If you think that coming up with a business name is an easy part of setting up a business, think again. If you care to build a reputation around your business activities, you need a cornerstone, which is the business name. This will also be a foundation for building your brand identity which is probably the most serious aspect of doing business.
Regardless of what many businesses end up doing once they start operating, the message you send across is the reason why your customers come to you. If you want to do this difficult task right, you should follow these steps.
Do The Research
If you want to start a business on a fair basis, you will do your research first. Taking a business name which already exists and could be associated with another business could extend some of their good reputations to your business. However, doing so would not be ethical, and in certain instances, it could also raise some legal issues. The best would be to check the local government registers and do online research to see whether you can find something under that business name.
Choosing A Name
People often go for a business name which is, in fact, their personal name. This is a name you can connect to and in a way, your reputation depends on your business’s reputation. In certain countries and states, if you choose to operate under your own name, you do not have to register it. On the other hand, if you want to protect it, you should. If you want to operate under a DBA (Doing business as) which is a fictional name, you should choose something that inspires and motivates you. Often, business owners choose a name related to their line of business, or something which can depict their intended brand image. Yes, you should start thinking about the brand image even before you start the business.
Brand Features In The Name
Speaking of the brand, there are several things you should keep in mind. First of all, what it is that you do and what type of mood and lifestyle do you promote. The mood is often set by the type of business you run. To give an example, if you sell funeral equipment you should be gentle and sympathetic, if you want to run an accounting business you should be serious and friendly, if you are selling toys, you should be cheerful and playful. Now, look again into your audience and look for things they find meaningful. Whether the name should be straightforward, metaphoric, or simply quirky, it is up to you and your audience.
Choosing A Domain Name
We live in a digital society and the power of your online existence should never be underestimated. While you do not have to have a domain name which matches your business name, it is definitely preferred. Before you officially register your business, you should check whether there is a domain name available which is the same as the business name you have selected. If it is not, perhaps you want to search a bit further. Having a domain which is an exact match will help your digital marketing strategies down the track.
Source: Secure Now Your Domain Name
Protecting Your Name
We have already touched upon the subject of protecting a business name. If you choose to operate as a limited liability company or a corporation, from the moment you register, the government authority in charge will not allow anyone else to use your business name. This way you will be claiming the right to the name, and even some deceptively similar names. As mentioned above, you can register your DBA to prove that you claimed the name first and you can always sue does who try to use. If you can prove you were the first one to get the name and you have built a business around it, you could get others that came after you to change their name.
Trademark Your Name
If you are looking to protect your name as the intellectual property, you should look into protecting it under the corresponding trademark law. Business names are not a subject to copyright, so trademark registration is your only answer. If you want to do this, you should have an original and distinctive business name which can in no way be confused with other trademarks. This will protect you from those who wish to use your hard work to their advantage. When registering a trademark, you can do it on a local level (within your state) on a federal level (nationwide), or on an international level.
Fighting For Your Business Name
Same business names can legally exist in different jurisdictions and there is nothing you can do about that. You can keep a close eye on your competition and pay attention whether there is a case of abuse of your business name. That is the only case when you should act and when you are required to act.
This could be literally by streamlining what would otherwise be your profits into their bank accounts by operating under false pretense, or by potentially damaging your reputation. You never know what another business could do to your brand by association and with their poor business decisions.
In such instances, you should hire legal assistance and sue the other business. You will be required to prove that you were the first one, that your business is active, and that it is at risk.
Choose a business name which will draw sales to you. You need something others will like hearing, something catchy and something people will want to associate with. To help you do your business, find a name you can stand behind. Take all the necessary steps to protect your good name. Do not wait for someone to expose it to risk, to only then start thinking about your claim to the name. Do it as soon as possible, from the very first moment you start planning your business.