The US Small Business Administration has a great resource with tips for choosing a business name. It outlines exactly how to go about choosing and registering your business name and how to find out whether or not a name or phrase you want to use has already been trademarked.
A major factor in deciding what name you will select for your business will be (or should be) whether or not you are able to purchase the domain name.
What I mean is, if you want to call your business “Susie’s Candles”, it's going to be important that you are able to obtain www.susiescandles.com in order to be able to really have a strong online presence.
I personally prefer to purchase my domain names from GoDaddy, but there are lots of services out there. To find out whether or not your domain name is available, you can go to GoDaddy and use the “find your perfect domain name” search bar to see if your domain name is available.
Depending on how you choose to set up your business’ legal structure, you will need to register at the state and possibly federal level. Don’t stress though: it’s not as scary as it sounds! For many crafty business owners, it’s as easy as registering your business name with your state and then getting a federal tax ID number.
Again, the US Small Business Administration has a wonderful, easy to navigate source that will show you exactly what you need to do depending on what state you are in.
In most areas, there are Small Business Development Centers (usually at a local University) that offer free support to small businesses who are looking to get started. You can search by state and zip code to find a center near you, then explore what they have to offer. For example, Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA (my alma mater) offers a wide array of resources for small businesses including free consultations, workshops, and other valuable tips.
I highly encourage you to seek out your local Small Business Development Center and take advantage of these valuable opportunities. Getting your business set up properly from the beginning will save you LOADS of headaches down the road, and having someone walk you through the steps will take away the frustration, overwhelm, and uncertainty that tends to be the biggest barrier to taking that next step.
Choosing a business name is important step in your process of becoming a business owner! Hopefully these tips give you some ideas on how to choose the right name, as well as setting up your online presence so that your business name is instantly recognized by your customers.
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