Naming Your Company
Choosing The Right Name
Choose the name of your legal entity carefully. It is important for the chosen name to portray the image you want for your new company. Legally, the name you select must not be “deceptively similar” to any existing company, or must be “distinguishable on the record” of your state.
For example, if a company named “Glow LLC” exists in your state, you probably would not be allowed to name your business “Glove LLC”.
Sometimes the name you select will not be available. This is the reason we ask our clients to submit a second and a third choice of company name when forming a new entity. Additionally, most states require you to add the words “Limited Liability Company,” or the abbreviation “LLC” to the end of the name (for LLCs), or “Inc.” , “Corp.” or “Incorporate”, “Corporation”, etc. for corporations.
Sticking To Your Name
Once you choose the name (including the appendix, also called entity identifier) you should stick with it. For example, if your company name is “MyCompany Inc.” then all your official letterheads, correspondence, domain names, business cards, and any other company related documents and sales collateral would have to include the use of “MyCompany Inc.” as opposed to “MyCompany Corp” and such.
Reserving Your Business Name
If you are not ready to form your company, but want to protect the name you want to do business under, you can reserve that name with the Secretary of State in which you plan to form your business entity. The process of company name reservation is simple and very much similar to the process of forming the actual entity. Keep in mind that name reservations are often limited to a specific period of time, so you might need to renew the reservation or risk loosing the name you have reserved.
What if My Business Needs to Operate Under Several Names?
Your business entity can only have one name, however you can file as many assumed names (also called trade name, fictitious name, “Doing Business As“, DBA, or d.b.a.) as you like, as long as they are available in the state or county where you plan to use them.
Creating DBA is the easiest and most cost effective way to do business under a new business name without having to create an entirely new business entity. With DBA you can accept payments, advertise, and otherwise present yourself under that name.
Who Should Incorporate?
Doing Business The Right Way
In today’s complex and competitive world there is no greater way to protect yourself and your personal assets from the threat of lawsuits than by incorporating , whether you’re a small business owner with no employees, or run a serious business establishment with hundreds. Incorporating is also a simple and legal way to cut your taxes, protect your privacy, lower your audit risk, raise capital, and much more.
What is a “corporation”? Simply put, a corporation is a legal “person” created by state statute that can be used as your “shadow” for the purpose of running a business, or several businesses. This is a “person” whom you control completely, yet cannot be held accountable for its actions. Indeed, it is a powerful concept! For that reason roughly a million of corporations are formed each year, and that number is growing from year to year.
In other words, establishing a corporation can provide a simple and inexpensive foundation if you operate a business, contemplate starting a business, wish to protect your personal assets or are thinking about estate planning. It is true even if you have or plan to have a home based or part-time business!
How Can Incorporation Help Protect Assets?
We all know that in the United States the risk of a law suit is quite high, or, in other words, people love suing other people. Statistics show that an average person in the United States today goes through five lawsuits in his or her lifetime, with at least one being devastating.
Sheltering your assets from lawsuits is possible, and you must do so before a lawsuit strikes. In today’s world of political and financial interests, every person is vulnerable, including yourself, and you must recognize and come to grips with that reality. Only then will you have the sense of urgency necessary to take action to protect yourself and your assets from the virtually inevitable.
REMEMBER: The law deals quite harshly with those who seek last minute transfers of assets in an attempt to defraud creditors. That means its important to realize NOW that you might run into financial problems in the future, and take appropriate action to protect your assets, while at the same time enjoying the benefits of lowered tax liability.