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Starting and naming a small business can be so hard. So, when you settle on the perfect name, there’s a few things you need to do before making it your own. I highly recommend spending an afternoon doing the appropriate research about your chosen business name. There’s nothing worse than getting all set up and a few months later realizing the name you chose already belongs to someone else.
Here are the steps you’ll want to take:
How to Find Out If Your Business Name is Already Taken
- Search the TESS database at this link to see if anyone has trademarked the name. If not, move onto the next step. If so, think of a different name.
- Do a search on a major search engine (like Google) to see if any websites with the name you like show in the search results. If not, move onto the next step. Also, type the name you want to use directly into your browser. If someone already has the domain registered, you’ll want to choose a different name.
- Search for Etsy/Shopify shops that may be already using the name. Etsy is easy to search at this link. Shopify doesn’t have a directory, but you can search Google for Shopify stores with the name you are researching. If you don’t find anyone using the name, move onto the next step. If you do, think of a different name.
- Next, search your state’s business database for anyone using the same name. In Florida, the link is here, but it will vary from state to state. I’d recommend going to your state’s official government website to start your search.
- Finally, search all social media networks to see if a matching username is available. You can use websites like Namecheck to see if the usernames are available. If they are available and you’ve searched everything above – go secure your name before someone else does!
Can You Use the Same Name as Another Company?
In many cases, as long as the name isn’t trademarked and the state it is registered in doesn’t provide name protection, you can use the same name as someone else. But, you really don’t want to. Your business name should be unique to your company.
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