A Limited Liability Company, or LLC, is an excellent way in which entrepreneurs are able to register their start-up business. It offers members a wide range of personal legal protections and tax benefits while being a relatively inexpensive and simple business type to register. Choosing the right name for your LLC, however, is not a simple process.
What are the factors to consider when naming your LLC?
When naming your LLC, there are several things that are important to consider.
Your name needs to include a clear indication that it is an LLC.
Although the particulars around exactly which abbreviations you are legally allowed to use vary per state, across all states, LLC’s must include some kind of lettering at the end of their name to indicate the type of business that they are e.g. Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, LLC. In states like Idaho, Hawaii, Florida, Connecticut, California, you are allowed to use shortened letters such as Ltd. and Co. at the end of your business name. While in Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Vermont can use a shortened LC or L.C. abbreviations to indicate your LLC status. Whichever state you are in, and no matter which abbreviation you choose, it absolutely has to be included in your business name.
The brand identity considerations
When naming your business, you should take into consideration that your chosen name is a reflection of the company and should be flexible enough to grow alongside the company, as well as provide a viable framework upon which you are able to build a business with long term brand value.
The domain name and trademark considerations
It is generally advisable that you should brainstorm several name options for your company. This there is the possibility that your name might have already been registered with the state and it may also be the case that your preferred domain name is also already taken, which can be a major bump in the road when trying to get your business off the ground. It is therefore vital that you give yourself more than one option to avoid disappointment should yours already be trademarked.
State specific word restrictions
To ensure that no LLC is named in such a way that may mislead customers into thinking that it is operating in a different capacity then it is registered to do, some states have placed additional restrictions on certain words and phrases when registering which will require additional paperwork to file. You cannot, therefore, include words in your name that may indicate that you are to name a few; a government institution or a financial, legal or medical services provider. These vary vastly per state – Pennsylvania has over 50 restricted words – so you will need to thoroughly research your various state restrictions.
Knowing all of this, how do you settle on a good name for your LLC?
Fortunately, for those of us who need a little help in coming up with an appropriate and compliant business name, there is help at hand, and it’s free! A business name generator is an online service that serves as an exceptional means by which you are able to brainstorm and select the right business name tailored to your specific needs. When you use this tool, you are able to enter in certain keywords that are relevant and that you wish to include in your business name, as well as the state in which you are registering it in and your industry. The generator will take all of this information and will use an algorithm to generate several potential options for you to select from. The name generator will also automatically provide you with names that meet the various state specific naming requirements and, should you decide that there are a number of names that you are considering, the tool will reserve the domain names of your choice for up to a month, giving you enough time to formally register and trademark your business, and giving you piece of mind that your domain name remains secure.