A business name is a very important aspect of forming a business because it is the first thing that people notice or see when crossing paths with your business. Your business name can make or break your business. It is important to pick a name that will attract customers and at the same time label the purpose of your business in a way that people know what type of business it is without much thought.
When choosing a business name, there are several guidelines that should be followed. Of course, the name you choose should be legal valid and should comply with all the various business regulations in your area. For example, you’d want to choose a name that isn’t being used already; you’d also want to include any indicators required by law, such as the letters “Inc.” at the end of the name if it’s a corporation.
In addition, you will want to choose a business name that will attract business to your company. Here are some more tips for choosing a business name that can help benefit your company:
- Simple and Easy: The business name should be easy to remember: ideally, it should be short, easy to spell, and not confusing to the average person
- Use a name that has a meaning: Your business name should indicate something about your business products or services: for example, if you’re selling cookies, you may want to make a reference to cookies or baked goods in your business name
- Use a name that has a Business purpose: The name should include purposeful, intentional connotations: For example, a company named “Brickwork Moving Company” suggests a stronger, more reliable service than “Straws & Sticks Moving Company”. Be aware of which words you include in your business’ name
- Visually Appealing to the eye: The name should be visually appealing: You may want to incorporate images and colors in the way that the name will appear, especially if you’ll be making a company logo.
- Avoid Initials: Large companies sometime has initials like "IBM", but a new business should avoid this.
- Make sure you can trademark the name: Check to see if the name can be used or if it will lead to trademark infringement
- Make sure its not false or misleading: Avoid any names that is deceptive to consumers
- Be Fun: Sometimes having a fun and catchy business name is better and more appealing than a technical boring name
In most cases, simply registering your business name with the county might not actually prevent another company from being able to reference or use your business’ name. In order to protect your business name from unauthorized use, you’ll likely need to get the name trademarked.
Registering a business name as a trademark is a detailed process that involves the submission of all of the words and images associated with your business’ name. You’ll definitely need to research for existing business names that are already trademarked, because you can’t use a name that’s already trademarked.
If there is a conflict as to who can use a certain business name, it may require evidence that your company used the business name at an earlier date. On the other hand, if another company is trying to use your trademarked logo, it may be possible to sue them for damages if the unauthorized usage causes your company to lose profits.
If you are not satisfied with the name of your business, you can always change the name. Changing a business name might be hard and expensive for some businesses that have already branded their name on equipment and merchandise. For all business except sole priopietorship, you must first notify your state and follow the procedures set of by the secretary of state. You may also need to notify your state taxing entity of your new business name for tax purposes.
Disputes over business names can be costly and time consuming for your company. In order to avoid such legal disputes, you may wish to hire a business lawyer at the outset when you first choose your company name. Your attorney can conduct thorough research to see which names are available for your business, and can also help if you’d like to get your name trademarked. An experienced lawyer can also represent you in court if you need to file a business lawsuit.