Step 5: Name Your Business

Choose a name that is distinctive, says something about the nature of your business, and is easy to remember.

  • A sole proprietorship can operate under the legal name of its owner and a general partnership can operate under the partners’ last names.  To give a business a name of its own, obtain an Assumed Business Name Certificate (available online from the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina website), get it notarized, and file it at the Guilford County Register of Deeds, at 325 E. Russell Ave, Room 155, High Point, NC 27260. The Guilford County Register of Deeds can be reached by phone at (336) 641-7556.
  • Banks may require a Certificate of Assumed Name before creating an account for a sole proprietorship.
  • Corporations, LLCs, and LLPs are named through the Corporations Division of the NC Department of the Secretary of State.

Avoid names that resemble existing businesses (otherwise you could confuse potential customers, make marketing harder, and create legal problems).

  • Check the Corporations Division of the NC Department of the Secretary of State.
  • Check Guilford County Register of Deeds
  • You may also wish to check the US Patent and Trademark Office's database at Taking this extra precaution is particularly advisable if you envision your business eventually expanding into other states. 
  • An online presence is essential for business. When selecting a name, think about whether it can be easily adapted into a web address, and whether it conflicts with the web addresses of existing businesses.  Use the WHOIS database to check for online conflicts.