Gone are the days when someone had a business idea, took some of their savings (or borrowed from loved ones) and simply opened up shop.
From the perspective of starting a business, aside from the practical aspects such as creating a business plan and structuring financing, the budding entrepreneur must look into the future and consider their business names and complementary names such as a website domain name.
Setting up a business can be as easy as registering a business name with the Ministry of Government Services (Companies and Personal Property Security Branch) online for about $60. However, this provides no strict name protection for the business on an ongoing basis.
The business person should probably be more forward thinking and consider incorporating (which will protect the business name) and also researching domain names that are available to match this name. Although the preferred ending to a website address is “.com” there are other endings such as “.org” or “.ca,” which may be available if the “.com” is taken.
Oftentimes, the website address is an afterthought and when the now set up business goes to research the names available for a website, they find theirs is not available.
Researching domain names can be done online from a number of different sources. Researching business names can be done through Industry Canada or with the lawyer assisting you with your incorporation by performing a NUANS search. This will give you a countrywide search, with the exception of Quebec and British Columbia, for businesses and trademarks with similar names.
By doing your homework upfront, you can have what will appear to be a seamless and cohesive communication and branding presence. Without this, your clients and customers may be presented with confusing and complicated branding that may deter them from using your services or products.