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How to name your new business in the state of Michigan

Updated on April 25, 2011

Naming Your New Business In Michigan

Once you have decided on your new Michigan business, it is important that you come up with business name. The most important step is finding a name that is not already taken. to do this you must go to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth website and check to make sure that the name you want is not already taken. I have included a link at the bottom of the article where you can check the name you want for your new business (called a business entity search) to see if it is available in Michigan.

Many people underestimate exactly how important the name is to the business. You will want to choose a name that is easy to pronounce, spell, and remember. It should also be specific to your business and easily let the average person know what kinds of services of goods that your business offers. Vague names like "Mary's House" will confuse potential customers, but a more specific name like "Mary's House of Pancakes" or "Mary's House of Window Blinds" will easily tell your customers what to expect from your business... I happen to own a cleaning business and the name we came up with was "Mean Green Cleaning". We choose this because we our a green cleaning company and "mean green" rhymes and is easy to remember. We also were sure to use the Mean Green Cleaning website to show how our services are mean to dirt, but friendly to the earth... feel free to check out our website, especially if you need green cleaning services in the Ann Arbor area, at

A new business can also operate under an assumed business name. So, once you find and register your official business name as "Mary's House of Window Blinds, LLC", you can file a form (called a DBA Form, or "doing business as" form) with your with your county clerk and operate under the assumed name of your choice. Now you have the freedom to operate as "Mary's House of Blinds", "House of Window Blinds", or even "Mary's House" (if you really wanted to, but again, it is best to be specific). To register your DBA you can go down to your county office and file it in person, or, since most counties have web registration nowaday, you can find your county website and do a search for "Form BCS/CD-541, Certificate of Assumed Name, and you should easily be able to file it online. The cost of registering your new business name is generally minimal. I registered my business in Washtenaw County and I believe it only cost $10.

Other Considerations For Naming Your Michigan Business

Another important consideration that needs to be taken into account when deciding on a new business name is the type of business you intend on running. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth states the following (the link will take you directly to the page where I got the information...):

Choosing a Business Name        

Agency: Energy, Labor & Economic Growth

"The legal structure for a business determines where the business is to file its name. Sole proprietorships and copartnerships file their names with the county clerk in the county in which their business is located, and also in any other county in which they transact business or have an office. The name standard applied to the names of sole proprietorships or copartnerships by the county clerk is that the name cannot be the same as or so similar to a name already on file with the county as to cause confusion or deception.

Limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations are created by filing the appropriate documents with this Bureau. These entities must select a name that is distinguishable on the records of the administrator from other active names. The phrase distinguishable on the records of the administrator has been defined by guidelines. A name is distinguishable if it has a different sequence of letters or numbers from other names. Filing with the agency creates no substantive rights to the use of a name. The entity may wish to exercise care in selecting a name to avoid infringing on the names filed with the county clerk or filed with the Bureau by another limited partnership, limited liability company, or corporation, or being used by another entity as a trademark, service mark or trade name. To protect any rights a business claims to its name, the business entity must police its name and respond to anyone who infringes on its rights."

*I strongly recommend you spend some long hours searching and reading though the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth. It has a world of resources for the new business owner and can be very helpful tool to use for growing your business.


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