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Starting a business? How a name can set you up for success

Between finding investors and the logistical complexities of starting a business, new business owners face a lot of challenges in the early days of operation. Some don't make it past this difficult stage, and others just barely make it through. The fact is there are many elements working against small business owners early on, but thankfully there are many things you can do to make the road ahead a little smoother.

For instance, picking a business name can seem inconsequential, but it is one thing that could have a more profound impact on a company's success than people expect. When it comes to naming your business, there are several things you will want to take into consideration if you want to avoid problematic legal disputes down the line.

To begin with, you will want to make sure you are not inadvertently using another company's name or logo. Of course, you aren't expected to know the name and identifier for every company in the world, but you can take some simple steps to check availability. Internet searches, database inquiries with local government agencies and looking through registered trademarks can help you spot any potential conflicts.

Once you have a unique name, you should protect it from being used by others. Registering a trademark or service mark can strengthen claims to material giving you peace of mind in knowing others will not be legally allowed to use your name. Should anyone try to use protected material, you can take legal action.

Finally, you can ask around for opinions on your name or logo before officially committing to either one. Receiving outside perspectives can help you identify potential problems that could create problems for your business. For instance, is your name too confusing? Is it too similar to something else, or too vague? Taken out of context, can your logo been considered offensive or inappropriate?

Taking these few tips into account can help you find a business name that works and won't cause more problems than it solves. Talking to a business law attorney can help you take the legal steps to create and protect your business name, which can help you avoid costly legal battles once you are up and running.

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