I have a thing where I hate to backtrack and touch a document twice.  I want to be done with it when the action is completed.  Unfortunately to avoid my normal paralysis by analysis, I’ve put the cart before the horse which is forcing me to backtrack and make corrections.  I had a checklist for starting a business and a few items on it could be done at anytime in no particular order.  Well now I’m here to tell you, if you are applying for a corporation status, get your legal name confirmed before applying for the EIN (federal tax number).

After spending multiple days coming up with an appropriate company name that wasn’t cheesy, wasn’t trendy, wasn’t fluffy, cliché or overused, I finally settled on the name Elite Personal Care. It’s a good idea to check if the name is already trademarked or branded so I searched the site:  http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/index.jsp, and found no confirmation of a brand or trade mark on the name.  Of course I Googled the name in Georgia, and found one senior home with a similar name but the phone number was disconnected.  I couldn’t find any updated info so I felt it was safe to proceed with that name.  (Yea go ahead and comment away on that underwhelming thought.)  I was thrilled to discover I could self- apply for the EIN (can we say cheap at $0 cost) at www.IRS.gov .  The website form took the info, and spit out an almost instant EIN.

Next I linked to  www.LegalZoom.com to apply for LLC status; they asked for a 2nd and 3rd choice of names just in case the original name was unavailable. (BTW, you can self-apply with the state for your legal structure; current cost is $100.)  Thinking I had it all in the bag (because of the extensive research), and not wanting the site to time out, I threw out a few variations of the company name without any research.  A few days later, Georgia approved the optional name, “Elite Care LLC.”  Now I think to Google that name variation and find that name is active in Michigan, Ohio and probably a few other places that I failed to advance to in the search.  Quel horror!  I immediately called www.LegalZoom.com  to see if I could change the name – nope the process had started and they didn’t legally have to search any further than the state of application, as the state controls the name approvals.  The rep generously offered that she had just taken a call where their customer had received a “cease and desist” order for their company name because it was already in use.  O joy, just great.

Because it will cost to revise the LLC name, I’m going to run with it for now.  I’ve been told I can always create another “dba” name, that is doing business as which is legal.  In other words the legal name is still Elite Care, LLC but I can do business for example, as Elite Solutions.  Still thinking on that, but I did have to revise the EIN name to match the LLC name.  I sent that change request off to the IRS today, and am waiting confirmation. 

After I get through this process, I hope to compile a handbook of basic A-Z’s for starting a business.  Until then I hope these thoughts and tips posted here will help you. 

Your thoughts and comment are welcomed!  To be so cliché, have a great weekend!

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