Choosing a small business name requires delicate balancing of various factors to ensure that it does not only stand out but also stays on the right side of the law. Getting the right name for a small business has got trickier with today’s tools for marketing both online and offline. Changing a business name can have serious consequences. Here is an example.
A business website should ideally feature the name of the business. Changing the name requires changing the website name and logo. While making the change may not be complicated, it creates its own complications. Search engine rankings will suffer, and the brand already associated with the business in various places, including blogs, forums and social sites will lose relevance.
Coming up with the right small business name requires time and effort. The following tips cover the important angles to consider.
Many small businesses start out as solo or freelance operations, and the owners often choose their own names. Unfortunately, such names do not usually portray a professional image required to build brand awareness. The name must be able to scale with the growing business without becoming irrelevant.
Points to consider when choosing a small business name include:
• Appearance – on an advertisement, a logo, business card, social site and the Web at large
• Uniqueness – a name that resembles the name of an existing business will not only confuse customers but also risk charges of trademark infringement
• Sound – the chosen name must be easy to pronounce
• Clear – the name must not have potentially offensive undertones or have embarrassing spellings
• Connotations – the name must appeal to target market and reflect business philosophy
The name must include important keywords for the small business and be available. A simple search of domain names will determine whether the name has already been taken.
The cost associated with trademark infringement can easily break a business. Trademark search tools help to find out whether the selected name or its variations have already been registered.
If a business is to be incorporated, it can still operate under the proposed name even if another business is already using it so long as they are in different regions or offer different goods or services. However, the name must still comply with relevant state naming requirements.
When making searches, it is important to include misspelled versions of the small business name, similar sounding names and synonyms.
If the desired domain name is available, it must be claimed without delay. Procrastination is risky considering the fast rate at which domain names are claimed. It is also important to claim social media identity.
Filing for a trademark helps in protecting the business name, including logos and symbols associated with it.
People often confuse this with registering a business name. Businesses operating under personal names do not have to be registered, and the registration does not offer trademark protection. The necessary steps for registering “Doing Business As (DBA)” names differ from one state to another.
The pull to become an entrepreneur and take your future into your own hands is strong for a large percentage of the population currently struggling to find fulfillment in a 9-to-5 job. Many want to learn how to start a small business and succeed with it so they can do what they really want with their life. It is important to know the steps to take to make sure the business is a profitable and manageable one once you decide what business to start. The first step is, however, deciding what type of work best suits you.
Start a small business by choosing one that suits your personality, capabilities and also offers the potential for real earnings and growth. The general rule of thumb, whether you want a brick and mortar establishment or an online company, is to find some products or services to sell that are in demand and do not have tons of competition already. If there is a lot of competition, you must be able to offer something truly unique, such as extra options, cheaper price or the best customer service anywhere. Popular options include retail or e-commerce of everything from clothing to craft supplies, service industries from auto detailing to freelance web design and businesses that provide help to people who need it.
Once you figure out what type of company to start, you need to know how to start a small business step by step.
One: Set Up Your Business Entity
Start a small business by registering for a fictitious name at your local government offices if you are doing business under another name. Get any applicable licenses and resellers permits that coincide with your state's sales tax laws if you are selling tangible goods or services. Decide on an accounting method and get business bank accounts.
Two: Get a Location: Real or Virtual
Whether it's office space, a retail shop or only internet space, every company needs a location. In fact, even real world locations should have a website as well, since most people shop and search online these days. Pick a location with good traffic and without too many competing businesses nearby. Have a website professionally designed.
Three: Acquire Products or Determine Services That Will Sell
You should already have some idea of the products or services you will offer before you get to this point. Make relationships with wholesalers or distributors of the product lines you wish to use, or get involved with affiliate programs for existing shops online. Affiliate marketing remains one of the most lucrative online businesses around.
Four: Marketing & Advertising
Up to this point, you've learned how to start a small business, but this is the main step in building a business that is profitable long term. Marketing, both online and offline, is the long term practice that will determine if you will still be around years from now or if your company will fail.