Great business names are hard to come by, and just about anything you think of is taken by another company. That’s why it’s important to spend the time to select a business name that is both meaningful and authentic to you.
Start with a Business Name Search
The purpose of a name search is to discover any business names that are already trademarked by other companies. Ownr’s name search tool allows you to perform unlimited name searches for a one-time cost. That may sound like too many, but we urge you to take advantage of as many as you can think of. Why? First, you just don’t want to get in any legal trouble by choosing a name that’s already been trademarked or registered by someone else.
Second, you want your business name to be distinct and stand out from your competition. Choosing a distinct business name is one of the most effective ways to make that happen.
Finally, give yourself as many options as possible. In the event that the business name you select is not accepted by the government, instead of starting the process again, you’ll have plenty more to consider.
How business name search works
To make sure your business name is unique, the verification process goes through three checkpoints:
1) Trademarked names
2) Corporate Business Names
3) Business Registration in the province you’re registering
Ownr scans through each of these checkpoints to provide a list of both exact and similar name matches. After viewing similar matches, it’s up to you to decide on whether or not to go ahead with your business name. If one of the business names you search is called “Alien Surf Dogs,” Ownr will filter similar matches for Alien Surf Dogs. Alien Surf Cats or Extra Terrestrial Surf Dogs may show up in the search, at which point you’ll make the final decision.
Ownr’s name search tool can help you from inadvertently registering a business name that is trademarked or already belongs to an existing business.
Distinctive and descriptive business names
Business names that stand out have two traits: they are distinctive and descriptive.
Distinctive Business Names
A distinctive name is what distinguishes your business from others. If your business name is Suburb Plumbing, then “Suburb” is the distinctive element that separates your business name from other plumbing businesses.
Descriptive Business Names
Using the same example, if “Suburb” is your distinctive element, “Plumbing” is your descriptive element. It describes the function of your business so consumers understand the products and/or services offered by your business.
In some provinces, it’s absolutely necessary that you include both a distinctive and descriptive element to your business name. Even if you’re in a province where this isn’t required, it’s strongly recommended that you consider this naming convention because doing so makes for a strong business name and increases your chances of standing out.
Choosing your business name
Get out your pen and paper (or whiteboard and dry erase markers), because it’s time to find some inspiration for your business name. There are a few ways to do this exercise, so let’s get started!
Use your founder story
Why are you starting a business? Is there an emotional story behind why you’ve decided that now is the best time to become a business owner? Take a company like Oracle, for example. Co-founders Larry Ellison and Bob Oates were working on a secret project for the CIA with the same name. They thought it was cool so when it came time to name their company, Oracle it was.
Consider IKEA founder Ingvar