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Starting a small business is a highly involved process. Once you have your product or service, you will need to write a business plan, select a legal structure for your business, research the competition, choose a location, create a marketing plan and, most likely, apply for business funding. One critical task in starting a small business is coming up with a business name.
This can be a complicated and time-consuming process. It is also very personal because the name you end up using will be the first thing people associate your company with. This Balboa Capital blog post explains how to choose a business name.
Revisit your business plan.
Before writing down potential business names for your company, it is good to revisit your business plan, values, and mission statement. This will help you develop names that communicate what your company is all about and its unique characteristics.
In addition, think of names that have longevity in the marketplace. Picking a business name that lasts will prevent you from changing it years down the road, requiring a re-branding campaign with new stationery, design, and signage, among others.
Choose a brand-worthy business name.
As you narrow down the shortlist of potential business names, make sure your favorites are worthy of your brand. The best names are those that are unique and memorable. Small and mid-sized businesses do not have the luxury of large marketing budgets; therefore, avoiding acronyms or obscure names makes sense. Typically, these require costly advertising campaigns to create brand awareness.
Once you have selected your favorite, check if the website domain is available. Additionally, you will want to promote your business via social media, so make sure the name you want is available for use on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Check for trademarks.
Many entrepreneurs run into trouble by launching companies with a name that might already be trademarked. You can avoid this by contacting the United States Patent and Trademark Office or using their website to see if your choice has been trademarked.
You can also hire a legal professional to facilitate the business trademarking process. A trademark protects branding and logos that distinguish business services and products.
Register your business name.
The final step is to register your business name or file a DBA. This informs your state government that you are running your company with a business name. If you are using your personal name, you will not need to file a DBA in most cases, but contact your state government or consult with an attorney to make sure.
Balboa Capital, a Division of Ameris Bank, is not affiliated with nor endorses the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.