One of the initial steps is ensuring your chosen business name is unique and legally available. This article will guide you through the steps of conducting a New Hampshire business entity name search using the Secretary of State’s resources.
We’ll cover how to ensure your business name complies with state regulations and doesn’t conflict with existing trademarks registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
New Hampshire Business Entity Name Search (Summary)
To search for business name availability in the state of New Hampshire, follow these steps:
1. Visit the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s website dedicated to business services
2. On the website: click on the “Search for Business Names” link. This will take you to the search page where you can check the availability of a business name.
3. On the search page, you have two options: A and B
A. Quick Name Availability Search: This option allows you to quickly search for the availability of a business name without creating an account. Enter the desired business name in the search field and click “Search.” The system will display results indicating whether the name is available or already taken.
B. Enhanced Name Availability Search: This option provides more detailed search capabilities and allows you to create an account. You can search by name, entity type, and other criteria to refine your search. To access this option, you need to create an account or log in if you already have one.
Choose the option that suits your needs and follow the instructions provided on the website to perform the search.
|Please note that it’s always a good idea to verify the links on the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s website in case there have been any updates since then.|
What is a New Hampshire Business Entity?
A New Hampshire business entity refers to an organization that has been legally incorporated to conduct business in the state of New Hampshire.
The registration, regulation, and management of business entities in New Hampshire is overseen by the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Corporation Division.
Like other states, New Hampshire recognizes several types of business entities, including but not limited to:
- Sole Proprietorship: This is the simplest form of a business organization where one individual owns and controls the business. The owner is personally liable for all business debts and obligations.
- Partnership: This is a business owned by two or more individuals who agree to share the profits and losses of the business. Partnerships can be general partnerships, limited partnerships, or limited liability partnerships.
- Corporation: This is a separate legal entity owned by shareholders. The corporation itself, not the shareholders, is legally liable for the actions and debts the business incurs.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC): This is a type of hybrid business structure that combines the characteristics of a corporation and a partnership or sole proprietorship. It provides the owners with limited liability in terms of the company’s debts and obligations.
New Hampshire Secretary of State Name Search
To start a business entity in New Hampshire, one must file the necessary paperwork with the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Corporation Division and pay the appropriate filing fees.
New Hampshire Business Lookup
First, perform a NH business lookup to find the business name. This will ensure that you are able to form a New Hampshire LLC. You must make sure your LLC name is unique and follows NH state requirements. To ensure that nothing is identical, search every part of the preferred LLC name.
Creating an LLC requires that the business name end with “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC” or “L.L.C.” This name cannot imply that the LLC has been created as a corporation. You cannot use the abbreviations “inc.” and “corp” anywhere in your LLC name. You cannot use “incorporated” or any abbreviations.
It is important to choose a unique name for your LLC. This means it should be distinct from other names that were found in the search. The way the business designs its LLC status is not distinctive. If another entity is “Jones Investments Inc”, you can’t file a Jones Investments LLC.
Grammatical differences are not considered distinguishable. Words such as “an”, “a,” or “and” are not able to distinguish between names. If a name already exists in the database, you cannot alter punctuation to create it.
It is not easy to file paperwork to create an LLC. First, you must come up with a unique name. This requires creativity. Your LLC name must be easy to spell so that others can find you when they search for it. A positive name for your LLC will make people feel good about it.
You can search for any combination of capitalizations using the New Hampshire LLC Search and still get the correct results. There are many types of statuses you might see in the database.
- Old Name
To avoid problems, it is best to choose another name if your preferred name appears in any of these statuses. Contact the NH Secretary of State if you have any questions about the database or registering an LLC in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire LLC Registered Agent
After you have chosen an LLC name that is distinctive and unique, you can now choose your LLC’s Registered Agent. You must choose a Registered Agent before establishing your LLC in New Hampshire. This person is responsible for accepting legal documents on behalf of you.
New Hampshire registered agents must have an address in the state and be available for business documents, tax notices, and court documents. A local address is required to become a registered agent in New Hampshire. This is not the same as a PO box.
Many LLC owners prefer to hire an experienced Commercial Registered Agent. However, you can also choose a friend or relative to act as your Registered Agent. The Registered Agent must also be available during normal business hours to receive documents.
Once you have determined the Registered Agent, you can start completing your LLC Form Documents.
New Hampshire LLC Formation – Certificate Of Formation Instructions
The Certificate of Formation is the official document to establish your LLC in New Hampshire. Submit the Certificate of Formation to the New Hampshire Secretary.
Online filing is possible for faster approval. You can also file via mail or by simply walking into the office. You can file your application in person for same-day approval.
Send your Certificate of Formation to:
NH Department of Corporation
107 N Main Street
Concord, NH 03301-9899.
Send a $100 check or money order to the “State Of New Hampshire”.
New Hampshire’s walk-in filing fee is $125. This includes a $25 expedited charge. Send the completed document along with the filing fee to:
25 Capitol Street
Concord, NH 03301-9899.
New Hampshire Operating Agreement for LLCs
The New Hampshire Operating Agreement is not required to be mailed in, unlike the LLC Form Documents. It’s a simple agreement between LLC members about how an LLC should operate.
It lists LLC members’ names, ownership percentages, and interests. This document is fluid and can be updated as the business grows.
When creating an LLC, you must file for a Federal Tax ID number (EIN). Additionally, you must comply with all LLC tax registration regulations and maintain your LLC in good standing.
1. Trademark Search
When searching for a business name, it’s important to note that availability doesn’t necessarily mean the name is free to use if it’s already a registered trademark.
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. 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.
3. 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.
4. Register New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Open a Business Bank Account in New Hampshire
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.
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: email@example.com