Register Your Business Name

When I first started this website, I really had no intentions of doing anything more than sharing information. Unforeseen events have pushed me to consider staring a small business of my own. As I work through the steps of starting a small business, I’ll take you all along on the journey, starting with how to register your business name.

Choosing a Business Name

Target Market Means Consumer TargetingBesides having a business idea, you’ll want to start by choosing a business name. Your business name is key to your branding. You’ll want to choose a name that resonates with your target market. Though I encourage you to be creative, the name should confuse your potential customers, nor should it be too long. So, what is creative?

I’ve seen people combine their children’s names to for their business. Others might come up with cool acronyms. For example, AWTY (pronounced like the car Audi) stands for “are we there yet.” People use their initials and may even include their own name.

I chose Backbone America for a few reasons. 1) It represents my target audience. 2) I’d thought of Backbone of America, but didn’t like the preposition. Backbone America was short and sweet. 3) The domain name was available. After all, the original purpose of Backbone America was to share information with small business owners and entrepreneurs. 4) I did a quick name search (we’ll talk about that next) and the name was available.

I have to admit… I’m more on the logical side than creative. However, it works. Backbone America won me over.

Do a Name Search

Search businessI mentioned the name search when choosing a name. Registering your business name happens at the state level. However, states want your name to be unique. You can submit your application without checking, but if someone else has the name you’ve chosen, there’s a good chance your application will be rejected.

You can increase the possibility of having your application processed successfully by simply doing a business name search. Well, how does one go about doing that? In most states, registration records are kept with the Secretary of State. However, a couple are located with the Lt. Governor. You’ll find a a directory of services here. Choose the Business/Corporation Search link under the state you plan to open your business.

Fill out the Appropriate Form

Endless workOnce you’ve done your search and found your name available, it’s time to fill out the appropriate form(s). Depending on your state, there may be different forms based upon the business entity you choose. The main types of business entities you can register are Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, and Corporation. There’s another type called a Partnership, but typically the structure is based upon one of the first three I mentioned. I’m not going to make any suggestions here. However, I refer you to the article I wrote on choosing a legal structure for your business. My particular state has an easy one-page form regardless of the business type. However, some business may need to submit supplemental documents, depending on the plan.

Once you’ve filled out the forms correctly, you’re ready to file!

In some states, simply registering your business is all you need to do to start operating. In the next article, we’ll talk about applying for a Tax Identification Number.


What concerns do you have about starting a business? Perhaps I’ll answer it in an upcoming post.