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How to Register a Business Name in Colorado in 2023

    How to Register a Business Name in Colorado
    (Last Updated On: September 18, 2023)

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    Looking to establish your business presence in Colorado? Registering a business name in Colorado is a crucial step to ensure legal compliance and brand recognition. This picturesque state offers a straightforward and efficient registration process catering to various business structures.

    Whether you choose an LLC, corporation, or trade name, we’ll guide you through the steps to register your business name in Colorado. For added convenience and expert assistance, consider utilizing ZenBusiness, a trusted partner that can streamline the registration process and help you focus on building your business. Let’s get your entrepreneurial journey started in the Centennial State!

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    4 Steps to Register Your Business Name in Colorado

    Registering your business name in Colorado is a critical step towards establishing your entrepreneurial presence in the Centennial State. To guide you through the process, here are four simple steps to officially register your business name in Colorado:

    Step 1: Choose Your Business Structure in Colorado

    When starting a business in Colorado, one of the crucial decisions you’ll make is selecting the appropriate business structure. The choice you make will depend on the nature of your enterprise and your growth plans. Let’s take a closer look at the various options available and how they function in Centennial State.

    Keep in mind that registering your business with the Colorado Secretary of State is only necessary if you opt for a structure that requires incorporation. Here are the different options to consider:

    Sole Proprietorship

    A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure where the owner and the business are considered the same legal entity. This means the owner is personally responsible for the company’s debts and obligations. Setting up a sole proprietorship in Colorado is easy, involving minimal legal and administrative requirements. Although you don’t need to register it with the state, obtaining local permits or business licenses might be necessary.

    General Partnership

    A general partnership involves two or more individuals sharing the business’s profits and losses. Each partner is personally liable for the company’s debts and legal responsibilities. Unlike corporations, you don’t need to register a general partnership with the state, but you may have to file a “Colorado Assumed Name Certificate” (DBA) in the county where your business operates.

    Limited Partnership (LP)

    In a limited partnership, there are general partners responsible for managing the business and having unlimited personal liability and limited partners who contribute capital and have limited liability. To establish an LP in Colorado, you must file a “Certificate of Limited Partnership” with the Colorado Secretary of State.

    Limited Liability Company (LLC)

    An LLC provides flexibility by combining liability protection similar to a corporation with the tax advantages and simplicity of a partnership. In Colorado, forming an LLC requires filing “Articles of Organization” with the Colorado Secretary of State and creating an Operating Agreement to outline the management and ownership structure of the company.


    A corporation is a separate legal entity from its shareholders, offering limited liability protection. Colorado has two types of corporations: C-corporations & S-corporations.

    • C-corporations have more complex tax structures and are subject to double taxation (taxed at both corporate and individual levels)
    • S-corporations enjoy pass-through taxation, where profits and losses pass directly to the shareholders’ personal tax returns, avoiding double taxation

    To create a corporation in Colorado, you must file “Articles of Incorporation” with the Colorado Secretary of State, depending on the specific type of corporation. Corporations typically require more formalities, such as creating bylaws, issuing stock, and holding regular board and shareholder meetings.

    Carefully consider the business structure in Colorado that best suits your needs regarding liability protection, taxation, and management requirements. If you need assistance in making this decision, don’t hesitate to consult with a legal or business professional.

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    Step 2: Select a Unique Business Name in Colorado

    Selecting the right name for your business in Colorado goes beyond mere creativity; it involves adhering to state regulations and ensuring uniqueness. Let’s delve into the essential aspects of picking a business name in Colorado:

    When registering a business in Colorado, it’s crucial to have a unique legal entity name that serves as the official identifier for your company in the eyes of the state. This means no other business should share the same name as yours.

    Colorado’s naming laws have specific guidelines regarding the use of company suffixes like LLC, LP, or Corp. Additionally, the chosen name must accurately reflect the type of business you’re registering. To check if your desired name is available, you can refer to the Colorado Secretary of State’s business database.


    A trademark provides intellectual property protection for your business name or logo at a national level. It’s vital to conduct a thorough trademark search in the USPTO database to ensure that your intended name or logo hasn’t already been registered by someone else.

    Registering a trademark grants you exclusive rights to use the name or logo for similar goods or services nationwide, protecting your brand identity. However, it’s essential to note that obtaining a trademark does not automatically guarantee unrestricted use in all circumstances.

    Trade Name (DBA) Option

    In Colorado, you have the option to operate your business under a different name than its legal entity name. This alternate name is known as a Trade Name or Doing Business As (DBA) name. To register a trade name, you must submit a Statement of Trade Name to the Colorado Secretary of State.

    While trade names are subject to federal trademark laws, they are not necessarily required to be unique at the state level. This flexibility provides you with more options when choosing how your business will be recognized and promoted.

    By carefully considering and selecting these naming options in Colorado, you can not only register your business name successfully but also safeguard your brand identity with the appropriate legal protections.

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    Step 3: Check Business Name Availability in Colorado

    Before officially registering your business, it’s crucial to ensure that the name you wish to use is available. Here’s a step-by-step guide to conducting a thorough business name availability search:

    To begin, check if your desired business name is already trademarked. Federal trademarks take precedence over state-level registrations. Visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website and use the TESS Search to perform a federal trademark search. If your chosen name is already trademarked, you will need to select an alternative business name.

    >> File a Trademark with IncFile >>

    Once you confirm that your name isn’t trademarked, proceed to verify its availability at the state level. Utilize the Colorado Business Database Search tool to look for registered business names in the state. During your search, ensure that not only your exact business name but also significantly similar names are not already in use by other businesses.

    After confirming that your business name is available and not trademarked in Colorado, it’s wise to check if the .com version of the name is also available. While not all businesses may require a website, it’s recommended to secure the .com domain of your business name if possible.

    By registering the .com version of your business name with ZenBusiness, you ensure that no one else can begin to use that website name. Since it’s an affordable way to protect your business name from being used by someone else.

    By following these three steps, you can confidently choose a business name that’s legally available and distinguishable from others in Colorado.

    Step 4: Form Your Business With the State of Colorado

    After finalizing your business structure and name, the next crucial step is to formally register your business with the state of Colorado. This process establishes your business as a legal entity and ensures compliance with state regulations.

    For a Colorado LLC, you need to submit the Articles of Organization to the Colorado Secretary of State. This can be conveniently done online. On the other hand, if you’re forming a Colorado corporation, you’ll need to file the Articles of Incorporation with the Colorado Secretary of State.

    You May Also Want to Know

    Protect Your Business Name With a Trademark

    Once you have confirmed the availability of your chosen business name and secured it, you have the option to safeguard it further through trademark registration. This process involves applying for a trademark, which typically costs between $225 to $400, plus any attorney fees. Additionally, a renewal fee is required every 10 years.

    While trademark registration can be a significant investment, it offers nationwide protection under federal law. This protection grants you the legal advantage if others attempt to use a similar name for their business. For most small businesses operating locally, this level of protection might not be necessary unless there are plans to expand nationally.

    >> File a Trademark with IncFile >>

    How to File a Colorado Fictitious Name – DBA?

    To file a Colorado Fictitious Name, also known as a Doing Business As (DBA) name, follow these simple steps:

    1. Choose a Name: Select the fictitious name you want to use for your business. Ensure it’s unique and not already in use by another business in Colorado
    1. Verify Availability: Check if the chosen name is available for use by conducting a search on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website or database
    1. Complete the Form: Obtain the appropriate DBA form from the Colorado Secretary of State’s website or office. Fill out the form with accurate information, including your business name, address, and the chosen fictitious name
    1. Notarize (If Required): Some counties in Colorado may require notarization of the DBA form. Check with your county clerk’s office to see if this step applies to you
    1. File the Form: Submit the completed DBA form to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, either in person, by mail, or online, along with any required fees
    1. Publish (If Required): In some counties, you may need to publish a notice of your fictitious name in a local newspaper for a specific period. Check with your county clerk’s office to see if publication is necessary
    1. Renew (If Applicable): DBA registrations in Colorado may have expiration dates. Make sure to renew your fictitious name registration as required by the state

    That’s it! Once you’ve completed these steps and your DBA registration is approved, you can use your chosen fictitious name to operate your business in Colorado. Remember to comply with any ongoing requirements, such as renewals, to keep your DBA in good standing.

    How to Change the Name of a Colorado Business?

    Should you need to change the name of your Colorado business, there are two primary methods to consider:

    • Trade Name (DBA Name): This option allows you to operate your business under a different name without altering its legal name. It’s especially suitable for sole proprietorships, general partnerships, and even LLCs and corporations. By using a trade name, you can avoid the need to file an amendment, simplifying business operations. This is particularly useful for those who want to operate under a brand name without the required suffixes, such as LLC or Inc.
    • Amendment to Legal Name: If you decide to change the official legal name of your LLC or corporation, filing an amendment is the appropriate course of action. This involves submitting the necessary paperwork, such as the Certificate of Amendment, which can be done online, along with a filing fee of $25.

    By following these steps, you can successfully establish and maintain your business in the state of Colorado.

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    Business Name Registration Laws in Colorado

    In Colorado, business name registration is typically done through the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. Here are the key points to consider:

    • Name Availability Search: Before registering a business name, it’s crucial to conduct a name availability search to ensure that the desired name is not already in use by another business. You can check for name availability on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.
    • Trade Name Registration (DBA): If you want to operate your business under a name other than your legal entity name (e.g., “ABC Company” doing business as “XYZ Services”), you’ll need to file a Trade Name Registration, also known as a “Doing Business As” (DBA) registration. This is typically filed with the Secretary of State’s office.
    • Entity Name Registration: If you’re forming a new business entity (e.g., corporation, limited liability company), you’ll need to choose a unique business name during the formation process. The name will be checked for availability as part of the entity formation filing.
    • Reserving a Name: If you plan to start a business but are not ready to register it immediately, you may have the option to reserve a business name for a specific period. The name reservation can usually be made through the Secretary of State’s office.
    • Trademark Considerations: Registering a business name with the state does not provide trademark protection. If you want exclusive rights to use the business name, you should consider applying for a federal trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
    • Additional Requirements: Depending on the nature of your business and the industry, there may be specific regulations or requirements that you need to meet before starting your operations.

    To get the most up-to-date and accurate information about business name registration laws in Colorado, it’s recommended to visit the Colorado Secretary of State’s website or consult with a legal professional familiar with Colorado business regulations.

    Bottom Line on How to Register a Business Name in Colorado

    In summary, commencing the registration of your business name in Colorado marks the exciting start of your entrepreneurial odyssey. Through the careful selection of a unique business structure and name, fulfilling essential registrations, and considering the significance of trademark protection or a DBA name, you establish a solid foundation for triumph.

    Additionally, making use of the expertise and assistance of ZenBusiness can provide invaluable support throughout the registration process, easing your path to success in Colorado.

    With boundless enthusiasm and unwavering determination, you set forth on a remarkable journey, making your mark on Colorado’s thriving business landscape. The future holds great promise as your registered business name leads the way.

    >> Use ZenBusiness To Register a Business Name in Colorado >>

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