How To Choose Your Business Name

An image of a small business owner who has just registered his business name for his bike shop.

American educator and journalist Morris Mandel once said, “A name is the blueprint of the thing we call character. You ask, What’s in a name? I answer, Just about everything you do.” This holds true not just for people but also for business names. Your company name is more than just a label of your products or services. It is a reflection of your business values, scope and brand identity. Hence, choosing an appropriate name for your business from the beginning is essential.

As easy as it sounds, finding a good business name takes a lot of brainstorming and research. Here are some tips to help you with the name.

The Five Must-Haves of a Business Name:

  1. Simple: Think of all the biggest brands and businesses you’ve heard of. Most are one-word names such as Apple, Nike, Amazon, Sony, Shell, Alphabet and many more. What is the moral of the story? When it comes to business names, keep them short, simple, and easy to say.
  2. Unique: Your business name makes the first impression on prospective customers, so it’s of utmost importance to ensure it’s unique and stands out among the names of other companies.
  3. Appropriate meaning: Many words and names have different meanings in different languages and cultures. It is best to thoroughly check the various meanings of your selected company name before making it official. You wouldn’t want to end up with something with a negative or derogatory connotation in any part of the world.
  4. Relevant: Sometimes businesses pick a trendy or “cool” word in current times. However, such trends or hashtags change regularly. A corporate identity, on the contrary, stays with you forever. So consider choosing a timeless name that is relevant, practical and reflects the values of your business.
  5. Memorable: Many business and brand names have become synonymous with characteristics like quality or integrity. You shop by brand names because you are assured of the best product and service. While it takes time for any business to build a healthy reputation, having a distinctive name makes it stick in customers’ memories and gives you an edge over competitors. Remember, one day, your business name might well turn out to be its most significant selling point.

Once you have settled on a simple, memorable, and appropriate name for your business, you must make it official.

Registering Your Business Name:

Your organization’s name is one of your most significant business assets. Thus, protecting it from potential theft or misuse is extremely important. For this, it is essential to first register your chosen name. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Check availability: Many businesses or persons often register multiple names for future ventures. It is always better to check if your preferred name is taken by someone else. If so, you could face a trademark infringement issue. Try searching the internet for companies with the same name and, if existent, see their country or region of registration. You can also check the Canadian corporates and trademark database (Nuans) and the Canadian business registries to ensure the name is available.
  2. Determine your business structure: Are you a sole proprietor partnership or corporation? In the case of a sole proprietorship under your personal legal name, you usually don’t need to register it separately (but rules are different in different provinces, so it’s better to consult an expert). In the case of other business structures, you will have to register your business name either federally, provincially or territorially, depending on the nature of the business and its scope.

Federally incorporating your business name gives it national protection, meaning no other business in the country can use that name. Federal registration is the best if your company is scalable and you plan to expand nationally. Provincial and territorial registration means your company name can be exclusively used by you only within your province or territory of incorporation. This process can be done online after filling in all necessary information.

  1. Registering a trade name: Sometimes, a business could be incorporated under one name but have a different operating name. For instance, your organization’s name might be ThinkThrive Solutions Inc. But for all practical and marketing purposes, you might be using ThinkTank. In this case, ThinkTank would be your trade name, which must also be registered for your exclusive use.
  2. Trademark: Apart from incorporating the name, you can also trademark your organization’s name. It will give you national protection of your trademarked name for 15 years within Canada and can be renewed indefinitely. Trademarking enhances brand value as no other business can use that name in any capacity or for commercial purposes. Any attempts to do so will considered as an act of trademark infringement.
  3. Domain name: What’s a business without an official website? For this, you must register a domain name or URL that is, if possible, exactly or nearly identical to your business or trade name. Domain names also have to be checked for availability. If a name is already taken, you can contact the domain name owner and try to negotiate a deal to buy it from them. However, if your preferred name is unavailable, you can also select any name that suits your business – no rules or restrictions exist.

Having done the above steps, your registered, unique company identity can begin building a reputation. Identifying a name for your business is an emotional experience for most business owners. However, making sure the name is commercially viable is equally essential. A business consultant can help you discover the true potential of your company name and unlock its brand value in the long run.

Contact Edelkoort Smethurst CPAs LLP in Burlington for Your Business Consulting Needs

A professional business consultant can help you align your business strategies towards one goal, starting from finalizing a corporate identity/title and logo and making it a memorable brand. To learn more about how Edelkoort Smethurst CPAs LLP can provide you with the best business consulting expertise, contact us online or by telephone at 905-517-2297.