I didn’t decide to give my company a name until about four years in when I incorporated. But I realize now that was a mistake. So, whether you plan to incorporate your business immediately, or consider it later, I recommend that you name your company right away to whatever you will use when/if you do incorporate. Here’s why:
I started out as an individual using my natural name as my business name. When I incorporated, I came up with a name that reflected what I do instead of who I am. This shift caused quite a fiasco with my clients. I had to get a new vendor number, sign new agreements, and jump all the original hoops as if I was a brand new vendor.
In fact, I had a client-issued laptop to use for anything I did for that particular client. But, the company didn’t allow me to save anything to the laptop’s hard drive, so all of my files, emails, address book — everything — was on the company’s network.
When I changed my business name, they assigned me a new user name and I lost access to my old user name’s network information. That included works in progress. They even assigned me a new email address, so my familiar contacts could no longer find me. My clients at that company were completely baffled and some were angry. I didn’t lose any work over it; I quickly explained the situation and got everyone back on track. But, it was a headache that could have been prevented.
Take your time thinking of a name
Don’t decide your business name in a rush. Spend some quality time thinking about it. Share your ideas for names with colleagues and friends and listen to their feedback. The worst thing you can do is rush into an idea, incorporate and tell the world, and then a week later come up with something better or realize your business name was a bad idea.
You can contact your local Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Administration, or SCORE chapter to find someone who can help you come up with a winner.