Guide To Starting A Business

14. How to Check if a Business Name is Available

Next Read: How to Register a Business

Running A Business

How to Check if a Business Name is Available

Mar 17, 2023 • 3 min read
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      You’ve come up with a great name for your small business—one that will speak to your future customers and capture the brand identity you’re looking to build. This is a crucial first step and you’ll want to choose wisely, so as not to have to go through a costly rebrand down the road.

      But a critical part of choosing that perfect name is making sure that the name is available. After all, countless other would-be entrepreneurs are coming up with business names of their own that could very well overlap with yours. Sharing a business name with another company is not an option.

      So, before you start printing up business cards and t-shirts, how do you ensure that your snappy new business name is available for you to own outright? The following steps are a great place to start:

      1. Search for existing trademarks.

      Before registering your business name, it is important to search for any existing trademarks which may be similar to your desired name. You can do this by searching the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database. You can also perform an LLC name availability search for all 50 states to see if your name is available

      2. Check with your state’s business registration database.

      Most states have a database of registered business names that you can search to see if your desired name is already in use. Search “Business Registration Database” for your state to get additional information. 

      3. Search online

      A quick online search can also help you determine if your desired business name is already in use. Search for the name on websites such as Google and social media platforms to see if there are any existing businesses with the same or similar name.

      4. Consider domain availability.

      It is also important to check if the domain name for your website is available, as this will be an important part of your online presence. This may help you decide between various business names and/or iterations of a name, based on domain availability.

      Once you have completed these steps, you can make an informed decision about whether your desired business name is available for use. You can find additional information on naming your small business on the Small Business Association (SBA’s) website. If the name is available, you can proceed with registering your business.

      Please note that this information is for general guidance only and is not a substitute for legal advice. It is important to consult with a legal professional to ensure that you are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

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      About the author
      Scott Mullens

      Scott started the company Equip, Inc. which he grew for 20 years before selling it in 2022. His background is in business development and sales, marketing and copywriting, new product ideation and small business turnaround. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a BA in English.

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