The Entrepreneur’s Corner

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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Richmond city, Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover county natural gas customers have a new number to call for their utility services.

The City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities has replaced its old number, (804) 646-7000 as well as 311, with it's new number, (804) 646-4646 for all calls relating to utilities. Utilities include natural gas, water, sewer, storm-water and electric street-lighting. > Read more.

Henrico County property transactions, July 10-16


A sample of property transactions during this period appear below:

3714 Pemberton Ave.- $105,000, 720 SF (built in 1957), from William F. Patton Jr. to Jessica Garcia.

510 Besler Ln.- $121,000, 964 SF (built in 1986), from Joseph and Coral P. Bolden to Taneen Marlow.

3502 Westcliffe Ave.- $140,000, 1,564 SF (built in 1947), from Benny H. Wilson Jr. to Benjamin A. Nyannor. > Read more.

FirstComp Insurance Company, Markel Corp. named top insurance carriers


Two Glen Allen-based insurance carriers have been named among the top such companies in the nation.

Markel Corp. and FirstComp Insurance Company (now owned by Markel) are among 38 carriers recognized on the Insurance Business America list of the top insurance carriers in the country. > Read more.

Walmart honors Citizen’s ‘Top Teachers’ during grand opening


The much-anticipated new Walmart Supercenter in Eastern Henrico opened to busy crowds last week, and company officials welcomed a special group of shoppers, too. > Read more.

‘It’s such a blessing’


On Independence Day, a Brazilian-born Henrico resident took the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance on the steps of the Virginia Historical Society and felt peace finally settle around her.

Jeanette Hamlett’s journey to U.S. citizenship is a story of faith and love, which she told with her husband, John Hamlett, by her side. > Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

July 2017
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