Most entrepreneurs understand the importance of a business name to their branding. New business owners spend sleepless nights brainstorming the perfect name. But after you’ve picked a name, what’s the next step to making sure everything is legal?
The most important reason to register your business name is because that’s the law. Generally speaking, the public needs to know who is behind a company. The one exception is when a sole proprietor conducts business with his or her own name; so if Jane Doe runs an accounting business as Jane Doe, there’s no need to register that name.
The other key reason to register a business name is to prevent anyone else from using it. After you’ve spent months or years building your brand, the last thing you want is someone else to come into the market and start using the same or a very similar name. When it comes to protecting your brand, you’ll have to decide if it’s important to claim your name in all 50 states, or if your own state is enough.
There are three key paths to registering and protecting your business name. Here we’ll break down the differences so you can decide which route is best for you.