How to Register a Business Name?

Updated on: February 24, 2013

How do I register a business name?…. This is a common question among people who are trying to start their own business. One of the most gratifying things to do in life is to start your own business. Although there are several steps to actually setting it up and establishing it, one of the fundamental things you need to do is to legitimately register your company.

According to many who have started their own businesses, this is the step most frequently remembered as the starting point to owning their businesses. You could say it is one of  many small business start up costs. This is a relatively simple procedure that should allow anyone who is qualified, to register their business. This is how to get your business registered:

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1. Select a name for your business

The name you select for your business is an integral part of your business as it will be your identification, especially among your clients. Ensure that the name you select is relevant for your business and is something you can live with for a lifetime.

2. Carry out a name search

It is important to check and see if the name you have selected is available, as someone else may have selected and registered the name before you. A master list of names registered in your state is maintained by the Secretary of State. You could also carry out a search at your local Chamber of Commerce or at the County clerk’s office.

Find out whether there exists another business in your area that shares the same name, or has a name quite similar to the one you have selected, and if they are in the same line of business as you are. If none exist, then your business has acquired a name.

3. Get an online domain name

Whether you intend to carry out your business online or not, it is imperative that you register an internet domain name for your business. This will come in handy when you build a website for your business. A simple single paged website is important

as it can provide relevant contact information to new clients who may be searching online for a service that your business may be offering.

4. File a DBA (Doing Business As) as you wait for your registration

You can do this either at your county court house, or you can mail the form directly to the secretary of State. The rationale for filling a DBA form is to enable you begin running your business as you await official communication authorizing you to operate your business as the name you have searched and chosen for it.

This form has other names in other states. So, whether you are trying to register a business name in Texas, Georgia, Michigan, Florida or any other state for that matter, it would be helpful of you described what your intent is before requesting for the DBA form.

For example, for those in California, it is known as the Fictitious Names Statement. The DBA will enable you to somewhat reserve the name you have selected although you will be required to file an official business registration.

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5. Register your business with the Secretary of State or County Courthouse

This will require you to determine the nature of your business, whether it is a general partnership, limited company or sole proprietorship.

Remember that it may not be necessary to register a business name in some cases. This is quite common especially in cases where you use your own names as the business name. Confirm with your local county courthouse before proceeding with any of the steps mentioned above.

Of course, depending on your specific business. you may also want to consider registering a trademark as well. But for most new businesses that may not be necessary.

Starting a business of your own is a great step towards bettering your life and the lives of others who you might employ in the future. But before you get there, make sure you set up a strong foundation, starting with properly registering your business name.


Category: Personal Finance

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