Determine the availability of the business name you want to register by checking the South Carolina Secretary of State's "Search Business Filings" website. The name must be grammatically distinguishable from any other names anywhere in South Carolina. For example, if "Sweet Cookies Bakery" is already in existence in Greenville, you couldn't use "Sweet Cookies Bakery" even if your company only operates in Charleston. But, you could register "Sweet Brownies Bakery" regardless of where you do business because the name is grammatically distinguishable.
Reserve the name, if you're not ready to start your business, by filing an application to reserve a business name for your specific entity type. For example, if you had a limited liability company, use the Application to Reserve a Limited Liability Company Name form. Alternatively, if you have a limited partnership, use the Application to Reserve a Name -- Limited Partnership form. A name reservation is good for only 120 days and can't be renewed. But, if you're ready to incorporate or organize your business immediately, you don't need to file a name reservation first.
Register your business name by filing the formation documents for your business. The specific form for your company depends on your entity type, such as a domestic or out-of-state corporation, nonprofit, or limited liability company. The standard forms for each entity are available on the South Carolina Secretary of State's website. These legal documents create the foundation of your company, so the assistance of an attorney or online legal document service is recommended. When you submit the forms, you must also include the filing fee and a self-addressed stamped envelope.