5 Tips on Naming a Business

Posted by American Ltd on Sep 12, 2019 2:25:23 PM

Today we're revisiting a helpful post, co-written with insight from Incorporating Specialist Curt Sweltz, a 15+ year contributor here at American Incorporators.

78375487Deciding on a business name will be one of the most exciting steps of your incorporation process. Your business name is going to be one of the largest parts of your brand's identity. You can get creative – but try to have the name maintain some relevance to your service or product. You’ll want the name to have a meaning to the customer. At the same time, don’t be too generic. If you use something like “National Service Co.,” chances are it will be less distinguishable from companies with similar names.

After you’ve ironed out the creative details, you’ll have to worry about state level issues. To make things easier, keep these tips in mind when naming a business:

  • Your name may be available in one state, but not another.

Corporations and LLCs are “state-level filings.” This means that if a name is available in Iowa, this does not mean it will be available in Kentucky. When a name is submitted to your chosen state of formation, the state checks it only against the incorporated and LLC names in their state records.

  • Create 2-3 Distinct options.

Adding “s,” “the,” “and,” or “&” is not enough to distinguish a name and will rarely change the acceptability of a name. For example, if a company is named “Frank’s Lawn Service LLC,” the state will most likely reject a request to form “Frank’s Lawn Service LLC.” 

  • An LLC may be able to have the same name as a Corporation.

While this is not the case in all states, California will allow an LLC to have the same name as a Corporation, even if they are not related. So, Joe Jacobs from Arkansas can form “ABC LLC” in California, and Amy Alan in Ohio can in incorporate “ABC Inc.” even though the companies have no relation.

  • Decide on a Corporate Ending.

This can be simple. Most states will require your business to have a “corporate ending.” Corporations can typically decide from Incorporated, Inc., Corporation, and Limited. LLCs can use LLC or Limited Liability Company. Keep in mind, these corporate endings do vary by state, and some states will offer more options.

  • Take advantage of your resources.

American Incorporators offers a free name search service in all 50 states. Checking the name before submitting your filing will save you time and money. 

So while it may seem like an easy step, naming a business can become complicated. Take a look at these articles with suggestions and stories about naming your business:

                8 Mistakes to Avoid When Naming Your Business.

                Tips on Naming a Product 

Don’t forget, our free name search is always available. If you’d like to do more research, our State Specific Information Section also offers information on state requirements. Please post any questions or share some the business name blunders you’ve encountered!


Editor's Note: This post appeared previously on our blog.

Topics: Tips & Tricks, State Specific Information, Naming a Business

State Basics: Forming a Business in Alaska

Posted by Samantha Miller on Mar 21, 2014 8:34:00 AM

alaska resized 600This week, we’ll be covering the basics of forming a business in Alaska.

Like many states, Alaska requires that your corporation or limited liability company name be different from any registered business on file. Corporations and limited liability companies must also have a corporate name identifier. These identifiers include, “Corporation, Incorporated, Inc., and Corp.” For LLCs, you can use “Limited Liability Company or LLC.”

If you’re forming a corporation, Alaska does require that you list a specific business purpose on your Certificate of Incorporation. This means that you’ll have to provide a purpose for the general business you’ll be conducting. Alaska will require that you list one or more directors on the document. You must also be at least 19 years of age to form your business. Alaska’s standard number of shares is 1000, at no par value.

Limited Liability Companies are not required to list a specific purpose on their Articles of Formation. They do require that you list one or members on your document, and have an age requirement of 19 years or older.

Alaska may have annual filing requirements, often known as annual reports, for both corporations and limited liability companies. The filings may be due on a specific day or during a specific time and can cost varying amounts. For update annual requirement information, you can visit Alaska Secretary of State’s website.

If you want to learn more about current businesses in Alaska, take a look at Alaska Business Monthly.

Is your small business registered in Alaska? If we are acting as your registered agent, you can be featured in our Small Business Spotlight. Just comment your name and your company's name below!

Topics: State Specific Information, Limited Liability Companies, Corporations, Alaska

Where Do I Incorporate?

Posted by Samantha Miller on Aug 3, 2012 5:17:00 PM


“Where do I incorporate?” is a question that our incorporation specialists answer on a daily basis – and it’s a very good question to ask.

88583312 (1)The fastest answer is “it depends.” When you’re deciding to incorporate your business, there are many things for you to consider. We’ve compiled these 3 important questions for you to ask yourself when deciding what state is best for incorporating your business.

  • Where will you be conducting business?

We recommend incorporating your business in the state where you will be handling the majority of your business transactions. For example, if you live in Connecticut and will be conducting your business primarily in Connecticut, we would suggest Connecticut as your state of incorporation. Keep in mind that this is not a requirement, but is highly recommended to avoid any possible complications.

  • Where do you plan on opening your business bank account?

Some banks may require that your business be incorporated or qualified (defined here)  in that bank’s state. So, if you’ve incorporated your business in Texas, but you try to open the bank account in Oklahoma, your bank may deny your request to open a business bank account. This is not always the case. It is best to review this with your bank of choice prior to incorporation. Try asking them if they require you to be incorporated or formed in that state in order to open a bank account.

  • Are you familiar with the desired state of incorporation’s annual compliance requirements?

Nearly every state requires corporation and LLCs to pay a variation of an annual fee in order to keep your company in good standing. The name of this fee varies by state, but may be referred to as “Annual Report,” “Franchise Tax,” or “Annual Registration.” The following components of the annual compliance may vary as follows:

Price. Some states have annual fees as low as $9, while others can reach upwards of $500.

Due Date. Certain states only require you to file once every 2 years, while others require a yearly filing. You’ll find that the actual due date can vary from a specific date or month, to simply the anniversary of the company’s incorporation.

Filing Options. Many states are offering online filing options, but some states still require reports to be sent in through mail.

Our State Specific Information section is a great resource to find thorough information regarding incorporation requirements and annual report information. If you do your research and ask the necessary questions, you’ll successfully incorporate your business in your state of choice. These inspirational articles are great examples of entrepreneurial success across the nation:

John Pepper’s Boston Burrito Empire

Chicago Cupcake Makeover Success

Don’t hesitate to ask any questions or share your incorporation success story!

Topics: LLC Creation, Tips & Tricks, Corporation Creation, State Specific Information