So you’ve decided that you want to start a Delaware business entity but this is your first limited liability company and you’re not sure what to do. Fortunately, this guide will talk about the first few steps you need to take to start your delaware business entity. The first thing to think about before opening a Delaware company is to choose a suitable business name.
The LLC name doesn’t just need to be catchy, but it needs to also meet the naming requirement of Delaware, which includes being unique from other businesses. One way to ensure you’re not using the same name as another, is to run a Delaware LLC name search online, which we will cover in our article below.
Delaware Business Naming Guidelines
As mentioned above, the first thing to do before registering your Delaware business is to come up with a name that meets the guidelines set by the state. Here are a few requirements that Delaware businesses need to follow:
- Company name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.)
- Company name cannot include words that would confuse the limited liability company with a government agency such as the FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.
- Restricted words like Bank, Attorney, and University may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a licensed engineer, doctor or lawyer, to be part of your LLC.
Using Comma in LLC Name
Business entities are allowed to use or not use comma in their name. For example, if your LLC name is called Bella’s Bakes, you can file your Delaware entity as any of the following:
- Bella’s Bakes LLC
- Bella’s Bakes, LLC
Delaware LLC Name Must Be Distinguishable
Your limited liability company name in Delaware must be distinguishable upon the records of the Delaware Secretary of State. This simply means that your Delaware LLC name cannot be the same as any other existing businesses registered in the state of Delaware.
One way to confirm that your desired LLC name is not taken up by another entity is to run a Delaware Business Name Search discussed in the next section.
Delaware LLC Name Search
The Delaware Business Entity Database is maintained by the Delaware Secretary of State and holds a list of all business entities registered in Delaware. It’s recommended for you to run your desired business names through the system before filing to avoid getting rejected by the state.
Users can perform the Delaware business name search with the following categories:
- Entity Name
- File Number
For obvious reasons, the “Entity Name” search method is the most commonly used search option for many to look for an available name and to check if their preferred business name is available. To run a Delaware business name search with entity name, you’ll need to do the following:
- Enter the desired business name.
- Click on “Search”.
The website will search through its database and generate a list of all businesses and companies related to the entity name you’ve entered. You can then further filter the results by using the All, Active, Cancelled, or Dead status filter option.
When performing a search, you do not need to enter phrases like LLC, Corp, or other naming designations as the website will produce information for every type of entity registered with the state.
Alternatively, you can also search for businesses in Delaware by keying in their file number. All you need to do is to enter the desired File Number and click on Search for the website to generate results.
The Delaware business name search site provides users with additional information on businesses with the following information:
- File Number
- Entity Name
- Entity Kind
- Residency (Domestic or Foreign)
- Registered Agent Details
Delaware state is unique in that they do not provide detailed information for free. The state imposes a $10 fee for detailed information on business status and a $20 fee for information like franchise tax assessment, current filing history, and more.
Delaware Business Name Search Status
Just like in every other state, Delaware handles hundreds of business entity registration every day, which means that more and more businesses are being opened.
While this could be potentially good news for the economy, the same can’t be said for business owners as they will need to be creative to come u with an LLC name that’s unique and distinguishable from the thousands of other companies in Delaware.
If you’re stuck and can’t seem to come up with suitable Delaware LLC names, what you can do is to actually scroll through Delaware’s Business Entity Database and check for company names that are already expired.
If you’re planning to open up a bakery, you could just type in the word “Bakery” in the search bar and the website will generate a list of Delaware businesses with the word “Bakery” in them.
From there, you can look through the list and identify any expired name that could suit your business. In the event you do find a suitable name, it’s best to give the state a call to confirm on its availability to avoid running the risk of a rejected application.
Checking that your desired entity name is available on the database is now all you need to do. Your desired LLC name might already have a registered trademark associated. This is why it’s a good idea for business owners to also run a trademark search of their desired Delaware LLC name through the Trademark Electronic Search system before filing the application.
The trademark search should be performed for your desired business name, slogan, and logo through both Delaware Trademark Search and US Patent and Trademark Office’s electronic records. This might seem tedious to some but it’s an important step to ensure that you’re not infringing on any federally trademarked intellectual property rights.
One thing to keep in mind though, is that just because it’s been trademarked doesn’t mean you absolutely cannot use the business name. You just need to check who is using the name, the industry they’re in. as well sa where they’re located.
Reserve Business Entity Name
Now that you’ve decided on a suitable business name that’s unique, distinguishable, and available, you can choose to reserve the LLC name with Delaware Department of State’s Division of Corporations for 120 days. The name reservation application ust be filed online or by mail.
When reserving your business name, you will have to pay a filing fee. Checks must be made out to the “Secretary of State.” You’ll also need to pay a filing fee of $75 for reserving your name and checks must be made out to the “ Secretary of State”.
Delaware Division of Corporations
401 Federal Street – Suite 4
Dover, DE 19901
Other Considerations and What To Do Next?
After reserving your Delaware LLC name, you can now continue to research deeper before finalizing your business names. Some important things to look into include social media and domain name check so that you have full, unrestricted use of your desired business name across multiple platforms.
Check Domain Name Availability
As mentioned earlier, more and more businesses are opening and many more also understand the importance of a strong online presence. This means that many businesses will be fighting for available domain names that best fit their companies.
When it comes to available names on the internet, you need to remember that you’re not just fighting for a domain name with businesses in Delaware, but you’re also fighting with everyone else int he world who are trying to get the best domain name for their website so that customers can search them easily.
For this, you can consider using Namechkr and GoDaddy tools to help you run a domain name availability check. The upside to using such tools is that they will offer useful alternatives for you to consider in case your desired domain name has been taken up by another.
Check Social Media Name Availability
Now that you’re certain that your preferred domain names are available, the next thing to look at is your business’ social media handle. In this digital era, it is quite impossible to deny the importance of social media. Here are a few tips for maintaining a business social media page:
- You should continuously maintain an active social media page even if your business is small compared to other businesses outside. This is because social media is an incredibly important tool that offers businesses the opportunity to engage with their customers. In fact, a good social media page may even help you do the difficul task of boosting organic presence online, attract potential customers, and even create awareness among the community.
- When running a social media handle check, make sure to perform the search across different social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. You want to make sure that you use the same social media handle for different platforms to avoid any confusion among your customers.
- Business owners have the choice of running a search of their desired business name on each major site one by one or you can choose to use Namechkr site that will help you perform a name search across multiple platforms at the same time.
- If you do find a name that’s available, it’s recommended for you to register an account with that name even if you have not had plans to set up the business page yet. This will ensure that your desired social media handle does not get taken up before you need it.
Register Your Delaware Business Entity
After confirming that your desired business name is available in Delaware and it does not carry any trademark, you can proceed to have your business entity registered with the state. Registering your Delaware LLC can be done online by yourself, however you need to keep in mind that there may be a lot of paperwork and filing involved.
This is why many businesses opt to hire companies like ZenBusiness, Incfile, and Northwest Registered Agent to file their Delaware LLC for them.
Register Company Tax ID/EIN with the IRS
Every company will have their own “ social security number” known as the Company Tax ID or EIN. The EIN is important and needs to be registered with the IRS for tax purposes. Fortunately, the EIN registration process is straightforward and can be performed by yourself online.
Designing a Company Logo
Business names are not the only thing that’s important, you also need to come up with a unique and memorable company logo that reflects your business values and delivers the right impression to your customers. This is why it is important that you pair your LLC name with a well-thought logo to leave a lasting impression.
We understand that not everyone has the artistic skills or creativity to come up with a logo design themselves. Fortunately, Fiverr is a very useful website that allows you to connect to freelancers out there where you can engage to get a logo done in as short as 24 hours.
Prepare a Business Plan
A business plan is very important for companies – especially businesses seeking for investors – as it a well written business plan will detail out the company’s plans and future goals.
This is an important document that will help you organize ideas and even create a sense of accountability. It’s also recommended for businesses that form partnerships to have their operating agreement clearly written by a professional to avoid future misunderstandings.
Open a Business Bank Account
Last on our list today is for you to open up a business bank account. While you may know of certain companies using their own personal account for business transactions, this practice is highly discouraged. It’s best to separate personal and business finances. By doing so, you can also help your company build business credibility with the banks for easier loan application in the future.
While it’s important for you to choose a suitable LLC business name that accurately reflects company values and meet Nevada naming requirements, there are also other important considerations to look into such as domain name, trademark, and social media handle availability.
You will then need to look into coming up with a memorable company logo, business plan, and opening a bank account after formalizing your LLC.
Starting a business correctly doesn’t have to be difficult. With over 15 years of experience consulting new businesses and start ups, Matthew is probably the best person to help you set a strong foundation for your business.