Searching Corporate Names

Before filing paperwork to register a business it is important to check that the name is available in the jurisdiction.

Searching Corporate Names

When it comes to registering a business, the corporate name is critical. However, it’s equally as important that business owners take time to search through corporate names to ensure the name they’ve chosen is valid. Otherwise, business owners will have to go back to the drawing board and spend valuable time coming up with a new name for their entity.

How To Search Through Corporate Names

Although the details of searching corporate names depend on which state a business owner is looking in, it generally is the same process anywhere. Most states have an online database, often housed on the Secretary of State’s website. Once a business owner locates this database, they can enter various search criteria to search through businesses in the state.

As one can imagine, having the same name as another business could become confusing. Not only would it complicate things from a marketing perspective, but it would also complicate state filings. As such, the state will not allow business owners to register their company if the name has already been taken. Failure to search for corporate names could cause considerable delays, as business owners must go back and come up with a new name before submitting their paperwork.

Every state recommends that businesses search through their corporate names database before submitting the paperwork required to register as a new business. In addition to a database of corporate names, some states also have a Name Distinguishability tool that allows business owners to ensure the name they’ve chosen is unique. When conducting a search, we recommend not only searching with the exact name, but with keywords as well. Searching by keyword will allow business owners to see similarly-named businesses in their state.

Requirements For Naming A Business Entity

Many states have criteria similar to that of the state of Virginia which says, “A proposed business entity name must be distinguishable upon the records of the Commission from the names of all active business entities, except general partnerships, and from names that have been designated, registered, or reserved for use by other persons.”

Similarly, many other states require companies to include the appropriate entity indicator. For example, those filing as an LLC must include the “LLC” moniker, while those filing as a corporation must include “Corp.,” “Inc.” or something similar. Additionally, businesses may not include specific words that indicate their intent to operate in some business activities. For instance, a business cannot include the word “Bank” in their name. States often have laws regarding which words are prohibited.

Conduct A Search In Every State

If a company conducts business in another state, they must often file as a foreign LLC or corporation. However, just because a name is available in one state does not make it available in another. For example, “Business A1 LLC” could register to do business in North Carolina. A different “Business A1 LLC” could also register to do business in Georgia. The North Carolina entity moves into South Carolina, and files as a foreign LLC under the “Business A1 LLC”” name.

A year later, the Georgia entity attempts to expand into South Carolina. However, upon doing so, the business owner discovers that their name is taken. What must they do then? In this case, business owners should look into obtaining a DBA (Doing Business As). This will allow the business owners to avoid the conflict and confusion by conducting business under a name different than their registration filing.

Why Is It So Important To Come Up With A Name?

It’s crucial for entrepreneurs creating their first company to spend adequate time coming up with a name for their business. The business name is critical for a few reasons. First and foremost, it informs the market of the activities in which you’re engaging. A good business name will reflect on who a business is and what they do. It’s in business owner’s best interest to come up with a clear name that does not leave room for confusion. Additionally, the business name can help establish the company’s strategy and mission, ensuring that a business’ approach aligns with the wants and needs of their customers.

Business owners should also want to come up with a name that is somewhat open-ended, leaving room for future growth. For example, if a business owner chooses a name that includes a location, it could create difficulties when expanding the business to other areas. Similarly, a name that pinpoints a service may make it difficult to diversify the company in the future.

Third-Party Companies Can Help

Fortunately, there are third-party companies, such as DoMyLLC, that can assist business owners searching through corporate names. We have years of experience navigating through state websites and can help business owners complete their corporate name search efficiently. We understand the criteria that exists in different states. We can sort through the mess to ensure that business owners come up with a name that leaves them satisfied.

Once a business owner has conducted their corporate name search, we can then help transact any business necessary. Whether it’s filing the paperwork needed to become a company, filing a DBA to “get around” a previously-existing corporate name, or anything else of the sort, at DoMyLLC, we are here to help.

Investing in our services could end up saving business owners valuable time and money. This is especially the case for entrepreneurs, who may not have much experience running a business. Instead of wasting time searching corporate names and trying to come up with one that is specific without being too narrow, our experts can do this in a heartbeat.

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