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LLC Mini Course No. 2

creating a business nameCreating a Business Name

Choosing your business name is an important first step in starting a business.  Last time, we talked about setting up your LLC Articles of Organization in the state of your choice. It’s important you make the best choice, because there are lots of voices out there screaming for your dollars.

You saw how if you just relied on the “sales pitch” from the Nevada, Delaware, and other registered agents, you would pay twice what you need to in order to keep your LLC in place. You saw why the internet template sites, and even your lawyer, are often just doing a minimum job for you, leaving you vulnerable.

I am stunned that there is a seminar company running around talking thousands of people into forming LLCs in Utah.  For a mere $6,000 they will set up three LLCs in Utah for you.  I would love to hear their sales pitch, because I live in Utah, and there certainly isn’t anything about Utah laws that would give you an advantage to forming an LLC in Utah.  I have run onto dozens of people that have fallen for this scam, and I have to tell them to just stop sending any more money to Utah and cut their losses.

If you would like to learn how to do this better than any attorney, on your own with no legal experience needed, for a fraction of the cost, click here to watch my free training.

The Name

So, in creating a business name (if you haven’t already got one), how do you create one that will make your business a success in spite of the second-rate legal start you may have gotten if you already set up your LLC?

There Are Factors that Predictably Lead to Business Success

Let’s talk about creating a business name you’ll use for your company. To quote Shakespeare, “What’s in a name?” You can remember some names easier than others. That’s usually because you associate the name with the product.

My son was a team leader of one set of computer programmers in a company called 1-800-CONTACTS. I have heard the history of the naming of the company. It started out as a project for a college student to “design” a company.

A great deal of their success has resulted from creating a business name that worked. Early on in the company’s beginning, they realized that every time some other company did a major advertising campaign for contacts, the phones at 1-800-CONTACTS went nuts.

Even though somebody else was advertising, the people would pick up the phone and call 1-800-CONTACTS. Today, they have over 150 computer programmers and every day they sell a lot of contacts.  Everything is in a name and creating a business name can be everything.

Playing the Name Game

Names are protected under various laws, i.e., copyright and trademark laws primarily. Obviously, if you are going into the restaurant business, you better not choose McDonalds as your company name. You’ll get sued – guaranteed.

So, in creating a business name, how do you know which names you can use? You can check at the USPTO.gov site to see if the name you want is already being used. The government sites are kind of hard to use sometimes, so follow my instructions I share here in my free training.

You can use the same name as somebody else, as long as people won’t be confused. If you want to use McDonald’s as the name for your drain cleaning company, that’s probably OK. People don’t usually confuse McDonald’s hamburgers with sewer cleaning.

You could name it McDonald’s Drain Cleaning Service, but not McDonald’s Roto Rooter, because Roto Rooter is a trademarked name. So, you can’t use that as part of your name.

Check State Registries

Check with your secretary of state or the state business department to see if the name you want is available in your state. If you are filing your LLC in Nevada, the name would have to be available with the Nevada business registration department.  The name will also have to be available in the state where you are going to do business.  (So, exactly what is your advantage to doing your LLC in Nevada?)

All states have an online system for checking “name availability.” It’s pretty easy. If you want the name GoGetEm, LLC, and someone else has GoGetEm, Inc., you won’t be able to use that name.

Once you have found a name you like that’s available, you can reserve the name for a short period of time. But, it is so easy to file your LLC, I would usually advise that you just file your LLC immediately, instead of paying the reservation fees and going through the hassle.

The Domain

Cyberspace may be your biggest market today. I would advise you to check the availability of the name on the internet as well. Go to Whois.com, and you can see if the domain name is available. You can probably get the name you want as something other than a dot com, but you want the dot com.

Your company name doesn’t have to be the same as your domain name, but you need a domain name that you can use in cyberspace to advertise your goods and services. This is really important today.

As a little hint, the internet search engines don’t recognize numbers in the domain name. For example, newcar.com is the same to the search engines as newcar123.com. Here you are back to the 1-800-Contacts problem. If you do any advertising on your newcar123.com, it will be newcar.com that will get the business, because that’s what people will see first.

Don’t Get Sucked into the Name Game

Yep, the name can make or break a company. However, when creating a business name, don’t get suckered.  I’ve seen people get totally paralyzed just trying to find a name for their company. You can do market research, focus groups, pay the big ad agencies, and spend all your startup capital before you even start the business.

Get the best name you can, and then get started making money.

Sincerely,

Lee R. Phillips

PS – Have you watched my free webinar on LLCs? Watch it here now.

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