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What To Check Before Choosing A Business Name
There are a few things to check before you simply choose a name for your business. People are starting businesses every day. The likelihood that someone came up with the same name for their kennel as you is something to consider. To ensure you’re able to use the business name that you want, you should first run it through a few different domain checkers and trademark checkers.
A domain checker will determine if there’s any other website that already uses that domain. If they do, then you can’t use it. The Internet can only handle one domain at a time. Anything that the domain posts, the Internet links back to them. It’s also important not to simply put a 1 or 2 at the end of your domain. While this may overcome the domain checker, it may still impede the trademark checker.
It also isn’t great for business. Few people are going to click on the website with a 2 or 3 in its domain name over the domain with the official name.
The trademark checker is essential to ensure you don’t get sued later for stealing someone else’s name. Because it’s trademarked, it makes it illegal for other businesses or individuals to also use that name.
While your best bet is always to hire a lawyer who specializes in patents and trademarks, you may not have the budget to afford one starting out with your business. Instead, you can ask yourself a few questions to ensure you have a business name that advertises well and is safe to use.
Is It Easy To Say And Remember?
One of the most important aspects of naming your business is making sure it’s catchy. You won’t always be able to write down your business’s information for people. You may not even have cards to pass around. A catchy name can stick with people. A catchy name that’s also funny is golden.
Besides being catchy, it should be easy to say. You’ll want to stay away from names that are a mouthful. These are less likely to be remembered. Your clients are also less likely to use your services simply because they can’t pronounce your business. They don’t want to embarrass themselves. A simple name goes a long way.
You can test your business name on your friends and family. Does the name inspire them to place their pets in your care? Are they able to remember it a few weeks later? Doing a little bit of market research in your own backyard can help you determine whether your business name is a winner or not.
Is The URL Available?
The next step is to check and see if your business name is available as a domain. There are a few different domain checkers that you can use. Some even tell you if the website is live or dead. In regards to opening a business, it’s ideal if you can use a URL that matches your business’s name.
You don’t want to have to tell people to look up one name in order to find your business name. It can become confusing. Customers may not be sure if they’re at the right website.
If the URL isn’t available, then it’s a good idea to come up with another business name.
Are There Any Trademarks?
An even more important check is through trademarks and patents. Most licensed businesses will go another step to trademark their business name. This ensures that others can’t use the same name. It makes branding and advertising easier. You don’t have to worry about some other smaller business trying to steal your thunder by using your name and stealing your customers.
There are a few sites you can use to check whether a name is trademarked as well. The best one is the official United States Patent and Trademark’s Office site. It’ll show you any words or designs that use your business name. If it doesn’t report anything back, then you’re in the clear to use it. If it does, then you need to switch your business name or else risk being sued later.
Is It Available To Register As A Business In Your State?
The final step you need to take is in registering your business name through your state. You can check to see if there’s already a business with your name in your state by searching through your Secretary of State’s records. You’ll be able to easily get a list of business names by going to their business owner section.
Once there, you can type in your business name and see if it comes back with any results. It’s important to look out for businesses that have similar names to your own. They may be able to sue you for having a name that’s similar to their own.
Registering your business with your state is necessary. It can also enable you to purchase your new web domain legally, and with protection, against any web squatters that may use your business name hostage. They’ll require you to pay them a certain amount of money in order to release the name back to you.
Once you’ve checked that there aren’t any businesses with your shared name in your state, you can register your business and trademark its name.