A business name should be unique, creative, memorable, easy to spell but most importantly, it should define the business and its purpose. Your business name is the first thing customers see, that’s how they will find you, talk about you and recommend you to others. That’s why entrepreneurs spend many sleepless nights searching for the perfect name for their new business.
Choose a name that will not only impress your customers but also potential investors. Chances are, someone has already trademarked or bought the domain of the name you have mind. If not, you are very lucky but if so, you just have to keep brainstorming.
List down all the words that closely relate to your business and its products/services. Throw your name into the list as well. Then try mixing, merging and altering those words in cool ways and see whether you can come up with some interesting names.
If that doesn’t work, try using some business name generators which are freely available in the internet. But if you have already chosen a name for your business, the next step is to register it.
Your business name should be registered in order to prevent some other business from using it. This will create a public record which allows customers to know who is running the business in situations where they want to sue you or file a lawsuit against your business. In addition, you won’t be able to open a current account for your business if the name is not registered.
The following steps will guide you through the process of registering your business name.
Before diving in to the registration process, you have to make sure whether the chosen name is available or not. Your application will get rejected if someone has already registered your business name or something similar to it. You will not get any refunds for rejected applications so be sure to complete this step before moving on.
You can check the availability of your business name by visiting your country’s Trademark website and using the search tool they provide.
Next, check whether the domain of your business is still available. You can do this by going to godaddy.com and searching for the domain you are looking for. The last thing you want is to work hard for years developing your brand only to find out the domain has been bought by someone else.
You can continue to step 2 if your business name passed both the above checks.
A DBA statement, commonly referred to as Fictitious Business Name statement, forms a legal bond between the business and its owner, allowing customers to get information about the owner of a business when filing lawsuits. This is the easiest way to register a business. Law requires you to file a DBA statement if your business name isn’t the same as your personal name.
For example, if your name is John Doe and you want to start a business which sells electronic items under your own name, this step is not for you. But if you choose some other name like Doe Electronics, you will have to register it.
To file a DBA you need to visit your local country clerk’s office or just do it online from their website. Some states in the US might require you to put up a notice with your business name on a local newspaper for a certain period of time. There will be a small non-refundable filing fee of around $50.
A trademark will protect your business much better than a simple DBA would and will make property recovery much easier. While a DBA can only protect the name of your business, a trademark can protect all visual elements such as a business’s name, logo and slogan. Even the colors used in your logo will be recorded.
A trademark gives you exclusive rights to use your business name, logo and slogan anywhere you want. So if you are planning to conduct business on a national or global level, getting a trademark is highly recommended.
The cost for registering a trademark is much higher than that of a DBA filing. It will cost you around $200 – $300 and unlike a DBA, it may take several months for your application to be reviewed.
In a situation where someone has already trademarked your business name or something similar to it, your application will get rejected and you will not get any refunds. So if you really value your time and money, make sure your business name, logo and slogan are not trademarked by someone else.
Not all businesses are lucky enough to get a trademark. The uniqueness of your business’s visual elements play a huge part in the application reviewing process.