Choosing a name for your business can be more difficult than you first imagine. There is a lot to consider. For example, using the word 'candle' in your business name, may seem like a good idea, but it could make expanding into cosmetics difficult later (if that was a possibility). Likewise, having a name that is a bit quirky or fun may prohibit access to large retailers later, whereas having a bland name may prevent your brand gaining any traction. It's actually one of the biggest and most important decisions you will ever make!
You can name the business yourself, or enlist the help of a marketing company to help you decide.
In addition to the creative aspect, you need to ensure that you have the right to use whatever name you choose and that you protect your intellectual property. There are a few things we recommend you do before going firm on a name:
- Companies House Check. Check to make sure there are not already other businesses registered using your name and if there are, at least ensure they are not in your sector. You can check for limited companies here. There are companies online who charge for this service, but there are free tools on the Companies House website. The decision of whether to register as a Limited Company or work as a sole trader is beyond the scope of this article, but creating a limited company is inexpensive, simple and there are lots of companies online who can do this for you. 1st Formations for example have packages for under £100 that include Company Registration, VAT Registration, a domain name, a London Registered Office address.
- Trademark Check. Arguably even more important than checking for a company with the same name, you need to ensure that your new business does not infringe a registered trademark. To check whether your planned name is already a protected mark, you can search the Intillectual Property Office (IPO) website. If you are making candles, the trademark class is 4 - "Lubricants, Fuels and Candles". We recommend that you trademark any brand names that you wish to protect via the IPO. The cost is not prohibitive and it will offer you legal protection from copy-cats in the future. Some of our customers have been caught out with this in recent years and have been unable to defend their branding, when somebody else copies their ideas. The form used to submit a trademark application is a TM3. Further details can be found on the IPO website.
- Domain Name. There is a reasonable chance that you will want to use a domain name for your business, perhaps for a website and also for your email. You can check availability via most online hosting companies, including Go-Daddy, 123-Reg and many others.
We hope this article is useful.