Hawaii Business Name Search – How to Look Up an LLC in Hawaii
Summary: To search for business name availability in the state of Hawaii, follow these steps:
- Visit the Hawaii Business Express website, which is the official online portal for business services in Hawaii. The website can be accessed at: https://hbe.ehawaii.gov/.
- On the Hawaii Business Express homepage, click on the “Start a New Business Filing” button. This will direct you to the business registration page.
- Create an account or log in if you already have one. You will need to provide your personal information to set up an account.
- After logging in, you will be directed to the “Business Registration” page. Select the option to register a new business.
- On the business registration form, enter the desired name for your business in the appropriate field. Make sure to choose a unique name that is not already registered by another business in Hawaii.
- Once you enter the desired name, the system will automatically check the availability of the name in the state of Hawaii. If the name is already registered, the system will prompt you to choose an alternative name.
- If the name is available, you can proceed with the business registration process by providing the required information and paying the necessary fees.
1. Follow Hawaii Naming Guidelines
Before you begin your search for a business name, we recommend that your business name meet the guidelines.
The first step to starting an LLC is choosing a company name. You should choose a name that is both compliant with Hawaii’s naming requirements, and easily searchable by potential clients.
Follow these naming guidelines:
- Your name must contain the phrase “limited-liability company” or one its abbreviations (LLC, L.L.C. ).
- Your name cannot contain words that could cause confusion between your LLC and a government agency (FBI or Treasury, State Department, etc.). ).
- Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, and University may need additional paperwork, as well as the participation of a licensed individual such a doctor or lawyer to your LLC.
2. Search for a Hawaii business name
To check the availability of your chosen name, you can use Hawaii’s Business Entity Search before you submit your name reservation request. For the best search results, enter the name you want to use.
You can search for just the first two words of your business name to find all similar names.
3. Find Available Domain Names
When choosing a business name, another important consideration is whether your desired web domain is available. It is crucial to have a URL that matches your business name. Even though it seems small, this can make a huge difference in how potential customers find you business.
Searching online for your desired URL using your preferred domain registry such as GoDaddy is the best way to find out if it is available.
4. Register Your Hawaii Business Entity Name
Hawaii’s Secretary of State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Business Registration Division handles all LLC naming queries and requests. You can reserve business names for up to 120 days.
You must apply online or by mail to reserve a business name. To file an online application, you will need to open an account at the Business Registration Division. To avoid rejection, make sure you do a thorough search prior to submitting your application.
You will need to pay a filing fee when you reserve your name. You must make checks payable to the “Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.”
Although it is easy to reserve the name of your LLC, there are other factors you need to consider when choosing the right name for your company.
To see if your name is available for use on the internet, you might want to conduct a Trademark or Social Media Search. This will ensure that you are able to use your business name in any way you want.
1. Trademark Search
It is a good idea to conduct a trademark search on your business name, as well as any associated slogans and logos, before you register. This will help avoid costly litigation down the road. It does not mean that you cannot use your business name if it is trademarked by another entity.
It is vital to find out who uses the name and what industry they work in to ensure that you don’t inadvertently violate any intellectual property rights.
This is the final step.
- You can search Hawaii’s trademarks using the same business entity searching to find out if another business uses your business name, associated slogans, logos or other information.
- To find federally registered trademarks that are associated with your business name, search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office electronic records.
To avoid potential complications down the line, it’s wise to conduct a thorough trademark search using the Trademark Electronic Search System before finalizing a business name.
2. Choose a Registered Agent
After you have chosen an LLC name that is distinctive and unique, you can now choose your LLC’s Registered Agent.
3. Check if the Domain Name is Available
To check if a domain name is available, you can follow these steps:
- Go to a domain registrar website, such as GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com.
- In the search bar on the homepage, type in the domain name you want to check.
- Click on the search button to see if the domain name is available or not.
- If the domain name is available, you will be prompted to purchase it. If it’s not available, the registrar will suggest some alternative options or you can try a different domain name.
It’s a good idea to check the availability of multiple domain name options as your first choice may already be taken.
Additionally, if you are considering registering a domain name for your business, make sure to also check for any existing trademarks that may conflict with your chosen domain name.
4. Check if Social Media Name is Available
To check if a social media name is available for a new business, you can follow these steps:
- Start by choosing a social media platform where you would like to create an account for your business. Some of the popular options include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok.
- Once you have selected the platform, go to the sign-up page and try to create an account using your desired social media name.
- If the name is already taken, the platform will display an error message indicating that the name is not available. In this case, you may need to consider alternative names for your social media account.
- If the name is available, the platform will allow you to create an account using that name.
- It’s important to note that just because a social media name is available, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s free to use. You should still do your due diligence to ensure that the name is not already a registered trademark or being used by another business in your industry.
5. Register Hawaii Business Entity
When you complete the required documents for filing a new business entity, you then register your business and business name with the state. The state of Hawaii will either approve your business name or reject it.
If you hire a good LLC service like Northwest Registered Agent, ZenBusiness or Incfile, these LLC services have business name tools available for you to do a quick search. I recommend using any of these 3 services to assist you with forming a new business. They can save you time and provide you with guidance through the formation process.
6. Register an Employer ID Number (EIN) With the IRS
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify businesses and other entities for tax purposes.
Here’s how you can get an EIN:
- Determine if you need an EIN: You’ll need an EIN if you have employees, operate your business as a corporation or partnership, file employment tax returns, have a Keogh plan, or are required to file any of the following tax returns: Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
- Apply for an EIN: You can apply for an EIN online, by fax, by mail, or by phone. The quickest and easiest way is to apply online through the IRS website.
- Provide the necessary information: When applying for an EIN, you’ll need to provide your legal name, trade name (if applicable), business address, and the type of legal structure of your business (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC).
- Wait for your EIN: If you apply online, you can receive your EIN immediately after completing the application. If you apply by fax or mail, it can take up to four weeks to receive your EIN.
Note that there is no fee to apply for an EIN. Once you receive your EIN, be sure to keep it safe and use it on all tax documents and forms.
7. Create a Brand Logo
Creating a business logo involves several steps. Here’s a general overview of the process:
- Define your brand: Before you start creating a logo, you need to define your brand’s personality, values, and mission. This will help you create a logo that accurately represents your brand.
- Determine the design style: Decide on the design style you want for your logo. Do you want it to be modern or classic, minimalistic or intricate, colorful or monochromatic? Consider your brand personality and target audience when making this decision.
- Choose the colors: Pick a color palette that reflects your brand personality and complements your design style. Colors have psychological meanings and can affect how people perceive your brand.
- Brainstorm ideas: Brainstorm several logo design concepts based on your brand personality, values, and mission. You can use online resources for inspiration or hire a professional logo designer to create a custom logo for you.
- Sketch your ideas: Once you have some logo design concepts, sketch them out on paper to visualize how they might look. This can help you narrow down your options and refine your ideas.
- Design the logo: Use a graphic design software program like Adobe Illustrator or Canva to create your logo design. Search on Fiverr for logo designs. Make sure it is scalable and can be used across different mediums.
- Get feedback: Share your logo design with colleagues, friends, or family to get feedback. This can help you refine your design further.
- Finalize the logo: Once you have incorporated feedback, finalize your logo design. Be sure to use high-quality images and files for your logo.
- Protect your logo: If you want to protect your logo, consider trademarking it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This will prevent others from using a similar logo and protect your brand’s identity.
8. Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan involves a comprehensive process that covers various aspects of your business, including the industry, market research, marketing and sales strategies, financial projections, and more. Here are some steps to guide you in writing a business plan and links to resources that can help you:
- Executive summary: This section provides a summary of your business plan, highlighting key information about your business, target market, products or services, and financial projections. It should be brief but comprehensive.
- Company description: This section describes your company’s mission, vision, values, and legal structure. It also includes information about the management team, business location, and history.
- Market analysis: This section provides a detailed analysis of your industry, target market, competition, and customer demographics. It also includes information about market trends and growth projections.
- Marketing and sales strategies: This section outlines your marketing and sales strategies, including branding, advertising, pricing, and distribution channels.
- Products and services: This section describes your products or services, their features and benefits, and how they will meet the needs of your target market.
- Financial projections: This section provides a detailed financial forecast for your business, including projected revenue, expenses, profits, and cash flow. It also includes a break-even analysis and funding requirements.
Here are some links to resources that can help you in writing a business plan:
- Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA offers a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan, including templates and sample plans.
- SCORE: SCORE provides free business plan templates and guides, as well as mentoring and counseling services.
- Bplans: Bplans offers a wide variety of business plan templates, tools, and resources, including sample plans for different industries.
- LivePlan: LivePlan is a cloud-based software that provides business planning tools and templates, financial forecasting, and collaboration features.
- Canva: Canva offers a range of customizable business plan templates and design tools to help you create a professional-looking plan.
9. Open a Business Bank Account in Hawaii
A bank account is generally required for a new Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation to separate personal finances from business finances and to establish a clear record of business transactions.
Having a separate bank account for your LLC will help you keep track of your business’s income and expenses, which will be useful for tax purposes, accounting, and financial management. It will also make it easier to accept payments from customers and pay bills, suppliers, and employees.
To open a bank account for your LLC, you will typically need to provide the following documents:
- Certificate of Formation: This is a legal document that shows that your LLC has been registered with the state.
- Operating Agreement: This document outlines the rules and procedures for running your LLC and is required by some banks.
- EIN (Employer Identification Number) Confirmation Letter: This is a letter from the IRS confirming your LLC’s tax identification number.
- Identification documents: You will need to provide personal identification documents, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID, and proof of address, such as a utility bill.
Note that the specific requirements for opening a bank account for an LLC may vary depending on the bank and state where you are located. It’s best to contact the bank you plan to use to inquire about their specific requirements.
A name for your company is an essential first step in creating a successful LLC. It is also very easy.
After you have chosen your preferred name through Hawaii’s Business Entity Search you will need to secure your domain so your customers can find you online. You will be able to stand out among the rest by reserving your name using an Application For Reservation of Name.
Once you have your name secure, it is time to start formalizing your LLC.
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar.
Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor’s degree in business journalism from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications.
Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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