HOW TO NAME YOUR LLC

A woman imagining a drawing of a cafe; Naming your LLC: Can you market it? Does it comply? Is it practical?

You’ve got a great business idea and a well-thought-out plan, but you still need a name for your new venture. While of course it’s important to pick a name that you like, there are also some practical considerations.

In this guide, we’re going to walk you through a few key considerations to give you a leg up and hopefully make the process of naming your LLC a bit less stressful.


MARKETING CONSIDERATIONS

If you can’t successfully market your business’ name, that probably means you won’t successfully market your business – and that’s a problem. There are a number of different strategies to choose from, but they all have the same end goal, which is to make people recognize your brand and want to buy your products or service.

Some of the best marketing plans tell potential customers at least a bit about who you are. That could be a core value your business prides itself in, a particular ingredient or material your products utilize, or countless other things. Tying one or two words related to what you do or how you do it into your name can be a good way to familiarize the public with your brand.

It’s smart to choose a name that is short, easy to remember, and easy to pronounce. You don’t want people to struggle recalling your company’s name or be unsure if it is pronounced one way or another. Try to keep it simple.

Domain Name

In addition to coming up with the right name, you’ll want a suitable web domain. Ideally, this URL will be the same as your company name or otherwise clearly recognizable, but there are other more-creative options if you decide to go that route.

Coming up with a domain name that isn’t already registered is sometimes a frustrating process, but keep in mind that they can sometimes be purchased from their current owners. If possible, choose a domain ending in .com. While there are numerous options available, this one is still generally viewed as the most professional one.

If you are ready to register your business with the state, but you can’t figure out the marketing or domain right this second, relax, you can consider using a DBA (doing business as) once you have it figured out.

LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS

Regardless of which state you form your LLC in, your company name must be unique. In addition, each state has specific regulations for what can and can’t be included in an LLC name. Here are some of the most common rules for naming LLCs:

  • It must include the words "limited liability company" or the abbreviation LLC (in some cases just LC).

  • It cannot use language that refers to other types of legal business entities, like "incorporated" or "corporation."

  • It cannot refer to specialized services like banking, medicine, or the law. If you are planning to start a business that offers these services, you should look into forming a Professional LLC (PLLC).

For your state's specific naming requirments, visit our free State LLC Formation guides.

DBA (DOING BUSINESS AS)

Another thing to consider is filing for a DBA. This allows your LLC to operate, or do business, under a different name. This can be useful in several different types of situations. For instance, if you would like to operate different businesses or offer separate services without having to form a separate business entity for each one.

A DBA can give you the flexibility to sell a popular product that you offer under a separate brand name or operate a separate website that might not quite match up with the name of your LLC. A DBA can act as a sort of Plan B if your LLC’s name no longer fits the business or you develop a new and/or improved marketing or branding plan over time.

For easy step-by-step instructions for filing a DBA, visit the How To File a DBA state guides created by our friends at Startup Savant.

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