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coming up with a business name is one of the most important steps in forming a business your name affects your branding and your image as a company let's get you started on the right path to picking a solid business name in Virginia Virginia is an excellent place to start a new business with a strong economic climate and the second-highest ease of doing business in the country every state has slightly different requirements for naming a business follow along closely to learn the required steps for naming a business in the state of Virginia in this video we will go over how to name your business based on your business structure branding and brainstorming business names and how to check your names availability be sure to ask yourself the 7 essential questions we provide before you make this critical business decision 1 choose a business structure you'll need to determine your company's business structure before deciding a name as different business structures have different naming requirements there are formal business structures like LLC's and corporations and informal business structures like sole proprietorships and general partnerships in this first section we'll talk about the naming requirements of each informal business structures if you are operating under a sole proprietorship your company must operate under the surname of the owner in order to use a different name the owner must file a DBA or doing business as also known as an assumed name fictitious name or trade name general partnerships are similar to sole proprietorships with the difference being that partnerships consist of two or more people a general partnerships name must consist of the surnames of all the partners like a sole proprietorship if you want to operate under a different name you need to file for a DBA LLC or limited liability companies if your company is an LLC your name must include the phrase limited liability company or one of its abbreviations LLC or LLC with a period in between each letter restricted words such as attorney law office etc may require additional paperwork and may also need a licensed professional to be a part of the LLC your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with the government agencies such as FBI Treasury or State Department here are some state specific requirements for Virginia LLC's your name cannot contain any word abbreviation or combination of characters the states or implies the LLC is a corporation or a limited partnership your name cannot include the words bank or trust unless the LLC will be engaged in the banking or Trust Company business or it is clear from the context of the remaining words that it will not be engaged in such business your name cannot include the words engineer architecture or land surveying or any variations of those words unless the LLC will be lawfully engaged in those services or it is clear from the context of the remaining words that it will not conduct such business the words United States national federal and Reserve may not be included in the name of a business entity that is engaged in the banking loan building and loan brokerage factor egde insurance and dignity savings or trust business corporations if your business is a corporation or a c-corp your name must include the words corporation company incorporated limited or an abbreviation of any of these here are some state specific requirements for virginian corporations your name cannot include any word abbreviation or combination of characters that states or implies the corporation as an LLC or a limited partnership your name cannot falsely imply that the corporation conducts business as a bank Trust Company insurance company or public service companies such as a railroad telephone company utility for water or sewer company your name cannot include the words bank or trust unless the corporation will be engaged in the banking or Trust Company business or it is clear from the context of the remaining words that it will not be engaged in such business your name cannot include the words engineer architecture or land surveying or any variation of these words unless the corporation will be lawfully engaged in those services or it is clear from the context of the remaining words that it will not conduct such business the words United States national federal and Reserve may not be included in the name of a business entity that is engaged in the banking loan building and loan brokerage factor egde insurance indemnity savings or trust business when choosing your business structure you may hear the term S corp which isn't actually a business structure but a type of tax structure used by an LLC or corporation if your business is taxed as an S corp follow Virginia's name your for the business structure you chose for all business structures your name must be distinguishable from other existing businesses in Virginia a couple examples of names not being distinguishable would be Auto Store Inc versus Auto Store LLC the only difference in the name is the business structure changing the words the and or a in front of your business name does not make it distinguishable for example the auto store Inc auto store Inc and an auto store Inc are not distinguishable from each other using an ampersand instead of and or vice versa such as Smith and Smith is not different enough from Smith and Smith using an ampersand your business name can't have words that sound identical to another business with a different spelling boys Inc with an S and boys Inc with a Z are not distinguishable to branding and brainstorming when picking your business name you'll also want to consider whether your legal business name will be your brand name or if you will have a separate brand name your legal name is what is listed on your formation documents this includes words required based on your business structure such as LLC Corp or company your brand name is the name you use to market your company and the name that clients and customers see in use when deciding what to name your business decide on your branding strategy using these three options do you want your business's legal name to also be your brand name such as Tiffany and Co do you want your legal business name to be different from your brand name hewlett-packard is HP do you want to have a legal business name and several different brand names Gap Inc is their legal business name but their brand names are GAAP Old Navy and Banana Republic while you're thinking about how to brand your business start brainstorming some business names you should start by brainstorming at least four to five potential names the goal is to come up with a few catchy and creative names then check to see if they are available a good brainstorming session should last 15 to 45 minutes and it's important that you're comfortable think snacks water a comfy place to sit and your favorite pen use a timer and don't stop till it goes off if you need more time take a 15-minute break walk around a bit grab some more water and start again after doing some brainstorming and coming up with a list of a few business names to choose from ask yourself these q
Thanks for your comment Eladia Briar, have a nice day.
- Dwight Castelli, Staff Member
welcome to how to register a business name in Virginia presented by starting your business comm this video is a part of a series of videos on starting a business in Virginia after deciding on the legal entity of your business it's time to decide on a name while it's not required we would recommend checking to see if there is a trademark protecting the name you want to use here's a quick guide on how to check first go to the United States Patent and Trademark Office at uspto.gov when you get to USPTO click on trademarks you can learn more about trademarks here but to search names that are currently trademarked click on the search trademark database next click on the basic word mark search in the search term field type in the business name you want to use in this example let's enter mr. handyman and click Submit there are a number of listings that come up there are a few causes of concern that would likely want you to have a legal professional review before it register your name there are names that include mr. handyman along with some additional words that are probably safe to use the names in this column that are dead are likely safe too as the previous registrant did not renew their name now here is a live listing for mr. handyman to be concerned about you can click on that listing to see more information in some cases a name that is trademarked can still be used since trademarks are grouped in categories and what the USPTO calls classes in this example mr. handyman is registered under home repair and general maintenance services within the goods and services category you could potentially register mr. handyman if your business operated outside of home repair and general maintenance services if you do a search and the name you want is registered you may want to consider getting professional help if you don't you may invest a lot of time and money establishing a business name that you may have to later abandon once the trademark search is out of the way the process of registering a business name will vary depending on the type of organization chosen for sole proprietorships or partnerships there are two options one is to operate under the owners full first and last name like John Smith this type of name does not need to be registered most businesses will however want to operate under a trade name like John Smith's handyman service mr. handyman and so on the term trade name is sometimes referred to as fictitious business name doing business as DBA or assumed name applying for this type of name allows your business to legally operate and transact business with a name other than your personal name to register a business name for a sole proprietorship or partnership file a fictitious trade name with the clerk of the circuit court in each county or city or business is to be conducted the fee to file varies but is usually around ten dollars to register a name for a corporation or LLC you must have a unique name at the time of filing to check the availability of names visit the Virginia State Corporation Commission website while nobody else can form a corporation or LLC with your business name in Virginia someone else could still illegally use your business name regardless of which entity you use to register your business name registering does little to stop anyone from using your name to keep others from using it consider getting a trademark for more information about registering your business name in Virginia check out starting your business com if you like this video on how to register a business name in Virginia be sure to watch the others and the starting a business in Virginia series starting the business can be difficult but you don't have to do it on your own the starting your business dot-com site has lots of information to help get your business started and we have experienced business advisors ready to answer your questions at no cost
Thanks Irene your participation is very much appreciated
- Dwight Castelli
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I've studied philosophy of music at Kettering University in Flint and I am an expert in african history. I usually feel hopeful. My previous job was pathologist (md) I held this position for 2 years, I love talking about knife collecting and gymnastics. Huge fan of T.I. I practice sailing and collect banknotes.
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