One of the major steps in incorporating is choosing a name for your business. You want your organization to be memorable and recognizable, and the name you choose should achieve that. In addition, there are state and federal limitations on what corporations and LLCs can be called, so keep those in mind as well.
Following are five tips to remember when naming your corporation.
1. Know the Rules
First, make sure you know the rules. If you’re incorporating in Illinois, for instance, you’ll need to make sure your company’s name follows these guidelines:
- It must be different from all other entity names on the record.
- It must include a corporate designator (“corporation,” “limited,” or “incorporated,” to name a few). This may be abbreviated (such as “Inc.” or “LLC”).
- It must contain only letters from the English alphabet, Roman numerals (I, II, IV), or Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3).
Some industries, such as medical corporations, professional service organizations, etc., may have additional limitations as well.
If you plan to do business across the nation, you’ll also want to check with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to make sure your desired name isn’t taken.
2. Make It User Friendly
Second, your name should be easy for people to spell and pronounce. Making your corporation’s name short and simple can help people remember it, while long and obtuse names will generally be easily forgotten.
Web-friendliness is also worth considering since much of modern business is conducted online. Checking the availability of web domains can help you choose a name you can use when setting up your organization’s webpage and other online resources.
3. Stand Out
While your name should be user-friendly, it also needs to stand out. “Good Electrician, LLC” may sound appealing, but it’s also kind of dull. Make it something unique that will stand out from your competition while still being recognizable.
Your name will also need to be easily distinguishable from other brands. Not only does that help with brand recognition, but it can also prevent potential IP lawsuits if another business accuses you of profiting from its trademarked identity. Make the name your own and avoid unnecessary legal entanglements.
4. Be Consistent with Your Brand
While a name should be unique, make sure it’s still consistent with your brand. This requires a careful balance between standing out and still being recognizable, especially for small businesses that don’t have widespread recognition. You want your name to tell people what you do without being too generic.
5. Don’t Be Too Narrow
Finally, be careful about being too narrow. You typically don’t want your name to be limited to a single region, especially if your goals include widespread growth with multiple locations. Being too narrow in describing your services can also make it harder to expand your offerings to the public. As your company grows, you may find yourself with a name that no longer fits if it’s too narrow.
To Sum Up…
Choosing a good name for a corporation or LLC is important. You want to make sure you pick one that reflects your services and business objectives. In addition, you must keep in line with state and federal laws regarding the naming of legal entities.