The Entrepreneur’s Corner

What's in a (business) name?
A business name is important. It can tell the public what you offer, it can distinguish the business from others and it can cause the business owners problems if not carefully considered.

Many new business owners spend a great deal of time thinking up their business names without clearing the name before using it and then not properly using it once they get going. A business name is the commercial name a business uses and it may not be the same as the name of the corporation or limited liability company that owns the business.

A few simple checks can help relieve a business owner from name problems in the business down the road.

The first thing a business owner should check is whether the name is available for use as a name for a business entity at the Virginia State Corporation Commission. If the chosen name is not available, keep trying until you have a name that you can use.

The exact name of the business entity, including the “Inc.” or “LLC” at the end, is the name of the entity and the name that has to be used if nothing else is done. These endings are what inform customers that they are not dealing with an individual, but a business entity when they do business with you.

Many people drop the Inc. or LLC and do not realize that by doing that, they individually are using the name and that the corporation or LLC is no longer involved in the business.

The business name should also be checked for violations of another’s trademark rights before using it. This can be easily checked online at the Patent and Trademark Office for federal trademarks and at the State Corporation Commission for state trademarks.

How does a business use just the good part of its name without the Inc. or LLC and how do multiple businesses use the same name, like in a franchise system? This is done by filing what is called a Certificate of Assumed Name – a fairly simple document that says what the business entity’s true name is, what name it wants to use in business and the address at which it will use the name.

This document gets filed at the Circuit Court in the jurisdiction where the business is located and a certified copy of that filing gets filed with the State Corporation Commission.

That way, members of the public can know that the McDonalds at a certain address is really owned by a franchisee called XYZ, LLC and not McDonalds Corporation. All of this information is available publicly, so everyone is considered to have access to it.

Jim Wilson is an attorney who works with people starting, buying, selling and financing businesses and franchises. He has almost 20 years’ experience working with small businesses in the Richmond area. You can contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
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Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


It’s going to be a cold weekend so if you’re headed out to the James River Parade of Lights or the Richmond Road Runners Club Toy Run 5K in Innsbrook, you’d better bundle up! If you’re looking for some indoor ways to celebrate the holidays, check out Three-Penny Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story for Christmas” or “To Drive the Cold Winter Away: An Irish Celebration of the Returning Light” at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church in Glen Allen. Also this weekend – the Henrico Theatre will show the holiday classic “Home Alone." For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The Unitarian Universalist Community Church, 11105 Cauthorne Rd. in Glen Allen, will present “To Drive the Cold Winter Away: An Irish Celebration of the Returning Light” at 7 p.m. Dec. 9-10. The Music & Arts Ministry of UUCC presents a full-scale winter extravaganza complete with costumes, adult choir, children’s choir, handbells, brass, dancers, drums and more. A $10 love gift is requested for persons over the age of 12. For details, visit http://www.uuccglenallen.org/winter-celebration-2016. Full text

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