When you decide to establish yourself as a small business owner, the first thing that you should do is select your business name.

This can be a tedious process. I remember the first business that I established. I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t have a name.

Business Structure

It took me weeks to finally decide on the name that would represent me and my business. I wanted something that would be catchy, remembered and stood out.

That business name became very well known and still is to this day. Deciding what to name your business should require a lot of thought.

You don’t want to have a name that as soon as it’s heard, it’s forgotten, and you surely don’t want a name that will remind people of someone else’s business. Your business name should be as unique as you are, this your business branding.

Your business name is also known as a fictitious or assumed name, trade name or dba (doing business as) name. Once you have decided on a name for your business, your work still isn’t done.

You will need to research and register it with the proper local authorities in your state, in most cases, the registration process is done at the county clerk’s office, in North Carolina, it’s done at the Registrar of Deeds office, check your state to see where you need to go.

If you decide to use your own name for you business, “JANE DOE” no registration is needed, however; “JANE DOE ENTERPRISES”, will need to register. Registering a fictitious name is not necessary in all states, so check with your state to make sure you need to.

Now that you have dealt with the aspect of your business name, lets deal with your business structure.

Have you given any thought to the type of structure that you want for your business? Here are some to get you thinking:

Sole Proprietorship

This structure is very basic. You can use this type of structure if you are the only owner and are responsible for its bills, assets and liabilities.

Limited Liability Company

This structure is also known as an llc and provides your company with the limited liability of a corporation including the tax aspect and the flexibility of partnerships.

Corporation

This structure is somewhat complex. It’s used generally used for established, larger businesses with several employees.

Partnership

With the various types of partnerships available, the type that you decide on will depend on the agreement between you and your partner(s) and the partner responsibility for the business.

Cooperative

These type of structures are normally used in clubs, homeowners associations,etc., and usually meet a collective need and/or provide a services that benefit the member-owners.

S Corporation

With this type of corporation, you are only taxed on the personal level even though it’s similar to the c corporation.