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One of the most daunting business decisions startup entrepreneurs face is what to name their new business. You want a name that is cool and unique, describes your product or service, and is memorable. But at the same time, you want to avoid copying someone else, which can lead to complex naming rights challenges and legal issues down the road.

Here are four steps you can take to help simplify the process and find the most perfectly suited business name for your new venture:

Brainstorm

Take the time to come up with as many different words and phrases that come to mind when you think about your business, brand, and offerings. The more, the better! Doodling helps, and don’t worry if your sketches look like chicken-scratch. If you need more help with generating ideas, check out online tools like Namelix and Shopify’s Business Name Generator.

Evaluate

Now go through your list and identify 3–5 names that resonate with you. Think about why you like them and if they truly communicate your brand and what sets you apart. Test them out by asking what your family, friends, and colleagues think about them.

Research

You will need to conduct various searches to know the degree to which your proposed business names are being used in the world. Start by searching online to see what comes up. Does the name seem fairly unique or are there tons of results? Check to see if the domains are available. You can also search the Trademarks database in Canada and the USA. Another tool to assist you is a NUANS Report, which you can purchase from a local registry office. This report will tell you if the name is being used by others as a trade name, partnership name, corporation name, or trademark.

Generate

Create some sample logos and graphics for names that made the cut. Try to capture the spirit and essence of your business. You can design a logo yourself (if you have the skill) or hire a graphic designer. There are also free logo-making tools you can use like Hatchful, LogoMakr, and Looka.

Choosing a business name is a fun and exciting time! Remember to be creative—this will help you stand out from the competition and potentially mitigate naming rights issues down the road. It can be a bit of a process to find the right brand name, but it will be well worth the effort.

For more tips check out Naming Your Business and How to Choose a Business Name.


Ready to take your next step towards starting your business?

If you are looking for one-on-one support for your small business, give the Business Link Business Advisors a call at 1-800-272-9675 or email askus@businesslink.ca. You can also visit the events page for upcoming activities!

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David Bayda

David Bayda is one of Business Link's Senior Business Advisors. David provides exceptional client service leadership, collaborates with an amazing team, and offers one-on-one guidance and advice to entrepreneurs. He has extensive business knowledge covering areas like startup planning, trend research, Business Model Canvas, marketing, crowdfunding, event planning, and strategic growth. David also loves innovation and has experience in product design, intellectual property and tech. If you need creative ideas, he can brainstorm with you!

David's past startup experience includes running his own handyman business. He is also actively involved in various community initiatives, social causes, and always has an invention on the go!
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