you need to fulfill before filing for a business name is listing an office address within your articles of incorporation.
The address that you put in the legal documents is where all the official documents and letters will be sent by the state.
The address needs to be within the state border. However, it doesn’t necessarily need to be the same place where you’ll be conducting your business.
In some cases, you might need to provide an address with the same street as the registered agent’s office.
Step 4: Choose The Right Business Name
Once you decide to register with a state, you’ll need to have a name for your business. Picking the right name for your business will also make it or break it.
That’s why you have to consider how that name will show up in logos, ads, and even billboards and online websites.
Think about a catchy name that’ll attract your clients’ attention and encourage them to do business with you.
Step 5: Registering with State Agencies
Registering with the state is often required if you’re running a corporation, a partnership, an LLC, or a nonprofit corporation.
You’re considered to be doing business in a state if your business has a physical presence in the state and you have in-person meetings with clients within its borders.
Also, if your employees work in that sate and a specific portion of your revenue is generated from that state, this means that you’re doing business there and need to register your name.
Depending on the state you’re in, you’ll either register through an online form or by filing paper documents.
Step 6: Register Your Name Officially
There are some regulations and rules while choosing a name for your business. For example, if you’re creating a corporation, you’ll need to include certain words in the title, such as:
Registering your name with the state or county clerk’s office is usually called “filing a DBA”, which stands for “Doing Business As”. It’s also known as “fictitious business name”.
Before filing for the name you’re using, make sure that there’s no other business in the state that uses the same name. That’s why you should always register your business name with the state as soon as you can.
You usually pay a small fee for filing. Also, some states will require you to publish your business name in a newspaper for a certain amount of time. Filing for DBA is the easiest and most common method to register a business name.
It’s optional if you’re using your own legal name. However, if you use any other name, or you want to open a bank account with your business name, you have to register it first, as most banks will require such filing.
Step 7: Register with Federal Agencies
Registering with federal agencies isn’t mandatory in most cases to become a legal business entity. However, it’s recommended if you want to file for certain benefits, such as:
- Tax exemption status for charities and nonprofits with the IRS
- Trademark and product name protection through the United States Patent and Trademark office
- Create an S Corp by filing Form 2553 with the IRS.
Step 8: Get a Registered Agent
Before you file for a business name, you might need a registered agent. A registered agent’s role is to receive all the legal documents and official correspondence on behalf of your company.
It’s always better to leave this role to a professional registered agent service rather than tackling this technical jargon yourself.
It’s important to choose a registered agent within the same state as you. Ideally, you should try to get the closest possible registered agent to your office.
Having a business agent is required if your business is:
- Non-profit corporation.
Registering your business is a great idea to expand your brand and protect your business and products from imposters and customer confusion.
It’s also your first step towards getting your business name trademarked, which ensures absolute protection of your products and services on a national and even international scale.