Why is Doing a Georgia LLC Name Search Important?
Forming a limited liability company requires business owners to first come up with a unique company name that’s not only unique and can be distinguished from other businesses, but also adheres to the Georgia business name guidelines.
Our article today will discuss the Georgia business name guidelines you’ll need to follow for your business name as well as how to perform a business name search to check that the name you’ve selected is available.
Georgia Business Name Guidelines
While the state offers business owners some flexibility over their choice of company name, there are still a few requirements that businesses need to comply with when it comes to their name. You need to make sure that you choose a business name that complies with Georgia naming requirements while still being easily searchable by potential customers.
- 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 Georgia LLC 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 doctor or lawyer, to be part of your limited liability company.
Georgia Business Name Search
Georgia Corporations division maintains a database of corporations that are registered in the state. This is where you can conduct a search to check if your desired company name is already taken by another. It’s recommended to confirm your desired name’s availability to save you the time and effort of re-applying in the event your Georgia LLC application gets rejected.
The Georgia business name search is performed through the Georgia Business Entity Search website and are searchable by the following criteria:
- Business Name
- Control Number
- Registered Agent Name
- Officer Name
The search option is further categorized with “Starts With,” “Contains,” and “Exact Match” are options.
A business name search is the most popular search method for obvious reasons. Business owners can key in partial or full names to generate results on a list of related entity names. Below are the steps to conduct a business name search in Georgia’s database:
- Enter the name of the desired business name in the search bar.
- Click Search
The website will generate results of each entity name with the following information:
- Business Name
- Control Number
- Business Type
- Principal Office Address
- Registered/Designated Agent Name
Another way to search for business entities in Georgia is by keying in their control number with the following steps:
- Click on “Search”
- The Database will generate results for any Control Numbers entered.
Registered Agent or Officer Name
You can also search for business entities by looking up a registered agent or officer name with the following steps:
- Click on Search by Registered Agent or Officer section.
- Key in the first or last name of the agent or officer.
- Click on “Search”
The Database will then generate results for any business entities registered by the agent or officer.
You can also search for Georgia business entities with their trademark name as well. The website lets you filter the search with the following options:
- Registration Number
- Mark Name
- Registrant Name
- Class of Goods
- Class of Services
- Identification of Services
- Mark Description
You only need to fill in one category in order for the site to generate results for trademarks registered in Georgia.
Georgia Corporation Name Search Status
The sheer number of businesses out there means that it can get tricky to come up with a unique company name that’s not already taken. One way to get ideas on suitable names for your company is to run a search through Georgia’s database and look out for company names that are already expired.
For example, if you’re planning to open up a music shop, you could try entering “Music” into the search bar for the website to generate a list of business names with the word “Music” in them. From there, you can check for entity names that are still active or expired. You can consider taking on an expired entity business name that suit your business but it’s best to confirm the name’s availability by giving them a call.
Despite being available in the Georgia business entity database, your desired name might already have a registered trademark. It is therefore recommended that you do a trademark search through the Trademark Electronic Search System before filing your company name to prevent future headaches and costly litigation.
It’s advisable to run a trademark search on your business name, associated slogans, and logos through both Georgia Trademark Search and US Patent and Trademark Office’s electronic records just to ensure that they’re not federally trademark registered either.
However, just because your desired company name has been trademarked does not necessarily mean you cannot use it. You need to know who is using the name, the industry they’re in, and where they’re located to avoid inadvertently infringing upon another’s intellectual property rights.
Reserve Business Entity Name
If you’ve decided on a name and have checked that it’s still available, you can reserve the name for 30 days with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Corporations Division. You must file an application online or by mail. You’ll also need to pay a filing fee of $25 for reserving your name and checks must be made out to the “Georgia Secretary of State”.
Filing Fee: $25
Office of Secretary of State
Name Reservation Request
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE
Suite 313 West Tower
Atlanta, Georgia, 30334
Other Considerations and What To Do Next?
After reserving your desired Georgia LLC name, you’ll need to also look into other considerations before officially filing your Georgia LLC. This includes running a social media and domain name check to sure that you have full, unrestricted use of your desired business name across different platforms online.
Check Domain Name Availability
With more and more businesses realizing the importance of having an online presence for their company, many businesses have taken up .com website domains for their company websites. You won’t just be competing for domain names in Georgia, but you’ll face competition with everyone else in the world fighting to get that perfect domain name for their website.
This is where your creativity will help you out as you come up with a unique domain name that’s available and still allows your customers to find you easily.
Namechk and GoDaddy websites are helpful tools that help you check name availability. And in case your desired name is already taken up, the sites offer useful alternatives that you can consider.
Another thing to note is that the .com domain extension is the most popular extension online but it’s not the only one available. There are actually other domain extensions that you can consider using for your website like .co, .net, and .io.
As more .com domain names are taken, these extensions are also gaining more popularity among businesses. You can consider taking up these extensions instead for your website if your Georgia business name is already taken up by another.
Check Social Media Name Availability
Once you are certain that your desired domain name is available for your website, the next thing to look at is whether your preferred social media handle is available. With the rise of social media, almost everyone has a social media account – even babies and pets! This proves how important it is for a company to also have a social media account where customers can connect and leave reviews.
Below are a few tips to keep in mind when creating a business entity social media page:
- Even if you feel that your business is small, you should maintain an active social media presence. As mentioned earlier, social media is a powerful tool that lets businesses connect with their customers directly. This can be incredibly helpful to businesses, regardless of whether they’re a small local shop or an international conglomerate. A good social media page can help business owners boost organic presence online, attract potential customers, and create awareness among the community on the existence of your business.
- You should check if your desired social media handle is available across multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. This is especially true if you plan on having social media pages across different platforms. It’s not so desirable to use different names on different platforms as it could cause confusion for your customers.
- You can run a simple search on each major site with the business name to check if they’re still available. Or you can use Namecheckr tool to conduct the search for you across all platforms at the same time to save you the time from checking each page one by one. If you do end up finding out that your desired company name is available, we recommend for you to register an account with that name even if you don’t plan on setting up the page yet to prevent your name being taken up by someone else before you want to use it.
Register Your Georgia Business Entity
After confirming your desired business name is available for use in Georgia, does not have a trademark associated, and has a suitable social media handle and website name in place, you can now register your business entity with the state.
While it is entirely possible for business owners to file their LLC online or on their own, the potential to be confused and flustered from the sheer amount of paperwork and filing required can get overwhelming.
This is one of the main reasons why many decide to hire companies experienced in filling LLCs like ZenBusiness, Incfile, and Northwest Registered Agent created to get the job done.
Register Company Tax ID/EIN with the IRS
Every company in the US will have a unique six-digit tax ID that needs to be registered with the IRS for tax purposes. You can look at company EIN as social security numbers for companies. The EIN registration process is quite straightforward and can quickly be completed online.
Create a Company Logo
The next step is to come up with a company logo that accurately reflects your company’s mission and values. A well designed logo can help businesses deliver the right impression to their customers. This is why a memorable logo is just as important as a company’s name.
However, it is understandable that not everyone has the artistic skills to come up with their own logo design. For cases like these, Fiverr can be extremely helpful in helping business owners get in touch with freelancers to help them design a logo within 24 hours.
Write a Business Plan
A business plan is important for companies, especially if you’re trying to convince investors to invest their money in you. A properly written business plan will help you organize ideas and even impress investors as it creates accountability.
It is also recommended for businesses that form partnerships to have their operating agreement written by a professional to avoid any potential ambiguity or misunderstanding in the future. If you’re in need of assistance to help come up with a business plan, you can consider Liveplan.com. The website has more than 500 different sample plans for you to refer from.
Open a Business Bank Account
Some businesses may have business transactions paid to their personal account, but this is a highly discouraged practice. It’s always best to separate personal and business finances. Not only that, but having a business bank account can help build business credibility which can be useful when applying for business loans.
It’s important to come up with a suitable business name that reflects company values and the services they offer before forming an LLC. In addition to ensuring the desired business name is unique, you need to also check that the name fits the Georgia naming requirements and is also available online and on social media for your customers to reach you online.
After that, you’ll be ready to take the next steps to formalize 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.