Make sure your business name is available
Before you attempt to register your business name, you want to perform your due diligence and ensure it’s available. There are a few different ways you can check to ensure no one else has reserved that name.
The easiest way is to do a quick domain search to see if it’s available. You can check GoDaddy to see if the domain name is available to purchase. It’s also a good idea to do a Google search to see if you come across other businesses with that name.
Next, you can do a business name search in your state. Assuming all these come back clear, you can do a federal trademark search to see whether someone else has trademarked that name.
Register your business with the state
Now you’re going to choose your business structure and register your business with the state. For instance, you could set up an LLC, a partnership, or a corporation.
The state you live in and the type of entity you’re forming will dictate the paperwork needed to get started. Your best bet is to check your Secretary of State’s website to see what you need to do.
Apply for your EIN
Once you’ve registered your business with the state, you need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). An EIN is a separate tax number for your business, and you can apply on the IRS’s website.
It’s a good idea to take the extra step and apply for a federal trademark.
You’ll start the application by selecting your business entity. For instance, if you choose an LLC, you’ll provide the following information about your business:
- Legal business name.
- Number of members.
- The state where you’re incorporated.
- Managing member information.
- The reason you’re applying for an EIN.
- The date your entity began.
Secure your domain name
Now that your business is legally set up, you’ll want to secure your online domain name. If the business name is available but the domain is taken, you have a few different options available.
One thing you could do is choose another variation of your business name. For instance, Peloton’s business name is Peloton Interactive, LLC. But the domain name is onepeloton.com.
If you use GoDaddy, you can also request that a domain broker contact the owner of your desired domain name and negotiate a deal for you to buy it. However, there is a fee for this service, and there’s no guarantee GoDaddy will make contact with the owner.
Register a DBA
Under certain circumstances, you may want to set up a DBA (“doing business as”) registration. Companies set up a DBA when the name they’re doing business as is different from the legal business name.
You’ll fill out the form to apply for a DBA in the state your business is located in. And multiple companies can use the same DBA in a single state, so you have more leeway as to the name you choose.
Considering applying for a trademark
It’s a good idea to take the extra step and apply for a federal trademark. A trademark protects your business name at the national level, not just the state level. If you have a trademark, this prevents other companies from using your business name.
If someone does use your business’s name, they’ll be subject to trademark infringement laws. You can apply online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office to get started.