Picking a Business Structure and Name: What Matters

Below are excerpts from an article posted on CorpNet. See the full article for more information and details.

So you want to start a business.  You’re going to plan and research EVERYTHING carefully. That’s good advice, right?

startup planning

Uh … maybe.

One thing I’ve learned is that there are worse things in business  – and life — than making a mistake.  What can be worse is losing an opportunity.  While I urge you to make smart informed decisions, it’s important to recognize what NOT to agonize over.

Speed off the launch is important to startups.  Why?  So you can make sales.  Sales are top priority for most startups.

With that in mind, here are three lessons I’ve learned, having started several businesses:

1.) Decide your business structure fast  – you can always convert later.  

You are not locked into a business structure permanently…you can convert to a corporation later on.   You can also convert in the other direction, i.e., from a corporation to an LLC…..Get informed. Decide fast. And then turn to sales ASAP.

2.)  Keep it simple — incorporate or organize in your home state.  

When you’re starting a business, it might seem “important” to do a lengthy investigation intowhich state to incorporate or organize under….For most startups, that is overkill.  We’re better off organizing or incorporating in the state the business is in. …For startups, your biggest priority is to get your business off the ground. Keep it simple by organizing in your home state, so you can focus on sales that much faster.

3.) Take extra time deciding on your business name.

Now I am going to get contrarian on you.  This is one case where it pays to take extra time to get your business name right from the outset.  A creative memorable name can help tremendously as you’re building your business.

Yes, you can always re-brand and change the company name later.  But when you do it’s like starting all over in the marketplace.

Where to start?  Spend some quality time compiling a list of possible names.  Brainstorming, speed thinking, and other techniques can be useful exercises.  This article at About.com has a good list of ways to think up a business name.

Once you narrow it down to a few top choices, run them past family, friends and others you trust to get added input.  Be sure to do a corporate name search.  Or consider filing a DBA for a “doing business as” name for your company.

Brand is more important than ever – take the steps to build it from day one.  It will pay off in increased sales if you do a good job.  And protect it.  Consider filing for a trademark to protect your brand as early as possible.

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