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How to Choose the Perfect Name for Your Alberta Business
Choosing a business name in Alberta is a key component of your future success. A good business name can help you attract customers and build your brand. Getting it wrong means an expensive rebrand down the road.
Given the amount of time and money that you’ll spend marketing, creating goodwill, and associating your products and services with your corporate name, it makes sense to get it right the first time.
As incorporation lawyers, we’ve helped hundreds of business owners to select and register unique business names over the years. This guide will share some of what we’ve learned so that you can not only set your business apart from the competition but also prevent legal problems and help your business succeed in the long run.
Your business name should stand out, not cause confusion. Avoid copying other names in your industry.
Choosing a business name that sounds similar to a competitor might seem like a good idea, but it can lead to serious problems, including:
- Customer confusion
- Trademark infringement claims
- Problems ranking high in search engines
So don’t go start a friend mapping service and call it Placebook. Make sure to use search engines, phone books (if you can still find them), corporate name searches, and trademark databases among other things to look for any similar names already in existence.
If your preferred name sounds like something else out there, especially if it sounds similar to another business in your niche, you should probably find something new.
Secure Your Digital Footprint
When choosing a business name it’s important to make sure the domain name and social media accounts you want are available (Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). Adding an underscore or other unique identifier can be fine for many businesses, but if a social media presence is important for the growth of your business, it’s always better to secure the exact username you want.
You may also want to secure multiple domain names and/or multiple domain extensions (.ca & .com). If a domain name you want is already taken, it may be possible for you to negotiate a domain name transfer, but to do so will cost you time and money.
While you’re at it, don’t be enticed into thinking that any domain name extension will do. If neither the .ca or .com domains are available for your name, choose something different. An extension like “.pro” may sound cool, but potential customers are unlikely to try that when searching for your website.
Plan For Future Expansion
Don’t limit your name to geographic or local references unless you are sure your business will stay regional. If you plan on taking your Alberta-based business across borders, make sure your name resonates in those markets as well.
If you plan on carrying on business in other jurisdictions, your name search efforts (prior to choosing the name) should extend there as well. It’s not good for business (and can be a real pain) if you have to use a different name in other jurisdictions because you forgot to ensure that it was available.
Make it Memorable
Your business name is your first impression. Make sure that it’s a good one that’s hard to forget.
Although Bob’s Baked Goods may adequately describe what you do, it’s not exactly a head-turner. You want clients to remember your business name, not just what you sell.
Try choosing a business name that stands out from the competition. Skip overused words like “Apex” or “AAA,” as they won’t help you rank higher in search engines and make your business sound generic.
Consider Getting a Trademark
Registering a trademark provides protection for your brand across Canada, allows for easier enforcement against those who may try to steal it (whether intentionally or not), and provides advantages for domain name and social media account disputes.
If you want to trademark your business name now or in the future, your name will need to meet the technical requirements of the Trademarks Act. This means that you may want to get advice from a trademark agent before proceeding to the registration of your business name.
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