Launching a new business is exciting. You have an idea, and you have figured out how to implement it to create a business, but you need to set up your business first. Many people jump into naming their business. They come up with something descriptive or catchy or even use their own name. Before you do that–consider these steps.
- Research the name you have selected. There are over 31 million small businesses alone in the United States – which means that your name might be similar or the exact same as another business. While it might not be a bad thing to have the same business name as another business, depending on the similarity of the business, it could affect your ability to brand and protect your name as your business grows.
- Do not be too narrow in your name choice. The name you choose should represent your business now and when you grow. For example, if your business name identifies you as a pastry shop and you later decide to become a café, consumers will have difficulty identifying your service by your name.
- Do not use initials unless they give meaning to your business. Initials are easily forgotten or confused. While CVS is easily identified by its consumers, it was only abbreviated to this after the store had made a name for itself.
- Check with your Secretary of State to see if you can set up your entity in the name you have chosen. Since there are so many businesses out there, there is a chance that you may have selected a name that has already been taken. If you want to set up an LLC or INC, then you will need a name that is not already registered with the Secretary of State, or yours will be declined.
- Consult a Trademark Attorney to ensure you can Trademark the name. If you intend to build a brand that is easily identified by its name, like Jimmy Choo or Apple, this is an important consideration. A trademark gives you rights to your name as against similar competing businesses, ensuring there is no confusion between you and your competition.
If you take the time to go through these steps, you will find a name that uniquely identifies your business and will give you a brand you can grow and protect.
This article is provided by Katie Charleston, attorney and business owner of an award-winning law firm, Katie Charleston Law, PC. Her nationwide practice focuses on asset protection through trademarks and advanced legal planning.