Naming an LLC

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“Words have meaning, and names have power.”

–Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., American jurist and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Company names are extremely important —especially when you are an entrepreneur developing a new small business. It’s important to understand as a business owner a company name is a powerful branding asset that plays a critical role in the growth, identity, and recognition of your brand. As a result, a company name should be memorable, unique, easy to pronounce, and meet legal name requirements. Business entity names also need to resonate with your target audience and help you connect with customers.

But what’s the best way to brainstorm and select a name for your new limited liability company (LLC)? Read on to learn more…

Include “LLC” in the name: Most states require LLC names to end with the words, “limited liability company,” to indicate that your business structure is, in fact, a real LLC. While “LLC” is the most popular abbreviation, you can also use other similar abbreviations, such as “limited,” “limited liability,” or “Ltd” for this entity type.

Do not include restricted terms: Because states want to ensure that your business’ legal name does not imply that your business is a corporation, bank, or insurance company, you can’t use specific words that reflect this. For example, make sure your LLC name does not contain the following: “bank,” “trust,” “trustee,” “insurer,” or “insurance company.” In addition, since your LLC is not a corporation, make sure you do not include “incorporated,” “inc,” or “corporation” in your business name.  To view a comprehensive list of all restricted words, visit your state’s business website.

Make it clear, simple, and catchy: Find an LLC name that is not only easy to remember, but easy to spell. Always keep it simple with your name ideas. Try not to pick a name with more than two syllables or any hyphens. In addition, keep in mind that catchy names are memorable for customers. It is at times recommended to consider using rhyming or alliteration to help make your new business name memorable as well. Consequently, make sure that the name of your LLC is not boring or difficult to remember since these types of names are easily forgotten.

Always match your business with a name: Names that connect with your business consistently remind customers what you do and what you offer. For example, a carpet cleaning company named, “SpotOn,” is a lot more memorable than “B & V Partners.”

Choose a meaningful name: LLC names that convey meaning and significance are helpful for SEO purposes and translate into less money spent on branding. For example, the toiletry brand, Dove, produces hair and skin care products that focus on making people look and feel beautiful. And because the word, dove, evokes images of purity and softness, this particular name is meaningful and quite effective.

Keep it general: Don’t pick an LLC name that will limit your business growth down the road. Because you may end up expanding your product offerings or adding multiple locations later, it is extremely important to allow for this. For example, avoid naming your bakery business, “Double Chocolate Cake of Phoenix,” in case you decide to expand to other cities or sell products other than double chocolate cakes in the future.

Consider other languages: When choosing an LLC name, check the implications of the name in other languages. You never want a name that has negative connotations in another language.

Check for name availability: Legally, you are not allowed to select a name that is already in use by another LLC—or is too similar to an existing LLC. As a result, it is vital to confirm that another company is not using your name by conducting a thorough llc name search on the web.

To do this, visit your Secretary of State’s gov website to search for your proposed name in a business name registration database. However, be aware that this does not necessarily guarantee that your name is unique because this website only shows what is actually registered with that particular state.

It is helpful to note that some states have an Office of the Secretary, which is able to search the name before you officially file. Depending on your state, this service might be free—or the state office may charge a fee.

To ascertain whether an LLC name is taken outside of your home state, try to Google your proposed name to see whether it is currently in use. In addition, consider visiting SuperPages (https://www.superpages.com) to search for trade names and corporate names online.

Claim the domain name: Because most customers associate .com names with an established business, it is imperative to quickly claim the corresponding domain name. Alternatives, such as .net or .biz, are not considered as favorable.

To see if your business name is available, search your proposed name on registration sites, such as GoDaddy or Network Solutions. Keep in mind that if your domain name is already taken, some owners are open to selling the name for a price. At the same time, it is a good idea to secure your business name on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

The bottom line is that a name introduces your LLC to the world. Because it is a customer’s first impression, your perfect name should always set a positive tone, identify your brand, and be unforgettable.

So once you’ve found the perfect business name, register your LLC with Inc Authority. Our business startup advisors are ready to assist you. Or file your business online in three simple steps. Form your FREE LLC today!

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