Choosing a business name is something that many new business owners approach far too casually. This is an important decision in the life of your business.
Tips For Choosing Your Business Name
These tips should help you in the process of choosing your business name:
1. Don’t Pick a Long or Confusing Name. You want potential customers to be able to remember the name, spell the name, and associate the name with your business. Don’t choose a name that is too long, contains unusual spelling, or causes confusion about your business.
2. Is the Name Available? Obviously, if the name you are considering is already in use, you’ll need to choose a different name.
This can be difficult to determine, because in the United States each state has its own procedures for registering business names, and the federal government can be involved as well through its trademark and trade name registration laws.
If you are concerned about international rights to the name, that’s beyond the scope of this article. That can be extremely complicated and you’ll need professional advice.
A quick “seat-of-the-pants” approach is to begin by doing a search engine query for the name and see what comes up. If you see other businesses using the name or products with the same name, you’d be well advised to find a different name.
If you will operate in only one or a few states in the United States, you can go to the website of the state(s) in question and search the available name list.
For most states, this will be found in the business or entity section of the state’s Secretary of State, or it comparable office. Again, hit the search engines and search your state’s name and “business names.” That should get you to the state’s database of names where you can see if your name is available for registration.
3. Is the Domain Name Available? These days almost all business want to have an online presence. In order to do that, you need to have a domain name for your website.
Often you would prefer for this to be your company name. At the least, you don’t want a competitor to be able to put up a website with a domain name the same as or similar to your name. So, before deciding on a business name you should check to be sure the domain name is available.
Again, this is an easy step. Just search for domain name registrar (there are many) and use their name availability search feature to see if the domain name you want is available.
These are just the introductory considerations to choosing a business name. Obviously, depending on the size and scope of your business the process can be much more complicated, but these are the initial considerations.
Robert L. “Bob” Page is a licensed attorney with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. He is the author of the Kindle Book, Starting a Business: How Not To Get Sued By the FTC and he operates Affiliate Business Advisor, a website providing guidance to digital entrepreneurs.
Article by Robert. L. Page, JD