Picking a name for the company doesn’t seem a big deal. Yet, a degree of responsibility rises when you realize that it’s the first step to official business formation. No LLC can be launched without a name or with an inappropriate name. So, let us help you a bit in this concern and guide you through the name search for your future LLC.
What Aspects to Consider When Naming Your LLC
Before we take a close look at requirements to follow when naming your LLC and helpful tips to come up with an original company name, there are a few aspects you need to understand and take into consideration while choosing a moniker for your future entity.
A company name becomes a part of your LLC formation documents, i.e. it gets registered by the state to be one of your valuable business assets. With that, a name should be permissible, otherwise, it won’t be approved by the state and your LLC filing will be rejected. To make sure you’ve invented an eligible name version, you need to observe naming requirements and restrictions valid in the state of your business formation. And we’ll talk about those in more detail below.
To register a name for your LLC, this name should be distinguishable from other company names already filed in this state. “Distinguishable” means not similar to those already registered names. To check if an LLC name you have in mind is available in the jurisdiction of your business formation, it’s advisable that you perform a name search before entering the chosen one into your formation documents. Most states have special name search tools accessible via government websites that allow checking the name availability for free. At this point, it’s worth noting that if you plan to trademark your LLC name further on, you’d better check the desired option in a patent and trademark database as well.
Once the desired LLC name is available, you can reserve it so that no one could grab it since the name is free until registered with the state for a certain company. The name reservation service is payable, yet, the price is usually not high and will put the name on hold for up to four months. However, if you are ready to file an LLC, you can skip the name reservation step since the LLC formation will keep the name for you.
Domain Name Availability
In the digital world we live in, a corporate website is a part and parcel of any business, no matter you run it offline or online. Not only is it a marketplace for your products and services but also it will advertise and promote your business. So, when naming your company, it’s also worth checking a domain name registrar to find a relevant domain name and purchase the one that will best match your LLC name.
Basic Rules for Naming Your LLC Business
Inventing a name for your company is mostly about your imagination and creativity. However, there are specific requirements to keep in mind to work out a name that will be permissible and eligible. Those requirements are pretty much the same in all states:
- The name must include a reference to the type of the business entity, which is a limited liability company. Hence, either a full wording or its abbreviated form (Ltd, LLC, Limited) should be a part of your legal name;
- Mind using prohibited words. Each state has a list of restricted words you can’t use in LLC names. Otherwise, such names won’t be approved by the state. Normally, these are words implying any other type of business entity such as “corporation” or “trust”, references to financial and governmental institutions, as well as to academic degrees and professions. Speaking of which, professions could be mentioned in professional LLC names subject to having an appropriate professional license;
- As stated above, an LLC name should be unique, i.e different from any other legally existing company names in the state. Notably, though, you won’t make a name distinguishable by simply introducing articles, suffixes, prefixes, prepositions, conjunctions, or using plural or passive forms and punctuation marks. Instead, you should find synonyms, play with keywords, use acronyms, or mix words into different combinations;
- Finally, a company name should somehow relate to the purpose of your LLC or a major business activity it’s engaged in. On the other hand, though, you can’t mention in the name any wording related to activities beyond your LLC permitted use.
LLC Naming Tips
While being lawful, your LLC name should also make your company recognizable on the market and let it stand out among its rivals. So, before you choose a random name that appears available, consider our quick naming tips that will help you create an original name for your future business entity:
- Create it meaningful. Give your potential customers and clients an idea of what you are doing. This is especially important for companies engaged in sales or providing services. It sounds clear and saves people the trouble of guessing what your business is about;
- Go original. For some industries like IT, digital technologies, or Internet marketing, originality is the name of the game. A distinctive and a bit extraordinary name will make your company stand out and bring market recognizability to your brand;
- Be creative. By introducing foreign words or mixing parts of meaningful words in funny combos, you’ll give your LLC name a zest others don’t have;
- Cut it down. While longer names have more chances to appear unique, shorter names catch eyes and are easier to remember. So, try to hit the golden mean and keep it short;
- Don’t mimic big company names. There are industry giants that need no advertising and are popular worldwide. Many smaller companies seek to take a bite on the popularity and transform their names into different variations. That’s a method you’d better avoid. Not only is there a possibility of court sues and legal disputes over that but also you deprive yourself of building your own unique brand that won’t resemble any other;
- Take care of your social media presence. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, and other popular social media all work as marketing platforms for business. Hence, today, it’s vital to be present there as a business entity. So, naming your LLC, check future social media account names maximum close to your desired company name.
Legal vs Business Name
Do you know the difference between legal and business names? In fact, it’s important to understand that when naming your company since it will largely define your business development strategy. In brief, a legal name is the one mentioned in your LLC formation documents and registered with the state. This name will be a part of your public records and appear on your legal and formal documents. Meanwhile, a business name is a part of your marketing and brand assets. It makes your business recognizable and is used in your company logo and marketing materials.
The best thing about LLCs is that this type of business entity allows using more than one company name. While you’ll be entitled to file only a single legal name, you can register as many business names as you need by filing DBAs (doing business as). This way, you can safely run several different business activities under the legal umbrella of one LLC, with no confusion to it.