Starting your own small business is an exhilarating and challenging venture for any entrepreneur. One common challenge all entrepreneurs face is deciding on a business title. The company name is one of the first things a customer sees and relates to your products or services. When developing your company title, consider options that accurately represent your business to attract your target market.
Your business name represents your business and all the products and services under the company umbrella. As a result, your business name should have some meaning behind it, even if it is quirky and fun. Business titles should match the atmosphere you want to set, your target market demographics and business size. Some business titles work better in large corporate environments than for small mom-and-pop shops and vice versa. Avoid generic or trendy names, as they can lack the details and meaning that attract customers. Study the names your future competitors use for a sense of the industry but don't copy any aspects of their identities. Look for names that reflect your core business or some aspect of it. Now is not the time to be enigmatic.
The Small Business Administration recommends researching your potential names after you decide on a short list to prevent future legal hassles. The SBA also recommends evaluating potential names for use on a website or signage to determine the visual appeal of the name. It may be a good idea to test your new title or handful of title ideas with Google AdWords. If your small business plans to have a website, confirm the business name is not already taken as a domain name.
No part of your title or logo can infringe upon another business's name or logo. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has a trademark search tool to assist you in deciding on a legally viable name. Applying for trademarks on your business name and logo protects you from copycats and your customers from fraud. If you decide upon a business name that is not your own name, register your "Doing Business As" name at your county clerk's office or with your state government.
Selecting a business title is an important decision for every entrepreneur. If you need help with the legal or creative aspects of this process, you can hire help to take the necessary steps correctly and safely. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, naming firms have elaborate systems that can help you discover the right name for you with prices ranging from $50 to $80,000. These naming firms are well versed in trademark laws that protect their clients. Although the low-cost naming firms are not as comprehensive, they are affordable, and small business startups need to reserve their capital to attract customers, launch the business and meet ongoing business expenses.