The name you choose for your business is the first point of contact thing that potential customers see and interact with. As such, deciding the right name for your business is an incredibly important aspect of ensuring the success of your future business.
When determining how to name your business, there are three key factors to consider;
Your business name is the foundation off which you are able to build your long-term brand and it should be chosen with this in mind. It should be a name that can grow alongside your business and is memorable, unique and easy to understand. When choosing your operational branding strategy, it is important that you determine what kind of approach you are going to take. Will you operate your business under your full legal name? Or for the sake of a more streamlined approach will you choose to register a DBA/multiple DBA’s for your various subsidiary brand names? It will depend on how you are planning to manage your business and what kind of structure you are planning to have. During this brainstorming stage, it is advisable that you should come up with several options that you like and not limit yourself to just one or two.
Depending on what kind of business you have registered, there are many legal aspects of naming your business that you should consider. For LLC’s, there must be a clear indication of the nature of the business registration by including “LLC” or an approved derivative at the end of the name. A similar law applies to corporations, where they will need to use “corporation,” “company,” “incorporated,” “limited” or an approved abbreviation. The rules for what you can’t include when naming your organisation vary per state, but generally you are not permitted to use any words in your name that will attempt to mislead customers into thinking that your business is something that it’s not. You cannot, for example, be a business that sells homeopathic products and include the words “insurance brokers” in your name. You also cannot use any names that would attempt to pass your business off as a government institution or agency. The particular set of restricted words vary per state, but before you decide on a business name, you will need to conduct some research around your state regulations. In many cases you will be allowed to use some restricted words, but you will need to file additional paperwork to prove the nature of your business is indeed what you say it is.
As we touched on earlier, it is a good idea to choose more than one or two names for your business. This is because there may be a chance that the name you wish to use is already registered either with your state and the trademark office, or within the online space. An easy way to make sure that your name is available is to first of all do a web search for your business name to ensure that your preferred domain name is available and secondly to run a check on the U.S. Trademark Electronic Search System – which you can also find online – to see if this name has already been trademarked.
Steps to take when naming your business
Once you have settled on what you’re going to name your business, the first thing you will need to do is to reserve your business name with the trademarks office and purchase your preferred online domain name. After securing your business name, you will then need to start the process of registering your company and thereafter, if you are going to operate with subsidiary brands underneath your primary business, you will then need to register your DBA with the state.
Choosing the right name, although a seemingly daunting task, can – with effective research – be an exciting and illuminating experience. You are able to fully understand the direction you want the company to move into and are able to set your business up for long term success.