This is the first part in a blog series that follows Oscar, a prospective Albertan business owner who hopes to open a barbershop in Alberta. As Oscar gets his business off the ground, we’ll explore the steps entrepreneurs in Alberta must follow to start, grow, and protect their own businesses. In this chapter, we’ll see how Oscar chooses a name for his new barbershop.

On late nights and long car rides, Oscar would listen to his father’s stories of the local barbershop back home and the friends he made there. Oscar was inspired to build that sense of community in his own home of Edmonton, so after graduating from a local barber’s college he set out to bring his vision to life.

His formal education and years of clipping his friends’ hair in the family garage made Oscar an expert barber, but he was far from an expert in business. Thankfully for Oscar, he’d been an AMA member since the age of 16, so he knew the experts at AMA could walk him through each step to open the doors of his very own barbershop.

The first step on his journey was choosing a name for his business. How hard could that be? His AMA registry expert explained that the name of his barbershop should fit a few specific criteria:

Representative of the Business

Potential customers needed to know at first sight what his business was offering. In this case, haircuts in a friendly atmosphere. A name like “Oscar’s”, for example, could be a restaurant or a mechanic just as easily as a barbershop. Including a word that described the business type, like “barbershop”, or would communicate the service being offered, like “haircuts”, would ensure the nature of his business was clearly understood.


Oscar’s barbershop needed a memorable name. “Oscar’s Barbershop”, while accurate, didn’t have the staying power he was looking for. For his business name to be memorable, he needed something that would make his audience stop to laugh or think. They probably wouldn’t need a haircut when they first heard the name, so it had to be easy to recall when that need arose.


“Oscar’s Bareknuckle Barbershop” is memorable and clearly communicates the service his business offers, but it probably wouldn’t be appropriate for a family-friendly atmosphere, and it wouldn’t sound like the casual, community hang-out he wanted to create. He needed a name that could communicate the feeling his clients would get from a visit to his barbershop.

Legally Identified

Since Oscar wasn’t planning to incorporate, he didn’t need to include a legal identifier in his business name. If he chose to incorporate, either when he first opened or later down the road, he’d need to choose between Ltd., Inc., and Corp. to include in his business name. There isn’t a legal distinction between them, so he could choose based on what sounds and looks best with his business name.


Oscar needed a name that separated him from the other barbershops in town. In a competitive market like barbershops, it was hard for Oscar to know exactly who all his competitors were, but he didn’t have to rely on his search engine skills to make sure his name was unique. Through the AMA registry, Oscar made a NUANS Search Request and found that his preferred name was available: “2 Bits Barbershop”.

The Next Step

Having finally decided on “2 Bits Barbershop”, a throwback to the classic barbershop jingle his father would sing, Oscar was ready to take the next step: choosing a business structure. Thankfully his AMA registry expert was ready to help with all the relevant paperwork and reminded Oscar that all the registry services he needed could also be reached through the AMA website. With the right tools, a little guidance, and passion for his business, Oscars plans were all coming together.

Check back soon for the next part of Oscar’s story when we review the options small business owners have when choosing a structure, and what criteria they should use to make that decision.