When starting a business, many entrepreneurs get stuck.

Not in figuring out where best to source their raw materials, or stuck figuring out their process for creating finished products or even in finding willing and cash-paying customers.

They get stuck finding a business name.

If you’ve ever tried to name a new business, you know that it’s just as difficult as naming your first child. You ask yourself a variety of questions:

  1. Does this name accurately represent my business?
  2. Does this name promote the image that I want the business to project?
  3. Is this name taken?

The process is never a simple one, and almost always involves a long and lengthy process that involves examing the name from several different tracts, all of which revolve around various kinds of value: sentimental value, marketing value, and indicative or descriptive value.

Once the name is chosen, a business often wants to protect the name so no other business may use the same name. In other words, the business becomes territorial over the right to use the name.

When our office receives questions about this process, here’s what we advise:

  • Be sure that the name is unique and verify the name is available.
  • If the name is not trademarked or legally protected, the name could potentially be used. However, be prepared for the business with a similar name to legally challenge you in court over your use of the name.
  • Consider who had the name first, however, this does not mean that this will hold up in court should you be legally challenged.
  • Consider your industry, products/services, reach, geographic location of your marketplace and your target audience – local, regional, national or international. This includes online sales if applicable.
  • Once a name is chosen and it is determined unique, be sure to purchase domain names for a website and create a website so your business and its name will come up in web searches.
  • If you have similar words as another business in the name, consider altering or adding words unique to your business.

In conclusion, while there is no definitive way to name a business, there is a tried and true method to protect your business name.