Registering your business name in the U.S.A.? First things first. Is your business name best for your company? We take you through the steps.
Why does having the right business name matter?
You will want a name that is relevant to your business, resonates with customers, but more importantly, you would not want to settle on a name only to discover that it is too close to that of your competitors, or worse, taken. Deciding on a business name is a huge task, but a relatively simple process. These steps will put you on the right path to establishing your identity and registering your business in the business world.
Step 1: Brainstorm
On a blank sheet of paper, write down the following:
- Phrases and words that describe the benefits of your product or service.
- What and how you want customers to feel when they use your product or service.
You can also use online tools and resources like business name generators. They are easy to use, mostly free (depending on the degree they assist you) and can provide you with several name options. Be sure to check out the free TRUiC business name generator.
You may be launching your business in one state, but may want to expand to other states, or even internationally in future. Avoid using a name based on your geographical location or specific industry – it will limit your ability to expand to other locations or adding products or services.
Short and simple
Initially your business will rely on word of mouth advertising. Powerful names are short, easy to pronounce and spell. If you have difficulty saying it, your customers will too. Also avoid names that are longer than two syllables and contain hyphens and strange characters.
Make it catchy
While registering your business, it should be catchy and memorable. But make sure the tone is right. For example, a finance business will have more authoritative tone as opposed to a creative company that can be more unusual.
You now have four or five name possibilities. Move on to these steps:
Step 2: Test it
Ask family, friends, and potential customers for their honest opinion. Ask why they don’t like certain names and which ones create an instant impression. Also check that the names are not offensive in another language. What may appear funny to one person can be offensive to another.
You’ve settled on a business name. Now for the legalities:
Step 3: Keep it legal
Make sure the name is available. If it is trademark it. A trademark can protect the name of your business, goods, and services and prevent others in similar industries in the U.S. from using them. If the name you chose is too close to another company’s, go back to the drawing board. Trademark infringement may incur unnecessary expenses. To do a trademark search, consult the Federal trademark Database to see if it is available. Also make sure the name follows the state laws.
Check for domain availability
Check for domain availability (.com) and register it, irrespective of whether you plan to have an online presence now or in the future. Some business name generators instantly check domain availability.
Doing Business As (DBA)
A DBA, also known as a fictitious name, assumed name or trade name, allows you to operate your business under a different name from your legal, registered business name. This is useful if for example, your company name is not available as a domain name. Most states require you to register your DBA if you use one.
Your business name is the foundation of your brand. Follow the legal procedures to choose a name and you are set to register your business name.