Can I Name a Company Without Registering for an LLC?

By Rob Jennings J.D.

The limited liability company, or LLC, has become a popular form of business organization in recent years due to its flexibility, simplicity and provision of limited liability for members. While many entrepreneurs may choose to organize their new enterprises as LLCs, it is not necessary to do this to name and register a new company.

Select a Name

Before investing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in signage, stationery and business cards, a business owner should check with the Secretary of State or county clerk to ensure that the intended name for her business is not already registered to another entity. Not only can this lead to confusion among potential customers, but it also creates the potential for trademark or copyright infringement lawsuits that may not occur until well after the owner has invested time and energy into building brand equity in her business.

Decide on a Business Form

The limited liability company is only one corporate form that an entrepreneur may choose when starting a new business and it may not be the best one for all enterprises. Sole proprietorships, limited partnerships, general partnerships and corporations all offer different advantages and drawbacks in terms of limited liability, documentation and taxation. New business owners should confer with an experienced business attorney and a certified public accountant prior to making a decision as to a business form to ensure that their selection maximizes liability and tax benefits while minimizing operating costs.

Ready to start your LLC? Start an LLC Online Now

Register the Business with the Appropriate Authorities

After selecting an available name and a suitable corporate form, register the new business with the Secretary of State or his equivalent. Each state has different filing requirements, which vary depending on the form of the business. Depending on the state, the owner of a sole proprietorship may need to register a certificate of assumed name. State law may require the sole proprietor to file for such a certificate with the Secretary of State or with the Register of Deeds Office in each county where he does business. This helps ensure that members of the public can ascertain the identity of the business owner if necessary.

Obtain All Necessary Permits and Business Licenses

After registering the new company's name with all appropriate authorities, the owner should check to see if her state requires businesses to apply for privilege licenses from the State Department of Internal Revenue. In addition to a privilege license, the owner may need a business license from the county or municipality in which she is operating. Depending on the nature of the activity and the zoning classification of the neighborhood where she has her principal place of business, she may also need to apply for a special use permit from the city council or county commissioners.

Ready to start your LLC? Start an LLC Online Now
How to Open a Sole Proprietorship


Related articles

Does a Single Member LLC Need to Register to Do Business in Another State?

Organizing your business as an limited liability company provides the owners, known as members, with liability protection offered by state law. When you register your business as an LLC, it gives you legal authority to conduct business in the state in which your register. If your LLC, whether it is a single-member or multi-member LLC, starts transacting business in another state, you typically must register in that state as well. However, not all operations require a business to register, but LLCs that do not register as required can face penalties.

How to Register a Farm Business in Illinois

When starting a farm in Illinois, you must take several steps to ensure that your business is properly registered and licensed. The registration process includes selecting an appropriate business entity, filing registration forms, applying for farming licenses and planning for tax obligations.

How to Get a Sole Proprietorship

For an independent entrepreneur, a sole proprietorship is a common business structure because it is relatively simple to set up and allows for a great deal of flexibility in management. As a sole proprietor, you are personally liable for the business, but you also retain all of the business's profits. Although there are some similarities for all sole proprietorships, business formation is determined by state law where the sole proprietorship is formed.

LLCs, Corporations, Patents, Attorney Help

Related articles

Difference in Business License & Registering a Business

Starting a business can be complicated. In addition to hiring employees, finding a location and establishing clientele, ...

What Does DBA Mean in Business?

In the business world, DBA - which stands for "doing business as" - is a vitally important acronym to know. It ...

Cancelling a DBA

A "doing business as" name, also known as a trade name and a fictitious business name, is the name under which a ...

Opportunities of Sole Proprietorships

A sole proprietorship is a simple form of business in which the owner is in business for himself as an individual ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED