Choosing a Business Name and Entity Type
Now that I’m about ready to register my business, I need to choose a name for my business. I have a name in mind but in Cindy Johnson’s guest post Picking the Right Name for Your Business, I learned that not all business names are created equal and some might even hurt your chances of success.
Reviewing her blog post and several other articles online, here are some key characteristics I found that help make a successful business name:
- Not too long or too short: Names that are too long will be hard to remember; names that are too short likely won’t have a corresponding domain name available.
- Clear meaning: Like Cindy pointed out in her post, the name should give clear explanation of what the business does. “Frank’s Auto” is a lot more descriptive than just “Frank’s”.
- Unique and memorable: A unique name will help your customers remember you and also not get you confused with another business.
With those tips in mind, the business name I chose is Valkyrie Studios. My name is pretty memorable and is part of my brand as an artist and ‘studios’ indicates I will be doing something creative.
After deciding on a name, the next step is to make sure it’s available.
- Domain Name: There are several websites where you can search to see if your preferred domain name is available (examples: www.register.com; www.domain.com; www.godaddy.com). Remember, even if your business name isn’t available as a .com, there are other extensions you could use instead such as .co, .org, and .us.
- Utah.gov Business Search: Make sure there isn’t another business already registered in your state with the same business name.
- Trademark Search Tool: Use this web search to make sure you’re not infringing on any other companies.
- Social Media: You don’t need to be on all the social media platforms out there at once but you might consider claiming your business name on any platforms you think you might eventually use.
Choosing an Entity Type
So, I chose my name and I made sure it was available online and with the state of Utah. Next, I need to choose a business entity type.
For most people, our business consultant recommends registering as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). This separates your finances from your business’ finances and gives you added protection if you run into legal troubles. Utah allows businesses to register as an LLC even when there is only one owner. NOTE: This entity type is not recognized on a federal level.
Another options is Sole Proprietorship, which is the most basic and inexpensive type of entity but provides the least protection. There are also Partnerships, S-Corporations, and Corporations. You can learn more about the different entity types here.
For my purposes, I could probably go with a sole proprietorship but it only costs a little more to file as an LLC and I believe it is worth it for the added protection.
Next Step: Register My Business
I have a business name. I know what entity type I want to use. Next step, actually register my business. I will be scheduling an appointment with Deb Bilbao, our business consultant, to walk me through the process. A SCORE mentor or SBDC consultant can also help you get registered.
See you next week with more information on registering your business!