How to decide what you call your company. Plus, choosing a business structure.

Of all the decisions you make when starting a business, probably one of the most important is the right name for your new venture: The right name can make your company the talk of the town. The wrong one can doom it to obscurity and failure. If you’re smart, you’ll put just as much effort into naming your business as you did into coming up with your idea and writing your business plan.

An effective name will establish your marketplace presence, convey what you do, and create a memorable impression.

Conduct a free trademark search at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office site. Search through federal trademarks, Canadian and European trademarks, domain names and company names.

Enlisting the help of a trademark attorney or at least a trademark search firm before you decide on a name if highly advisable. The extra money you spend now could save you countless hassles and expenses down the road. And once you’ve made a decision, determine if your chosen name has an available domain name for your future Web site, and reserve it. Even if you won’t be selling products online, a Web site is crucial these days for marketing purposes.

Also important in the success of your business is is the type of legal structure you select for your company. Your structure can make a big difference in how you pay taxes (how much and how often), raise money, handle lawsuits, or dissolve or pass on the business. Will you operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, S corporation or limited liability company? Because each business form comes with different tax consequences, you’ll want to want to make your selection wisely and choose the structure that most closely matches your business’s needs. If you’re not a tax or legal expert, you should seek advice from a professional on how to pick the structure that’ll best manage your liabilities.

 

To work through the startup paperwork maze, visit your city’s government listings in your phone book or through your local chamber of commerce. These offices can provide information about licensing, permits, your particular business type, and running a local business in general. Find more information at internet.

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