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How to Register a Business Name and
Brand in 3 Simple Steps
Officially registering your business name can sound like a daunting task, but it’s actually a lot easier than it sounds! If you’re wondering how to register your business name in your state, you’ve come to the right place. We are going to walk you through the process step-by-step, so you won’t have to worry so much about the logistics and can get rolling on your business. So, for all information regarding registering your business name in your state, keep reading!
Here is another great resource to check out > SBA Business Guide
Table of Contents
1. Get Together A Business Plan
Before you file, you must know what business structure you’re going to use.
Here, you’re going to want to do a lot of research to determine what structure will best fit your business. The business structure you choose influences everything from day-to-day operations, to taxes, and so much more. Here’s a quick review of the most common business structures.
A sole proprietorship gives you complete control of your business and does not produce a separate business entity. Therefore, your business assets and liabilities do not remain separate from your personal assets and liabilities. Sole proprietorship is often considered for low-risk businesses and owners who don’t want a more formal business.
A partnership is an option for two or more people to own a business together. There are two different types of partnerships: limited partnerships (LP) and limited liability partnerships (LLP). An LP gives only one general partner unlimited liability while an LLP gives limited liability to every owner. A partnership can be a good choice for businesses with multiple owners or those who don’t want a more formal business.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
An LLC allows you to have the benefits of both a corporation and partnership business structure. Typically, an LLC protects you from personal liability, so you don’t need to worry about personal assets interfering. However, an LLC defines you as self-employed which means you must pay self-employment taxes towards Medicare and Social Security. An LLC is often a choice for medium to higher-risk businesses or owners with significant personal assets they want to protect.
A corporation is a legal entity that is separate from its owners. Therefore, a corporation can make a profit, be taxed, and be held legally liable. While corporations offer the strongest protection for people, they also require more extensive record-keeping, operational procedures, and are more expensive than other business structures. Additionally, there are various types of corporations that one would choose prior to filing. A corporation is a good choice for medium to higher-risk businesses, ones that need to raise money, or companies that plan to go public or eventually be sold.
2. Register your Business Name
Next, in order to legally protect your business name, you’ll need to register it. There are various requirements regarding name registration based on the state you reside in. Therefore, it’s crucial you look up specific state regulations before you take on this step. There are four different ways to protect your business name. An entity name protects you at state level and is often all that states require. A trademark protects you at federal level so other companies within your country can’t use your trademarked name. A “doing business as” (DBA) doesn’t give official legal protection, but is sometimes required depending on the state you live in. Lastly, make sure to run a domain URL search before filing your business name. A domain name will protect your business’ web address – and we all know how important web presence is for a business!
3. Complete the Applicable Paperwork for your State
After determining a unique business name, you will have to actually file paperwork in the state you live in. To determine what document (s) to file, simply go on Google and look up requirements for your state. Most states now allow you to file online, in person, or by mail. Therefore, you have a variety of choices to determine which filing way best suits your needs. Make sure you have all the applicable paperwork ready when you go to file – you don’t want to forget anything or else your filing could be denied.
By: Olivia Cannizzo
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