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What's in a Name?

I know... I know... that cliché has been used hundreds of times to provide a quirky article or headline title.

But seriously, what is in a name?

What does your own name say about you? Is your First or Last name exotic, common, strong, or do you despise your name? Do people remember your name, or pause in thoughtful reflection when they hear it?

So now I need to ask... What will your business name be? Is it easy to hear when you say it over the telephone? Is it easy to spell? Is it easily recognizable? What will your business name say about your company?

Finding the right business name is a major challenge for new start-ups. As Corporate Paralegals, we see it every day. The most common frustration for entrepreneurs is finding out that not EVERY business name is register-able, and that finding a register-able name can become a tedious task. Your business name must not conflict with any other existing business names currently registered.

And with the significant increase in the amount of new businesses starting up, most companies are not able to register the name they initially want.

A great business name includes a Distinctive and a Descriptive element.

Your Distinctive element is what sets your company apart from everyone else in your industry. Having your name accurately reflect your corporate image and be recognizable to your clients should be your ultimate goal in creating your name.

Make it marketable and memorable.

A Distinctive name needs to be unique; therefore it should not be a word that can be commonly found in the dictionary.

Or your Distinctive element can be a small and memorable phrase. These qualities all make a great business name and trademark. Always keep the idea of trademarking your Distinctive element in the back of your mind. You might be starting off small now, but do not let your business name limit your potential!

Trademarks are the ultimate name protection, and they should be considered. If you have a name that can be trademarked... then you've got a name you can market.

We use the example of "Xerox" all the time. This is a fictitious and unique word. However, as soon as you read the word Xerox, you instantly thought of the company, or paper, or the photocopy machine that just broke down in your office. You knew what I meant instantly.

"Xerox" leaves a lasting impression on clients. In contrast, the name, A & B Consulting Inc. will be forgotten within minutes of it being spoken.

Your Descriptive element is very important as well. This will tell your customers what you do. Pretend you are skimming a magazine and you saw these 2 business names in the ads of the magazine.

Name 1: Loafin' Around Bakery Ltd.

Name 2: Apex Designs Inc.

You know immediately that Loafin' Around is a bakery and sells baked goods. You also probably chuckled at the name, which is great marketing.

Were you instantly aware of what kind of "Design" work Apex provides? Is it Interior Design, Architectural Design, Landscape Design, or even Clothing Design? The name is not descriptive enough to present a clear picture to you, the potential client.

The definite trend in the last few years is for people to try and stay away from including a descriptive element. Many business owners feel that describing their services can limit them. In a way, it can. Apex may provide both architectural and interior design services. Therefore listing only one service in the business name can certainly be seen as limiting.

However, registering a name without a description is too vague, and often not register-able. Most often the business name is just not strong enough without the description. I would not suggest trying a business name without a descriptive element unless your new business is going to have a VERY distinctive element, such as "Xerox".

Since the entrepreneurial spirit is so strong in Canada, it is becoming more difficult for businesses to find and register a name. A fantastic Distinctive and Descriptive element in your business name will simplify your incorporation processes and it will help in your marketing and trademarking efforts.

Accurately expressing your business services and wares in your business name will make your company name stronger as well as more identifiable to customers. Don't waste those first marketing moments; tell us what you do right in your corporate name.

Make sure to check out video guide on How to Build a Great Business name for additional ideas and hints.

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