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By now, you’ve done the hard work of coming up with a legal business name (if not, click here to learn tips, tricks, and other resources). You may have also run a business name check to make sure the name is available. Now you’re probably wondering how to own a business name. Well, the only way to do this is to apply for a business name.
As you know, it’s not enough to just write your business name down on a piece of paper. You must legitimize it. When you register a business name, you ensure it can’t be stolen. It also gives legal clout should someone try to use it without your permission. Thankfully, getting a business name is easy–some steps can even be done online!
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to register a business name. That way you can protect, promote, and enhance your brand identity.
1. Form an LLC or Corporation
The most common way to register a business name is to form a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation. Creating an LLC or corporation not only offers liability protection, asset protection, and tax benefits, but you can also apply for a business name registration in the process.
How so? Well, there are many steps you must take to form an LLC or corporation. One of those is getting the necessary forms, then filing your articles of incorporation (for corporations) or your articles of organization (LLC) with the appropriate office. This registers the name with the Secretary of State records. Better still, a more thorough search will be conducted to ensure the name is not already in use by another.
If, perchance, your company intends to sell products or services using a different name, that name will also need to be registered as a fictitious name with your state.
At the end of this process, you’ll not only have an official business name, but you’ll also have a legal business entity as well.
2. File a Doing Business As (DBA)
If you’re wondering how to get a business name as quickly as possible, filing a DBA (also known as registering a fictitious name) is the answer. When you register a business name, you’re telling the state and the public that you, the owner, are “doing business as” this named business officially.
Some states require you to publish a notice in newspapers to alert the community of this new connection. Also, if you were wondering how to register a business name for free, know that there is a small fee for filing a DBA.
The only time you’re not required to file a DBA is if you’re using your own name as your business. You must register any other business name, so the public knows who owns the business.
Last but not least, DBAs are required if you want to open a bank account in your business’s name and they make it easier to attract investors and business partners.
Now, lest you’re tempted to skip this last section, a DBA is not a registered trademark. It’s just a name reservation within your state or county. It doesn’t guarantee that other businesses registered in other states won’t be competing in your market and doesn’t always provide legal protection.
To provide legal protection for your name, you need to conduct a formal trademark search and file a trademark application. After you file, business name protection takes effect. This guarantees your name is unique and will help deter people who would try to use it without your permission.
Legal matters aside, having a trademark is one of the most valuable marketing tools available, helping consumers quickly identify your brand. Think about brands like Coca-Cola and Nike whose business name and logo are instantly recognized and synonymous with their industry.
Additionally, trademarks make it easy for customers to find you, providing an asset for effective communication with your audience. Whether it’s social media or storefront signage, trademarks offer instant recognition in a sea of competitors
Look at it as the final step in securing your brand identity. Don’t neglect doing this as you register a business name.
No matter how small your business is right now, registering your business name is a smart move. For a small fee, you get to brand your company, gain credibility, and gain more customers to get an identity of its own. This is vital in such a competitive marketplace.
And as you just read, there are a few methods to consider when figuring out how to register a business name. But the best and most secure way is by forming an LLC or Corporation.
Lucky for you, our LLC set up service here at Inc Authority is 100% free and comes with a ton of other free business essentials.
So, contact the business experts here at Inc Authority to secure your business name and launch your brand!