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Starting a New Business? Our Recommended Process

Have you decided to branch out and create your own business? We are here to congratulate you! Being a small business ourselves, we love to see and encourage the entrepreneurial spirits in those around us. We frequently counsel clients who have either established their new business or are looking to start their new business. We have worked with customers in all stages of the business formation process, and we have developed a process that we believe provides the most effective legal protection and branding viability.

Search the State Database for Name Availability

The first step in successful business formation and branding is to choose a name that is available in the state where you wish to operate your business. In terms of state records, names can be similar so long as they are not identical. Every state has its own corporations database that can be found with a simple Google search. We recommend that you create some business name ideas and run them through this database to ensure that they are not already taken in your state.

Search the GoDaddy Database for Domain Name Availability

The second step in successful business formation and branding is to make sure your preferred domain name is available for purchase. After making sure your business name is available in your state, you want to make sure you can market that name through an appropriate domain name.

Your domain name does not have to be your business name verbatim. But, it should be close enough to your business name that an average consumer would understand that the website is associated with your business.

Having a website for your business is important whether you choose to sell online or not. You can either use your domain name to sell your product or service, or you can use your domain name to give consumers information about your business and its purpose. The strongest domain names end with “.com.”

Have a Trademark Attorney Conduct a Federal Trademark Search

The third step in successful business formation and branding is to have a trademark attorney conduct a federal trademark search for the name of your business. This is where we can begin conducting services for you. After you have a name or a few names picked out that are available in your state, we can conduct a federal trademark search for you to look for any infringement issues with the name of your business.

Trademark protection over the name of your business is vital to effective branding- you want to ensure that your name is your own, and that no one else can use it. The first step in the trademark process is to conduct a trademark search in order to determine whether a U.S. trademark application for the name of your business is likely to be successful. Similar to availability of names in your state, your business name must be available as a federal trademark to the extent that it is not confusingly similar to marks already registered or pending registration.

Buy a Domain Name

The fourth step in successful business formation and branding is to purchase a domain name you selected in step two. If there are no conflicting business names in your state, the domain name is available, and your attorney gives the trademark name for your business high probability of success after a trademark search, it’s time to purchase that domain name.

Have a Trademark Attorney File an Intent-to-Use Trademark Application

The fifth step in successful business formation and branding is to have a trademark attorney file an intent-to-use trademark application for your business name. If you’ve gotten to this step, an intent-to-use trademark application is next on the list as long as you plan on using the mark in commerce within about a nine months from the date of filing. An intent-to-use trademark application is used when the applicant isn’t using the mark in commerce yet, but plans to in the near future. You can learn more about intent-to-use trademark applications here.

Further down the road, you will have to show use of the mark in commerce. But, you can start the process of protecting your mark before you actually start using it in commerce. When your trademark registers, the priority date for enforcing your rights in the mark is the application date, not the registration date. So, the sooner you have your attorney file the trademark application, the better.

Have an Attorney File Formation Documents with the State

The sixth step in successful business formation and branding is to have an attorney file necessary formation documents with the state. These exact documents will depend on what kind of business you want to form (corporation, LLC, etc.), but the processes are similar. State documents need to be filed in order for your business entity to be created. Once these documents are filed and accepted by the state, your business is officially formed.

If you follow these steps, you’ll have a unique, protected business name. You’ll have the rights to prevent others from using it for themselves. You will have ensured that you can successfully brand your business with your chosen name without worrying about an involuntary rebrand due to infringement issues. In short, you’ll be free to focus on building your business to be exactly what you want it to be.

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