chapter 2

HOW TO CHOOSE A COMPANY NAME

Everyone has their own idea about what makes a good name, but keep in mind that the name you choose will represent your business and the brand that you're seeking to build both now and in the future.

So, what's in a name? Being unique is a good start if you plan on trademarking it, but would you prefer to be clever, humorous, or descriptive? Is it memorable? Does your potential name lend itself well to building a website? How will it fit into your brand?

A good test when you're choosing a name is to live with it for a little while. Come up with something and make sure that you don't hate it in a week. You'd be really surprised at how often that happens. If the name grows on you, conversely, you might have yourself a winner.

Of course, choosing a name is fairly subjective. Some people choose to aim for something memorable while others simply try to pick a descriptive, clean name. The choice is up to you. But take care to get it right the first time. That'll save you the headaches and extra costs that come with rebranding down the road.

Here are some other famous rebrands:
ThenNow
Brad's DrinkPepsi Cola
Marafuku CompanyNintendo
Computing Tabulating Recording CorporationIBM
Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide WebYahoo!

Ensure the name isn't taken

Now that you've chosen your name, you want to make sure that it's available. For obvious reasons, you wouldn't be allowed to call your café by the same name as the one across the street. So, after you have a few name ideas of your own, it pays off to check if any are taken. Often times this means checking your state and local business registry—but you may also want to look into national trademarks, websites addresses, and social media.

If someone owns a website or Twitter account with your desired name, they may not stop you from officially registering your name, but they can make building an online presence more difficult. While marketing on social media may be a distant worry, carving out space online when you select your name will pay dividends in the end.

Registering your name

After you've done your homework and selected the perfect name for your business, all that's left is to register it. Registration can be handled in several ways:

  1. Incorporate your business

  2. File a DBA or "Doing Business As" (mandatory in some states)

  3. Register a trademark

After everything is filed away, you may want to consider trademarking your business name. A trademark isn't necessary to gain protection, but it provides legal benefits should you ever need to defend your newly minted name in court. You can take care of this down the line, of course, but trademarking isn't too difficult or expensive. We can help you register a trademark when you're ready.

estate-planning-tips
STARTING A BUSINESS TIP
"If the name of your business doesn't exactly (word-for-word) match the name of your company, then you must file a DBA before you can use the name in any marketing materials, contracts, etc."

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