Naming your business
Choose the name for your business carefully. It will precede you wherever you go!
What's in a name?
The right name can be an effective advertising tool that can help your customers understand what your business does and which market you are targeting. The wrong name can confuse or drive away customers.
Some things to think about:
Does it describe the product or service you offer?
You don't want to waste your customers' time or give them the wrong impression about your products or services, especially when you can't always control the context in which they first see or hear about your business.
Does it reflect the values of your business?
Think about how you want your business to be perceived.
Is the name distinctive?
It's important to separate yourself from the competition and allow customers to identify you as a unique brand. Choose a name that doesn't already exist in the market. Unless you plan to have a fairly robust marketing strategy, keep your name simple and avoid abbreviations and acronyms.
Can customers identify and remember it?
Names that are easy to pronounce and spell will help customers remember you. It may be tempting to choose a name that has personal significance, but put yourself in the customer's shoes.
Are you legally allowed to use it?
By law, the name of your business can't be the same as (or very similar to) an existing corporate name or trade-mark. You'll want to do an online name search once you have an idea for a name, to be sure that it's unique.
Some aspects of selecting a business name are subjective, and you may come across advice that is based on people's personal preferences or experiences, and not on practical evidence. If you need assistance, you can hire a professional to help you with creating a name and navigating the trade-mark laws.
Learn more about choosing and protecting your business name, as well as naming a corporation.
- Choosing a name
Find out what you need to know before choosing a name for your federal corporation and see how to reserve that name.
- NUANS Corporate name search
Compare your proposed business name to the names of existing businesses to see if it is unique.
- Enterprise register (Quebec)
If you operate a business in Quebec, you must register with the enterprise register and declare your organization's legal form.
- What's in a name? Using trade-marks as a business tool
A trade-mark helps identify your company and your products. Find out how to use a trade-mark to protect your business name.
- Search a Business Name
Use the Enhanced Business Name Search to see if a business name has been registered with the Ontario government.
- Business name registration information (Ontario)
Register your business name online, in person or by mail.
- Corporate Registry
To conduct business in Alberta, register your cooperative, corporation, extra-provincial company, non-profit company, society, trade name and/or partnership.
- Choosing a name in New Brunswick
Follow these guidelines when choosing a name for your corporation, business or partnership in New Brunswick
- Incorporate a business (Quebec)
Learn the steps to incorporate your business in Quebec, especially the forms to be filled out and the application process.
- Companies Office – Business name registration and provincial incorporation (Manitoba)
Find out how to register your business and what you need to know about provincial incorporation.
- Name Requests Online
Submit a business or corporate name for approval by B.C. Registry Services.
- Registering a business name in Nova Scotia
Find out how to reserve, register, or change your business name in Nova Scotia.
- Registering a sole proprietorship or partnership in Saskatchewan
Find out how to register your business name as a sole proprietorship or partnership in Saskatchewan, including the fees, the forms required and the turn-around time.
Your business name and your Web domain name
Before you register your business under the name you've chosen, give some thought to your online presence as well. Even if you aren't planning to establish a website immediately, you may want to do so in the future. As with your business name, you'll want your domain name to be unique and distinctive.
- If someone else already owns the rights to the Web domain name you've selected, you may end up sending a lot of business their way or making it difficult for customers to find you. If the domain is already taken, you may wish to choose a different business name.
- If your business name is very long, you might want to think about having a shortened version of it for your domain name, which will be easier to remember and to type.
- Think about what category of domain extension you might want; for example, .ca (Canadian), .com (commercial), .org (organization), or other extension.
- You may want to have multiple domain names or domain extensions; for example, one dot ca and one dot com, or one with the long version of your company name and another with an acronym. You might even choose different domains for different business lines.
- Take a close look at your domain name, especially if you are combining words or using phrases. Because there are no spaces in a domain name, you don't want any unintentional meanings to crop up.
Have a domain name in mind? Learn more about domain names, check the availability of your chosen domain, and find out how to register it:
- Domain names
Are you creating a website for your business? Learn how to choose and register a good domain name.
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