The SBSUG’s Recommended Approach to Choosing a Business Name

We had fun talking amongst ourselves about the names we tossed around to name our business.

Originally, Braden wanted to use his full name, Braden Adam Drake, for his business, after thinking bradenadamdrakelaw.com would be too long, he considered a branding approach with his initials. Unfortunately, there was no great way to make BAD Law work. In the end, he opted for Braden Drake Law.

Michelle did successfully use her initials for her business name, MKW Graphics.  She named her business while chatting with her family over dinner one night.

Lauren originally explored using her family names of Miles and/or Allen in some sort of combination with consulting group. Right Hand came to her over a glass of Prosecco and dictionary.com.

ULTIMATELY, CHOOSING A BUSINESS NAME DOESN’T NEED TO BE THAT COMPLICATED, BUT GOING THROUGH THE PROCESS IN THE FOLLOWING RECOMMENDED STEPS SHOULD PROVE THE MOST EFFICIENT.


1. Brainstorm

Pick your first choice, as well as a couple of alternatives.

Take your time considering options. Think about your target audience and how your name will appear to that audience. Also consider the marketability of the name. Is it searchable? Is it easy to pronounce and spell? Is it memorable?


2. Initial Search


Do a basic Google search to see if any other businesses have your business name.

Obviously, if someone within a 30 mile radius has your chosen name, it’s not a great choice. If the name you want is not trademarked and is being used by someone outside your geographic area, that may be ok.


3. Search the Domain Name

Run a search on a website like “godaddy” or a similar domain provider to make sure the ideal domain for your chosen business name is available.

Also consider the alternatives to “.com” like “.biz,” “.tips,” “.net,” “.design.”


4. Check Social Media Handles

Ideally, you will have the same name on all channels to make yourself easy to find.

If your chosen name is available, go ahead and create your social accounts to reserve the names. You may at this point also want to go ahead and pay for your domain name if you would like to get it reserved.


5. Formal Availability Check

    Go to the Secretary of State’s website to send in a name availability inquiry request.


    6. Reserve domain name

    If you have not done so yet, go ahead and buy your domain.


    7. File Articles of Incorporation

    If you are going to form an LLC or Corporation, file your Articles. For those in California, visit: http://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs/business-entities/forms/. Check your state requirements, if you're outside of California.


    8. Hire a Graphic Designer

    Work with a Designer to create your branding like logos, colors, fonts, and photography styles.

    We recommend doing this at the end because you may not want to incur this cost and time until you have the stamp of approval from the state on your Articles of Incorporation.


    Filing a Trademark

    you can now, if you wish, trademark your name and logo.


     

      In conclusion . . .

      Using the above steps should provide a worry-free approach to choosing and securing your business name. We discuss each of these in more detail through the five phases of the SBSUG.


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