How to Name Your Small Business
A name says a lot about a business. It can virtually build or break a business. A good name will afford a business recognition, stature and repute. It speaks of the business’s operations, services or products. Coming up with a business name requires contemplation. There are many ways to come up with a name. The name can be a concept invented from what the business offers its customers. It can be a name that is relevant to what the business is all about. It can also be the owner’s name, plain and simple. No matter, the impact of a business name will be dependent on how well the business markets itself. Nonetheless, you need the name so that you can register the business, open a business bank account, create a website, and other marketing materials, etc. Here is how to go about naming your small business.
Verify that the name is available
Before you register your business under the chosen name, confirm that it is not taken first. There are a number of ways to determine this.
• Go through the business directory – This is an ideal way to find out if anyone has the same name. Get the business directory in your locale and scroll through the list of business names. You can go directly to your name of choice but, it’s worthwhile going through names that might be similar to what you’ve selected.
• Contact the Secretary of State’s office for confirmation – If you live in Minnesota, for example, call the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office to ascertain that there is no company registered under your name of choice. This is a sure way to clarify name availability.
• Use the internet – You can enter your business name into popular search engines and see if anything pops up. Use Google, Yahoo or Bing to verify that no other business has the name. Be very thorough when looking into this. Do not rush through it because it would be a drawback if you registered a name that already exists.
If the name is available, then you can go ahead and register your business. You should note that, a business name might be available but the domain name is not. It is important to have a business site and register your domain name as well. Again, use sites that will help you determine this. On GoDaddy.com, you can verify whether a domain name is obtainable. If it’s unavailable, choose another name. Similar to selecting a business name that is simple and memorable, your domain name should not be complicated. Refrain from using hyphens and other symbols to alter the name.
Understand trademark policies
You should gather information on trademark rules. This will assist you greatly when you are selecting a business name.
• Do not choose brand names as your business name. This will only bring about unnecessary complications for you. If you are not sure what companies are trademarked, you can get this information from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
• When initially looking for a business name, it may appear as though all the exclusive names are taken. However, do your research, in-depth, until you find something viable. This is the only way you will establish names that are not taken by other businesses. You will also be able to discover companies that are in the same line of business as you, and with the same name. Stay away from such names to avoid conflict and mix-ups.
You can opt to change the business name down the line if you so choose. Therefore, do not over exert yourself when you are coming up with a name. This does not mean that you should not practice due diligence. On the contrary, because a name bears so much weight for the business, something striking will be just right.
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