How to Register a Business Name – Complete Guide

Last Updated on: 4th February 2024, 04:41 am

Well, the most critical decision you can make in your professional life is choosing the name of your business. This is because your business name reflects your business idea, objective, and identity. It provides your customers an idea about what you offer exactly to them.

Once you have selected your company name, you must follow the name reservation and business registration with a state agency.

This will help you ensure no other business can run their corporation under the same name. Let’s explore step by step process of registering a business name; keep reading. 

How to Register a Name for a Business: Step by Step Guide 

The registration process for a business name varies from state to state and from one business structure to another. But, the general procedure is as follows: 

Step 1: Perform the Search for the Name 

This step tells you whether the business name you have chosen is available or not. This is because there might be a chance that some business already chooses your name. Therefore, you need to perform the name search by the following techniques:

  • Online Means

Start by performing a search for your selected company name. Enter the name into Google, Yahoo, Bing, or another search engine and press Enter to see if the desired name already belongs to a company.

When conducting the search, try enclosing your company name in quotation marks for more accurate results. When you do this, search engine results will precisely match the company name.

  • Searching the State Registry  

Visit your Secretary of State’s official website and explore business names in its registry. This will help you with a quick check of all the registered websites.

Step 2: Reserve & Register the Business Name in Your State

Once you have made sure that your business name is not taken by any other company yet, you can proceed to reserve and register your business name.

Again, this process varies from state to state and business structure. But, the general steps are the same. Let’s explore.

Your state may require you to formally register your business name if your company is a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), general and limited partnership, or nonprofit.

The official registration of a partnership business name is optional in several states.

Finally, as long as you use your legal name as your DBA, no state requires you to register the name of a sole proprietorship.

Pro Tip:

Before reserving and registering a business name with a registered agent or county clerk in your area, be sure to review your state’s naming regulations.

  • Business Name Reservation 

You can reserve the business name if the intention is to hold on to the business name and not incorporate the business immediately. For doing so, always check the reservation period of your state.

  • Business Name Registration 

You can register the business name while incorporating the business. This process includes the submission of organization articles in the case of LLC and articles of incorporation in the case of a corporation.  

Step 3: Trademarking the Business Name 

A state or federal trademark protects your brand against any competitive usage. So, it is important to trademark your business name after registration.

Once again, you can federally or stately trademark a business name. The procedure involves submitting a trademark application to the USPTO.

But, this can only be done once your business name is registered. Thus, trademarking comes last before you’re deemed to be legally conducting business in a state.

Your trade name will be formally processed and kept in the national or state trademark database once you have registered your firm and filed with the USPTO.

How to Register a Company Name and Tips for Business Registration in 2024

Understanding the process of Business Name Registration is essential for those planning to start a business. It involves picking a unique name for your business and getting it officially recognized by the right government agency.

Doing this helps prevent legal issues and trademark problems later, saving you time and money.

Moreover, it’s crucial to consider how your chosen business name will be seen by the people you want to attract.

A well-thought-out business name can tell people what your brand is about and attract potential customers. Also, knowing the legal side of registering a business name is important;

it means your chosen name is officially recognized as belonging to your business, protecting you against others using it without permission.

So, taking the time to understand business name registration ensures you start your business on the right foot and increase your chances of success.

Tip#1: Checking Available Business Names

Checking available business names is key to creating a unique and memorable brand. 

One way to do this is by searching for existing trademarks, domain names, and social media handles to avoid legal problems or confusion with other businesses.

Looking into online databases and registries can also show if your intended business name is already in use in your industry or area.

Additionally, keyword research can help you develop a unique and effective business name that resonates with your target audience. 

By looking at popular search terms related to your industry, you can find word combinations that stand out while considering SEO (Search Engine Optimization) implications. 

 Researching available business names protects you from infringement and sets the stage for a strong brand identity that matches your goals and values.

Tip#2: Choosing the Right Business Structure

Entrepreneurs must make an important decision when it comes to choosing the appropriate business structure for their venture.. Each structure, whether a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC), has pros and cons. 

Your choice will affect things like taxes and personal 

liability, so it’s crucial to think about your options carefully. 

For example, while a sole proprietorship is simple and gives you control, it also means you’re personally responsible for any business debts. On the other hand, forming an LLC gives you liability protection and flexibility in management and taxes.

Understanding the details of each business structure can help you make informed decisions about your long-term goals and growth prospects. 

For instance, incorporating as a C corporation might be best if you plan to go public or attract significant investments. But an S corporation could offer tax benefits while having restrictions on share ownership. Exploring these considerations can help align your business structure with your vision and growth plans.

Tip#3: Completing the Required Paperwork

Completing the necessary paperwork is vital to registering a business name, ensuring that your business is legally recognized and protected. Before you dive into legal forms and documents, it’s essential to research the specific requirements in your area.

These can vary a lot from one place to another, so getting advice from a legal expert or using government resources can simplify the process.

Once you know what documents you need, take the time to fill out each form carefully and check for accuracy. Small mistakes can cause delays or legal problems later on, so paying attention to detail is important.

Also, staying organized and keeping good records of all your business name registration paperwork can save you time and effort in the future. Seeing this paperwork as an investment in your business’s long-term success and legitimacy can help you stay motivated through this sometimes tedious process.

Tip#4: Getting the Right Licenses and Permits

Getting the right licenses and permits is another crucial step in registering a business name. You might need permits from different government agencies depending on your business type and location.

Researching and understanding these requirements is vital to complying with local, state, and federal rules. The licenses and permits you need will vary based on your business’s nature, location, and industry.

Not getting the necessary licenses and permits can lead to serious consequences for your business, including fines or closure.

So, it’s essential to thoroughly research which ones you need before you start operating. Also, staying up-to-date with any changes in regulations can prevent legal problems in the future.

By getting all the right licenses and permits before officially registering your business name, you build a strong foundation for long-term success while following all the relevant laws and rules.

  1. Registering for Taxes and an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  2. One important step in registering a business is getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This unique nine-digit number is necessary to open a business bank account, hire employees, and file taxes. Applying for an EIN is relatively easy and can be done online through the IRS website or by mail. Remember, every business entity, whether a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or LLC, needs an EIN.
  3. Registering for taxes might seem daunting, but it’s necessary for running a legitimate business. Depending on where you are and what you do, you might need to register for state and local and federal taxes. Knowing your tax responsibilities from the start can help you avoid penalties and legal problems later. Getting advice from a tax consultant or accountant can also help you manage your tax obligations efficiently and get the most benefits for your business.

How to Change a Business Name?

You can need to file a certificate of correction to remove clerical mistakes and typos in the name of your company. Apart from that, you must carry out the following actions if you want to significantly alter the legal business name:

  1. Get the resolution approving the name change. If approval of LLC members, and shareholders is required, the resolution will be signed by a number of partners or shareholders
  2. Modify the business formation documents. This may include updating the LLC operating agreement, any other agreement with the stakeholders along with articles of organization or articles of incorporation
  3. Articles of amendment must be submitted along with the necessary filing fee to the Secretary of state or other relevant state agency
  4. Notify state licensing, taxation, and regulatory organizations of the name change
  5. Change business accounts’ names, and inform customers, suppliers, and partners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I register a business name for free?

Unfortunately, not a single state allows business name registration for free for sellers. However, despite variable costs in each state, registering a business name is typically inexpensive.

How much does it cost to register a business?

Regardless of the state or business structure, the cost to register a business name normally doesn’t exceed $300.

State filing fees for business registration vary. More specifically, registering a business name for a corporation or LLC will cost you between $50 and $300.

You only need to pay a filing fee if you wish to operate as a sole proprietor under a DBA. Typically, it ranges from $10 to $100. Your business name and brand will cost an additional $225 to $275 to trademark.


Properly registering your business name is very important. It boosts credibility, protects from copycats, and sets the stage for growth. Without registration, you risk legal battles and miss out on opportunities. A registered business name is a must-have for success in today’s competitive market.

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