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What’s in a Name (for your Business)?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

by Kelly Weaver, Small Business Development Center Regional Director

 

One of the hardest decisions a new business owner can make is choosing a business name.  It is important to pick a name that reflects your business activity without being too restrictive. The name must also be available to be properly registered (both offline and online) and protected as needed.  Here are some things to consider in choosing your business name:

 

Keep the long term in mind.  While you may be the only employee or offering limited services to start, is that the long term vision for your business?  Choose a name that you can grow with, that presents a professional image and helps build your brand.

 

How will your name look?  Consider the many ways your name will be used - on the web, as part of a logo, on social media, on signage, in color and in black and white.

 

What emotions does it evoke?  Does it reflect your business philosophy and culture? Does it appeal to your market?  Are there any negative connections that could be made?

 

Is it unique?  Pick a name that hasn't been claimed by others, online or offline.  If you are choosing a fictional word or making a creative play on words, you may need to add a tagline to further explain what you do.  In addition to a web search, use these resources to check if a name is available: 

  • Check the fictitious name and corporate name databases at the SD Secretary of State’ office – www.sdsos.gov
  • Check the federal trademark database at www.uspto.gov
  • Check for domain names (web addresses) at http://www.networksolutions.com/ .  Keep in mind that your web address does not always have to be your business name but can be more descriptive of your services.  (For example, our new Small Business Development Center web address is SDbusiness help.com)
  • Check for social media names on facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Once you have chosen a name, be sure to register and protect it as necessary using these same resources. 

 

Changing a business name can be expensive in terms of time, money and brand awareness, so make this a priority as you plan your startup venture. 

 

For more information about this and other business topics, visit: business.usa.gov

 

Kelly Weaver is the Regional Director of the Small Business Development Center in Aberdeen which offers free, confidential business consulting to start up and existing businesses.  She can be reached at (605) 626-2565 or kweaver@midco.net.  The Center is hosted by GROW South Dakota (also known as Northeast South Dakota Community Action Program).

Category: GROW SD



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