So you’ve decided to start a business in Ohio. The first thing you need to do when starting a company is to give it a suitable business name. Yes, naming your company is indeed exciting, but you need to keep in mind that you can’t just pick any business name you like.
There are a few naming guidelines that you need to follow when registering your business name. No worries, our article today will go through a few important points when it comes to naming your Ohio LLC.
LLC Naming Guidelines
As mentioned earlier, you need to first come up with a suitable name for your Ohio LLC that meets the state guidelines. Here are a few naming requirements that Ohio LLCs need to follow when choosing a name for their company:
- 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 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 LLC.
Using Comma in LLC Name
LLCs can register their business names with or without a comma. For example, if you want your LLC name to be Blue Stones, you can file your LLC as:
- Blue Stones LLC
- Blue Stones, LLC
Both are accepted by the state.
Ohio LLC Name Must Be Distinguishable
You need to make sure that your LLC name is unique and distinguishable upon the records of the Secretary of State. You must not have the same business name as another companies registered in Nevada. One way to confirm if your desired LLC name is taken or not is to run a quick check on the Ohio Business Entity Database which is discussed in the section below.
Your limited liability company (LLC) name in Nevada must be distinguishable upon the records of the Secretary of State. This means that you cannot have the same name as other existing businesses registered in Nevada. One way to check if your desired LLC name is available is to run an Ohio Business Name Search discussed in the next section.
Ohio LLC Name Search
Business owners can make use of Ohio’s Business Entity Search to confirm the availability of their desired company name before filing with the state by running an Ohio business name search. To save time and hassle of refiling, it’s best to do a thorough search before filing your limited liability company application or it might just get rejected and you’ll be requested to refile under a different business name.
Luckily, you can make use of the Ohio Business Entity Database to check through all Ohio businesses entity registered with the state. The public records database offers multiple search options to make it easier for you to navigate. The website lets you search for businesses with the following categories:
- Business Name
- Exact Business Name
- Prior Business Name
- Agent/Registered Agent
- Number Search
Ohio LLC Name Search
The Ohio business name search query is the most common and easiest method to look up Ohio businesses on the site. To check if your desired business name is available, you can follow the steps below:
- Enter your desired Ohio business name.
- Click on “Search”
The Ohio business name search database will regenerate a list of results containing all the Ohio business entities related to the business name you’ve entered.
Users can further narrow down the Ohio business name search list with All, Active, Cancelled, and Dead filters. You also do not need to key in phrases like LLC, Corp, or other naming designations as the database will give you a list of results for every entity type available.
Exact/Prior Ohio Business Name
Users can also search for exact or prior Ohio business names by keying their desired LLC name in the search query and click on Search.
Search by Agent/Registrant
You can also search through the Ohio Business Entity Database and get a list of companies registered by a specific agent or registrant. Here’s what you need to do:
- Head to the Agent/Registrant filter and enter the full or last name of the agent.
- Click on “Search”
Once the website gives you a list of results, you can narrow down the list with a drop-down menu that has additional options that lets you search by President, Registered Agent, and Secretary.
Ohio Business Name Search Status
Hundreds of new businesses open every day, which means more and more names are being taken up. On the flip side, more and more companies are also closing and their names may be available for use. The Ohio Business Database is not only useful for checking whether your desired LLC name is taken, but you can also use it to get inspiration for your company.
For example, if you’re planning to open up a tuition center, you could enter the word “Tuition” into the search bar and the website will generate a list of Ohio business names with the word “Tuition” in them. From there, you can quickly identify any expired names that are suitable for your business.
The Ohio Business Search Results will have Ohio business entities listed along with their statuses (Active, Canceled, or Dead).
If you do find an expired LLC name that you feel is suitable for your Ohio business, you should give the office a call to reconfirm its availability before registering with the state. This additional step will save you the hassle and time of re-applying under a different name should the desired LLC name be taken before you file your application
Checking Ohio business name availability on the Ohio Business Entity Database is not all you need to do. Just because it does not appear in the database doesn’t necessarily mean you can immediately register your LLC with that name. That name might have a trademark associated, hence it’s best to also do a trademark search of the company name, slogan, and logo if available.
This will prevent any litigation in the future for infringing on another’s intellectual property rights. Make sure to run your trademark search on both Nevada Trademark Search and US Patent and Trademark Office’s electronic records to also check for any federal trademarks.
Additionally, just because the name is trademarked doesn’t mean you can’t use it either. You need to check who is using the name, the industry they’re in, and where they’re located.
Reserve Ohio Business Name
After checking that your desired Ohio business name is available, you can proceed to reserve it with Ohio Secretary of State’s Corporation Division. You must file your name reservation application either 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.” They also have 2-day, 1-day, and 4-hour expedited services available for those in a rush to lock down the LLC name.
Fee: $39 (standard), $100 (2-day), $200 (1-day), $300 (4-hour)
P.O. Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216
Other Considerations and What To Do Next?
So you’ve locked your desired LLC name with the Ohio Secretary of State by filling the name reservation application. So, what do you do now?
There are actually other important factors to consider before officially filing your LLC under the desired name. Those include checking availability of domain name and social media handle so that you get unrestricted use of your desired Ohio business name across multiple platforms.
Check Domain Name Availability
With the rise of the internet, many businesses now have company websites for customers and clients to search them up online. This is why it is important for companies – small or big – to maintain a strong online presence.
One of the best methods to create an online presence for your Ohio business is to have a company website. But creating your own website comes with its list of challenges, one of which is checking to see if your desired domain name is available.
The fight for domain names is not local but international as everyone around the world will be fighting for the best online domain names for their businesses so that their customers can quickly find them online. This is where you’ll need to rely on your creativity to come up with a relevant and unique domain name that’s still easy for your customers to find online.
The two tools that will prove useful in this task are Namechkr and GoDaddy websites. These two sites will run your desired domain name through the site to check if its available for use. And if it finds that someone else has already taken up the name, the site will come up with several suggestions and alternatives for you to consider.
You should also know that while the .com domain extension is the most popular extension, it’s not the only one available. Other domain extensions like .org, .co, .net, and .io are slowly gaining traction as more and more businesses use these domain extensions as their desired .com domain name has been taken up.
Check Social Media Name Availability
The next step to check is to confirm the availability of your desired social media handle. A good social media page offers businesses the opportunity to engage with their customers directly to understand what they like and what services can be further improved.
Here are a few tips you can keep in mind for your business entity social media page:
- It’s important to have an active social media page regardless of the size of your business. Social media is a powerful tool that doesn’t only let businesses connect with their customers, but it can also boost organic presence online, attract potential customers, and create awareness at the most cost effective price.
- You should check if your desired social media handle is available for use on different social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Using the same social media handle on different sites will make it easier for your customers to find you. You don’t want to use a handle that’s too similar to another business or your customers might confuse their site as yours.
- You can choose to either do a search of your desired handle name on each major site to check their availability or you can use Namechkr to run the search for you on all platforms at the same time. And in case you do find your desired handle is available, it’s best for you to quickly register an account with that name to “reserve” it so someone else does not take it before you do.
Register Your Ohio Business
Now that you’ve checked and confirmed that your desired LLC name is available in the state with no trademark associated, you can begin the LLC registration process. You can either file your LLC on your own or hire a company to do it for you.
You might want to attempt to do it yourself to save cost but you may end up with tons of paperwork and filing to do that may just eat up more of your time. This is why many companies hire experienced agents like ZenBusiness, Incfile, and Northwest Registered Agent to help them get the job done.
Company Tax ID/EIN Registration
Every company will be given a unique six-digit tax ID that needs to be registered with the IRS for tax purposes. You can think of the EIN like a person’s social security number. Fortunately, the EIN registration is very straightforward and you can certainly get it done yourself.
Open a Business Bank Account
Finally on our list is for businesses to open up a business bank account for transactions. Smaller companies may make do with their own personal account but it’s highly encouraged to use different accounts and split personal and business finances.
Doing that will not only eliminate any possible misunderstanding or confusion, but it can also build business credibility with the banks. This will certainly help you when trying to apply for a loan in the future.
By now you should know how important an Ohio business name is for an LLC. You need one that not only reflects your values, but one that also meets Ohio’s naming requirements.
In addition to that, there are also other factors to look into when choosing a name such as domain name and social media availability and trademark registration. After you’ve done those, then you’re ready to begin 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.