Choosing your business name enables you, as a storeowner, to use your imagination and creativity. There are certain guidelines to keep in mind when making a decision for your store name.

1. Choose a name that is both pleasant and easy to pronounce. If your store name is difficult to pronounce, some customers will not be able to remember it long enough to give your store the “word of mouth” advertisement needed in the community.

2. Choose a name that will do some advertising for you—a name that will be remembered, a name that will tell the customer what type of store it is. Try to stay away from store names that are generic, “Johnson Merchandise”, “Brenda’s Store”. Use a name that will let your customers know your store by the name, “Dollar Mart”, “Dollar Plus”, and “John’s Dollar Plus”.

3. the most important guideline to remember is to use a name that will not limit you. An example of this would be “Only a Dollar”. This name may seem very adequate in the initial opening, but it limits the store to only one-dollar merchandise. Inflation will eventually cause prices to go up. Think ahead in your plans. Most stores will grow considerably in their future and you always want to leave the option of expansion.

4. Avoid names that are embarrassing spellings, abbreviations, profanities, and have potentially offensive undertones. You will also want to avoid names with implied associations with organizations/people that the business is not associated with.

When you choose a name:

If you will do business as Sole Proprietorship:

You will need to file paperwork for an “assumed”, or “fictitious name”.

Registrations of this kind may also be known as a DBA, or “Doing Business As”.

You will need to go to the County Clerk’s Office that handles fictitious names and ask to see the listing of all the names registered with the county.

This will enable you to decide on your store name by insuring there is not a business already using this name.

If you will do business as a Corporation or Limited Liability Corporation (LLC):

You can check the availability of the name with the Secretary of State.

Most states have made this available online, but some still require a written request to check the availability.

You will then need to fill out the “Articles of Organization” or “Certificate of Formation” for your state. The form can be found and printed from the Secretary of State page on most states’ websites. Some states even have on-line filing of the forms, while others you will need to mail in. There will be a fee for forming the LLC so be sure to include the fee with the paperwork. If it is a requirement in your state you will need to publish a notice regarding the formation of the LLC in your local newspaper. IF this is a requirement it will be listed under the requirements on the Secretary of State’s website.

Be cautious of using names for your business that are similar to larger franchises or national chains that are trademarked i.e. DOLLAR TREE, DOLLAR GENERAL, OR FAMILY DOLLAR. The best idea for naming your store is to lead the path, don’t follow, be creative and choose a store name that fits your needs.

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