Naming your business is not something to be done quickly or lightly. Your business name will define your company and become your brand. Here are some tips on how to name your import/export business.
List the Words that Describe Your Business
Create a list of words that describe your business. What items do you import/export? What countries do you import/expert to? What sort of image do you want for the business? Use your list to create different word combinations as possible business ideas.
Choose a Name that is Easy to Remember
Choose an import/export firm name that is simple and easy to remember. This is done for your customers' convenience. If they can't remember your name because its too long or complicated, they'll have a difficult time doing business with you.
Use your name to describe your business. Include import or export in the name, along with the types of items you work with. Again, the customer will appreciate seeing or hearing your name and knowing exactly what you do.
Keep Your Name Flexible for Future Growth
Keep your name flexible for future growth. While your name should describe your import/export business, it shouldn't be so specific that you can't add additional products. For example, if you import from China and have a name that indicates China imports, it won't allow for products imported from other countries. In this case "Asia" or "Pacific Rim" might be a better choice to describe your business.
Do Trademark and Web Domain Searches
Do a search for trademarks and make sure there is a good internet domain available for your website. This is one task you can't afford to skip. You will need to have a good web address so customers can find you. Also, infringing on a trademark can cost you money and customers (since you'll have to change your name).
Visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website and do a trademark name search to see if any companies in any industry are using the same name as your import/export business.
Do a Company Search with your Secretary of State
Contact your Secretary of State's office. Find out if there are any limited liability companies or corporations using the same business name as your import/export business name. If there are, it might be possible for you to still use the name as long as your business territories don't overlap.
Also check with your city or county business office. This office will be able to let you know if there are assumed or fictitious names of businesses in your area that match the one you'd like to use.
Do an International Trademark Search
Do an international trademark search. Because an import/export business involves working in different countries, you should check to see if there are registered business name trademarks using your proposed business name in the countries you intend to do business. Visit the World Intellectual Property Organization website to do the search.
Create and Register Your Business
Make your name official. Once you've found a name that isn't trademarked or already in use, create and register your business. Forming an LLC or corporation will register the company with the state while obtaining business licenses/permits will register it locally.
The best way to protect your import/export business name is to trademark it through the USPTO. Because you'll be doing business abroad, you can apply for trademark protection in the other countries you'll be doing business with through the World Intellectual Property Organization.
- Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images