LLC Name Ideas
Picking a name for your Limited Liability Company (LLC) is an essential and sometimes challenging task for a small business owner.
You probably want it to be easy to pronounce and memorable. The name should be unique and communicate what your business does. It also needs to be available as a website domain name. Of course, your LLC name also must comply with your state's naming laws.
Combining all these qualities into one name is no small task. The following tips will help you pick a legal business name that you can be happy with for the life of your business.
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Brainstorm Your LLC Name Ideas
For many startup businesses, coming up with a memorable and catchy business name seems like one of the most challenging steps. When you are ready to name your business, you should try to get creative and make a long list of names that you narrow down as you go.
As you try to develop the perfect business name, remember to be memorable, descriptive, easy to pronounce, and unique. These ideas may help:
- Try a Business Name Generator: If you need help brainstorming name ideas, try an online business name generator to get started. An online company name generator usually takes a keyword you provide and adds something unique to it. Some of them will even check the social media and domain name availability.
- Make It Personal: Many successful business owners use some form of their name or the name of a loved one as their business name. Unfortunately, many of these names are already trademarked by other businesses. The other challenge with this strategy will be in finding a domain name that is not already taken. But with a bit of creativity, you can still make your LLC name personal. Creating an acronym, a new word, or a compound word is a great way to do just that. Consider combining your initials and your children's initials. Or think about whether you could use your pets' names to create your business name.
- Create a Compound Word: By combining two words that describe your business, you can sometimes come up with a clear and unique LLC name. An excellent example of this is Groupon, which combined group and coupon. Not only is this name memorable, but it is also clear to the consumer what the business does. Remember that catchy business names are memorable, clear, and concise.
- Create a New Word or Make an Acronym: When you create a brand-new word, you can be reasonably confident that it will be unique to you. Swedish entrepreneur and business magnate Ingvar Kamprad did just that when he created the name for IKEA. The name IKEA is both a new word and an acronym. The farm and village Ingvar Kamprad grew up in were called Elmtaryd, Agunnaryd. By making an acronym out of his initials and the first letters of his farm and village, Kamprad created the name of the most famous furniture chain in the world. If you create a new word, make sure that it is pronounceable so that potential customers can tell their friends and family about it.
Legal Considerations For Your Name
Now that you have done the creative work, you are probably trying to decide among a few names on your list.
To help you narrow your list down further, you should check whether other businesses are already using your potential names. You should also consider the legal requirements for LLC names in your state.
Is Your Name Already Taken?
Once you have a few LLC name ideas on your shortlist, a little due diligence can help you find out if those names are still available. Although this can take some time to research, it is worth the effort. You would not want to build up a business only to have to change your name because a competitor accuses you of trademark infringement.
To check whether the names you are considering are already being used, you should conduct searches on the national and local levels:
- Do a quick internet search of your name to see if any identical or similar names pop up immediately.
- Search the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO's) trademark database. This database also shows whether trademarks are “live" (still being used) or “dead" (abandoned).
- Check with your state's filing office to see if your name is taken. Many states have searchable online databases.
Trademark laws exist to prevent confusion in the marketplace. If two businesses provide similar products under similar names, the customer might think the same company makes them.
So, choosing an original name for your LLC is not just about making your business stand out from the crowd. It also prevents trademark infringement and consumer confusion.
What Are Your State's Naming Requirements?
The requirements for LLC names vary by state. In most states, the name needs to include a reference to the fact that the business is an LLC. Many companies accomplish this by simply adding "LLC" to the end of their name.
Many states also have a list of words that are not allowed in LLC names. Those words are usually things like “bank," “university," or “insurance." If you have a good reason for using a word on your state's restricted word list, you may be able to get an exception. There will probably be additional paperwork involved, though.
Most states also do not allow names that could confuse the business with a governmental agency. You can usually find more information about restricted names from your local Department of State.
Check Social Media Availability
You probably plan to use social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for advertising. So, it is a good idea to check to see if some version of your preferred name is available before you commit to it.
If the name's social media handle is already claimed, you should check the availability of the other names on your list.
Check Domain Name Availability
Even if you plan to do business mainly from a brick-and-mortar storefront, you should still have a good website. A good online presence helps your customers locate you, get in touch with you, and learn your hours of operation. Keep in mind that your domain name could affect how highly you rank on search engine results.
To check for domain availability, you should find a domain registrar online. Their services can help you check your name's availability before registering it. If your name is not available in any format as a domain, you might have to go back to the drawing board and try another name.
Once you have a business name idea that fills all the legal and business requirements, you can register it and get to work. With your new business name, you can start printing and distributing your business cards. It would be best if you also began populating your website and growing your social media presence so that any potential customer can find you.
How an Attorney Can Help
Starting and naming a new business is an exciting and busy time. If you are considering LLC names, you might have concerns about the name's availability, your state's requirements, or trademark issues. A business attorney can help answer your LLC name questions and other new business concerns.
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