Naming your business is top of the to-do list when formulating your company. You want one that stands out and tells people what you sell. You want it to be memorable yet easy to pronounce.
However, finding a name isn’t enough. You must adhere to your state laws around an LLC name.
We’ll tell you everything about the laws related to coming up with an LLC name and how to choose one.
Do the LLC Name and Business Name Have to Match?
It’s common for new business owners to confuse the difference between an LLC and a business name.
The LLC name represents your company’s legal entity, while your business name is the one used to market your brand to customers. It means that your LLC and the business name don’t have to match.
For example, an LLC entity called Catchy Cats LLC may run a pet supply store called Cats Paws Supplies and a cat cafe called Cat Au Lait. The business names reflect the different products or services offered at each location, but the LLC name indicates that the same entity owns both businesses.
Sometimes you’ll need to list both the entity and business names. For example, you’ll have to include the LLC name when registering your state business or opening business banking and credit lines.
What Are the Regulations & Rules Related to LLC Names?
Each state has specific rules and regulations governing LLCs. Here are general rules you should know when creating your LLC:
- It can’t be the same as another LLC registered within your state
- Must contain a variation of the term “limited liability company in it
- Can’t contain any restricted or forbidden words
According to the Internal Revenue Service, certain types of businesses can’t be incorporated as LLCs, such as banks and insurance companies. Some states even forbid using “insurance” and “bank” when naming LLCs.
You’ll want to visit your state’s business regulatory’s website to find a list of disallowed work. Most states will prevent the use of:
- Obscene words
- Words promoting illegal activity
- Words that directly or indirectly or falsely claim association with government bodies such as “federal,” “city,” or “township”
- Words like “medical” or “legal” if you’re not a doctor or lawyer
How to Choose a Name for Your LLC
Your LLC name could be the first impression for investors, government bodies, and customers. You want something catchy that still describes your company. Follow these steps to choose the right one for your LLC.
Make Sure It’s Legal
As mentioned above, some words are not permissible in naming your LLC. Avoid using the terms above so you can stay on the right side of the law.
Make a List of Keywords
Consider the products or services you plan on selling, and then write a list of associated terms. You can review competitors’ names to gain inspiration to see whether there are any patterns of phrases used.
Google Ads Keyword Planner is perfect for finding high-traffic keywords associated with your niche or industry. Choosing strategic keyword phrases can help your business become more discoverable on search engines.
Turn Your Keywords Into LLC Name Ideas
Next, create combinations using the phrases and keywords you’ve written down. Consider using literary devices such as rhymes, puns, and phrases. Ensure it’s easy to pronounce and will stand the test of time.
Various AI-powered software will take keyword ideas and generate business names for you.
Remember that it should be something that your audience remembers. Potential customers who need your product or service are more likely to choose your company if you have a memorable name.
Getting honest feedback from your potential customers is an excellent way to see whether your name sticks. Surveys allow you to obtain a large amount of input at once.
There are many ways to get feedback. For example, open-ended questions give you more in-depth insight into how they feel or the thoughts that come to mind when they first see your name. However, you can also use a rating scale or head-to-head poll to gauge people’s preferences quickly.
Select the Best Searchable LLC Name
Once you’ve received feedback, make a list of the top suggestions and rank them in order from favorite to least favorite. You’ll have to narrow down your choices based on your unique criteria.
Online visibility might be a huge consideration, so a highly-searched term could be more important than having a catchy one. However, customers could also value uniqueness, so you may want a name that stands out and gets people curious.
Check for Name Availability
It’s time to pick your name. Choose one from the top of your list and check whether it’s available. There are several ways to check the availability.
First, you’ll want to go to the USPTO’s trademark database to confirm that someone else hasn’t claimed it.
Next, you can search on Google and check domain sites to see whether your preference is already in use. Ideally, you want to be able to set up a domain with the same entity in the URL.
Register Your LLC With the State
Once you’ve found an available name, you can secure your LLC’s name by trademarking and registering it with the state.
You’d apply for a trademark on the USPTO’s database site. Registering your LLC requires visiting your state’s business regulatory body website.
Create the Entity Website
Lastly, you’ll want to purchase a domain name from a domain provider to create a website with your LLC.
Need Accounting Help? Give Us a Call
Picking an LLC name is one of the most critical decisions in forming your company. Take the time to research and select the best LLC name that sets you apart from the crowd.
Once you’ve set up your LLC name, you’ll want to ensure your company properly manages the accounting, bookkeeping, and financial aspects.
Get in touch with MI Tax CPA to learn more about our business CPA and tax services.