Naming Your Business
Choosing a business name is an important step in the business planning process. Not only should you pick a name that reflects your brand identity, but you also need to ensure it is properly registered and protected for the long term. Below are a few tips for naming your business:
- Check for Trademarks - Before you pick a name, use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark search tool to see if a similar name, or variations of it, is trademarked.
- Intention to Incorporate - If you intend to incorporate your business, you’ll need to contact the Missouri Secretary of State Filing Office to check whether your intended business name has already been claimed and is in use.
- Pick a Name that is Web Ready - In order to claim a website address or URL, your business name needs to be unique and available. View the Whois Lookup website to check whether a domain name (or web address) is available.
- Apply for Trademark Protection - A trademark protects words, names, symbols, and logos that distinguish goods and services. Your name is one of your most valuable business assets, so it’s worth protecting. Visit the Small Business Administration website to learn how to trademark your business name.
Naming your business is an important branding exercise, but if you choose to name your business as anything other than your own personal name then you’ll need to register it with the appropriate authorities. This process is known as registering your “Doing Business As” (DBA) name, or your Fictitious Name.
- If you choose to use a DBA name, you must register it with the Missouri Secretary of State.
- You will also need to register your DBA name when you apply for a Kirksville Business License.
See Registering Your Business below for more information.
Organizing Your Business
Small business owners have the same organizational options as large companies: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Legal Liability Company, S Corporation, and Cooperative. Each of these types of legal organizations has advantages and disadvantages. We encourage you to visit the Small Business Administration website or Missouri Source Link to learn more about these options.
Want legal advice? Talk with an attorney.
Registering Your Business
Have a name and organizational structure picked out? Here are your next steps:
- Register your business with Missouri Secretary of State
- Apply for an Employer Identification Number
- Register your business simultaneously with the Missouri Department of Revenue and the Missouri Department of Labor for various taxes.