No matter which industry you belong to or what type of business you have, you are definitely aware of how important branding is. That is how you introduce yourself to everyone. It is also the name that everyone remembers and uses to search for your business if they want to avail your services or your products. As more and more businesses come into existence, branding is becoming more and more difficult. Business owners spend days and even months trying to come up with the perfect name for their business. But the question that arises is that once you have picked out a name for your brand, what do you do with it? How do you ensure that it is legal and how do you ensure that no one else uses that name?
Reasons for Registering your Company
The most obvious reason to register a company is that you are required by the law to do that. When people want to interact with a company or with a brand, they want to know who is behind it. There are exceptions of course. One of the exceptions is that you are a sole proprietor and you have a company that is under your own name. This means that if you are Mark Johnson then you are conducting your business under Mark Johnson. In such a case you don’t need to register your name but it is better if you do.
The other reason why companies register their names is so that other businesses and companies cannot use that same name for any reason. It will be really unfortunate if you spend years and years building your brand name and then later find out that someone has started using the same name or a name that is very similar. We all want to protect our brands and make sure that they stay unique so that they can become memorable. That is the reason why you should register your company’s name as soon as you can.
How to Register Your Company
There are different ways that you can accomplish this task. Here we will discuss three of those ways with you. Depending on your preference and your business, you can choose which the right way is for you.
File a Doing Business as (DBA)
If you are not running your business under your name then the best way to register it is to file a DBA (Doing Business As) with your state or city. Another name that is used for a DBA is Fictitious Business Name.
Filing for a DBA is the best way to register your company without having to come up with a formal entity like a corporation or any other way. For example, if your name is John Doe and you are running a business by the name of “John Doe’s Bakery” then you don’t need to file for a formal entity, you just need to file a DBA for “John Doe’s Bakery” and you will be good to go. This information is going into the public record and people who want to find out who is running the business can easily find that out.
Being a sole proprietor is not the only reason for filing a DBA. There are other reasons as well. Another reason why you would have to file a DBA is if you have a company under one name and want to do business under another name. For example, if your company is called “John Doe’s Company LLC” and you are doing business, but you also want to start a business under the name of “Another John Doe Company” then you will have to file a DBA for the second name.
Create an official business structure
Another reason is when you want to create an LLC corporation for your business. When you do that you automatically register your company’s name with the state or any other authority. You will have to submit an application for your LLC corporation and when you do that, the first thing that the authorities will do is to check if anyone else has a name that is exactly like yours or similar. If that is the case, you will have to change your company’s name as that name already exists. Otherwise, your application will be approved and no other business will be allowed to conduct their business under that name. Just make sure that you are doing business strictly in that state or city. The law might not protect you globally. If you think that you have to conduct business all over the country then what you need is a trademark. People who want to do business on a national or global level or people who want to do business online get their company names trademarked so that they won’t have any problem no matter where they work.
Get a Trademark
Businesses nowadays are going global. Thanks to the internet, there are no more boundaries and businesses can conduct their activities throughout the globe. You could be sitting in Sydney and you might have customers in America, Asia, or anywhere else. That is why most businesses nowadays are going for a trademark. It is not mandatory to get a trademark for your company’s name. If you are using that name for a while then according to the “common law” you are entitled to keep that name. So why are companies rushing for a trademark? What does it give you that “common law” cannot give you?
Well, if you have a trademarked company name then you will enjoy stronger protection than what the common law can provide you. For example, if you know someone who has started a Facebook page, an Instagram or a Twitter handle with your company’s name then you can easily approach the law and recover your property.
Do Your Research
Whether you want to create an LLC or you want to go for a trademark, you will have to do your research diligently before selecting a name for your company. If you don’t do a comprehensive search for the name that you are trying to enter the market with, you might have to face defeat. That is the case when someone is already doing business with that name. Your application will be rejected on the spot.
Doing your due diligence and finding out all the legal aspects of running a business is very important to you as not doing that might create problems for you later on. One of the things that you have to do is to legalize your name so that you can protect it if such a time arises. Otherwise, you might do all the hard work just to have it taken away by someone else.