When it comes to choosing the right name for your business, you may want to look beyond just finding something creative and catchy. Many states have a law that if you want to open your own company under sole proprietorship you will have to open the company using your name in the title. If you don’t want your company to have your name you may have to file a fictitious name or trade name so that you are able to do business. You also will need to check with your state department to see if the name you choose for your business is in use or not. If it is in use, you will not be able to use the name. If the name that you want is already in use and you really want to use that name, you may be able to file your business under another locality since some names are only registered in certain areas. Another option is to file your business under a legal title name but do business under another name. That will require you to file papers using the term “dba” to let people that while the name they see is the name of the company, there is another legal name that is used tax wise.
If you want to just use the name in your state, you will need to file with your state’s Secretary of State’s office. The means though that someone could file the name of your company in another state and use it for their own company. If you want to create a trade name that no one else can use, you will have to file at the US Patent and Trademark Office.
If you plan on doing business overseas, you will have to register the name at the US office. From there, you can register for a trademark name through the Madrid Arrangement on International Registration of Trademarks. This allows you to do business overseas under one name without having to worry about another company is another country. While this will not protect you from every country in the world, it will at least protect you from the countries who do participate in the arrangement.
In this modern age domain names have almost become synonymous with trade names. The difference between these two is that domain names are not registered with the government. You can purchase a domain name for your company through various online businesses for a fee. Beware of people who site-squat, that is registering a domain name for a company and holding onto it so that they will be able to sell the registered name for a higher price. If this is your problem, you may want to investigate other domains such as .net to see if the name you want is still available. If it is not, you could consider slightly altering your company website or approaching the holder of the site so see how much they will be willing to sell the name for. If you seem too eager for the site though, the prices may rise. Always remember that there is another way for you to get your business a domain name.
While you will want your company’s name to stand apart from everyone else’s, take into account the audience that you are marketing to. If the name of your company is hard to spell or to remember, you may want to think about changing it into something easier. One pitfall to avoid here though is to avoid word play when it comes to choosing the name. While you may think it is catchy, some people will come to avoid that place either because they think that you are inexperienced or that you do not understand what needs they may have.
You will also want to investigate the meaning of the name. Certain words may mean different to people. The famous example of Coca-Cola when it went to China is a cautionary tale about how even a famous name can be translated wrong if you do not know who you are marketing to.
Many people believe that initials as a business name will be easy for people to remember. While it is true people will remember a business name easier that way, they may forget exactly what the business was for. It is better if you have in your store’s name what type of business you are. People are more likely to associate a store with the process. Famous stores such as K-Mart and Wal-Mart draw people towards them because in the name they mention what they are. They are a market (or now supermarket) so that people can remember going to shop.
Keep in mind that the name you chose for your business can be changed later yet it will be expensive and time consuming. There are many legal documents that you will have to go through in order for the name change to become effective. Not to mention you will have to change everything that has the companies name on it from the sign outside to the invoice papers. While it is true that you can change a business name as much as you like, it is generally better to pick a suitable name at first so that you will not have to go through so much hassle later.