That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?

Naming your business can be one of the most difficult things about starting a business!  Once you have the perfect name in mind, you may find that other entrepreneurs have thought exactly the same thing, and have beaten you to it.

If you are using your legal name as a business, you don’t need to register it.  If you are using any other name, though, it’s worth investing in the registration fee ($60-$100) and completing the process.

In Canada, even if you have a name registered at the provincial or territorial level, you won’t have exclusive rights to the name at a federal level.  It’s important to check as many possible avenues as possible when choosing and registering your business name.

Note:  Newfoundland and Labrador there is no registration of trade names. Registration is only required for corporations and cooperatives.

Here are 3 steps to check to see if your business name is available:

1. Do a Google and social media search

Search variations of your business name as well. (eg Heather’s Flower Shop, Flowers by Heather, Heather’s Flowers)

3. Check domain names to see if they’re available

Check alternate spellings and find out which extensions (.com, .ca, .org etc.) are available.

If you can get .ca, check what .com is. Try names that are close to your ideal name as well. (eg Heather’s Flower Shop, Flowers by Heather, Heather’s Flowers)

If you do find your domain name is available, purchase as many extensions for it as you can (eg .ca, .com, .net, .org etc.) This protects your brand name and for $10 – $20 a year per extension, it’s absolutely worth it.

Years ago Blacks Photography ran into an issue with this. You can imagine what the alternate site featured…..let’s just say it was NSFW.