Iowa LLC Name Requirements
To ensure that your desired business name has been found, you should perform an Iowa Secretary Of State Business Search before you form an LLC in Iowa. It must indicate that the LLC is a Limited-Liability Company.
Therefore, the name should include the abbreviation LLC or L.L.C. at the end. An LLC is not a corporation. The name of an LLC cannot contain any references to “corporation”, “incorporated,” or “corp.”
You must be able to distinguish your LLC from other Iowa businesses. Names must be unique. Grammar and punctuation differences do not make a business name different from another.
How to search the Iowa Business Entity Databank
You can search the Iowa business directory for information, whether you are looking for information on another business or a new LLC. The system’s simple functions make it easy to navigate the database.
Navigate to the Search Page for Business Entities on the Secretary of States’s website. In the search box, enter your preferred LLC name. To maximize your search results choose the “100” option in the drop-down menu.
Click “Search.” A page will be generated based upon your search terms. Simply select the business to access its summary. Click on any business entry to view all information about it, including its stock information and filing history.
These tips will help you search for more information:
- You can leave out the ending punctuation and “LLC”.
- Capitalization is not something to be concerned about.
- Only enter the first or second word of your chosen LLC name.
- To be more thorough, enter part of the first sentence.
If you get a message saying “Sorry, no Results”, it means that there are no similar LLCs in the Iowa database. You can use the one you like. If you do not receive results, changing your business name to something more distinctive is possible.
You cannot use the same business name as another. You must create your LLC name from scratch.
Sometimes, it is not possible to be certain that the name you want to use is available. If this happens, file the paperwork anyway. If the name isn’t available, the state will reject it and ask you to modify it.
Once you have found an available Iowa LLC name, you can choose a Registered agent.
Reserving a Business Name
Although you may have a great name for your business, you are not ready to set up an LLC. Iowa allows individuals to reserve business names for up to 120 days by filing an Application For Reservation of Name.
Send the application and $10 filing fee to
Secretary of StateBusiness Services Division
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
How to Create a Corporation in Iowa
You must first file the Articles Of Incorporation online with the Secretary of State and pay the $50 filing fee. You can also attach your payment to the application, and mail it to:
PO Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216
After forming your corporation successfully, apply for an EIN to open a bank account under your company’s name.
How to form an Iowa LLC
First, choose a name to establish an LLC within Iowa. Names must be unique and include “Limited Liability Company” (or one of its abbreviations) or “L.L.C .”).”. Some words, such as attorney, university, or bank, are not allowed because they require licenses. Even if your goal is to start your own business, it’s worth looking into purchasing a domain name.
Next, select your registered agent. Next, choose your Registered Agent. This is the person or company who can receive legal papers on behalf of your LLC. You, your friend, or a relative can serve as the Registered Agent.
To register your LLC in Iowa, you can file your Certificate of Organization. Although the state doesn’t provide a sample Certificate of Organization form, there are instructions on how it can be created on the website.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Register Iowa 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 Iowa 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.
4. 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.
5. 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. 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.
6. 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.
7. Open a Business Bank Account in Iowa
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