Tips on how to register your business
After considering the pros and cons of starting a business, you have finally started a new business. Congratulations, now it is time to settle for the right name for your business. Once you have shortlisted on a few names ensure that these names are available. There are online tools to check for the availability of your business name. Now it is time to register the name with the state and then with the federal government depending on the nature of your business
Checking for name availability
If you want to safeguard your business from legal hassles it is important to register your business and give it a legal status. Check the state database of company names to ensure that your business name is unique. It is also good practice to check that your business name is available at the federal level. Free tools are offered by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to check for name availability. In order to ensure that you do not infringe on other’s trademark it is important to conduct a nationwide trademark search. Comprehensive tools are available online to conduct searches in the common law and county registrars.
Registering with the state
Business name is registered with the Secretary of State office. It is the duty of the secretary of state office to check that your business name is unique from other business names already registered. By registering with this office no one else can use your business name. If you are not forming an LLC then you can register using Doing Business As (DBA) name at your county government offices. Any business that crosses the boundaries of your state needs to check out trademark protection. Opening a bank account also becomes difficult if you do not have a business name. Remember that if your business name is not registered you cannot enforce any contract you sign. Getting the fictitious name registered can give your business protection from competitors misusing your name. Leaving your business name unregistered gives scope for others to make your name their own.
Registering a trademark
Registering a trademark can protect your business from common law marks or unregistered marks. Trademark can be sold as a corporate asset. Simply file an application with USPTO with a registration fee. The process will take anywhere between six months to a year. Conduct a search online to check if the trademark name is available else you may stand to lose your fee. It is a good thought to get a trademark for your small business especially if it is a local service business. This way competitor cannot use your business name to confuse customers. In case you plan to sell your products and services outside the state boundaries or internationally it is best to obtain federal trademark protection. It would be easier to defend your business name if it is registered.
Since you invest time and money into your business ensure that it is protected properly. Registering your business can go a long way in giving your business the right identity. If you are serious about developing your brand, the first step towards it would be to register your business name.