Nugget No.1: Naming Rights
It’s your business--you have the naming rights! I started here. Why not? This is the fun part, right?! Think about what business names you adore , your favorite numbers, shapes, colors and catchy lingo within your field. Think about the mission of your business--what are you going to sell or what service are you going to provide-- and then get out a blank sheet of paper and start brainstorming. Doodle, write down adjectives that come to mind for your service, your products, write down names that are significant in your life, initials, important dates, your favorite part of what you are about to offer others. Think short and sweet. Think something that is catchy and people will remember. Now, put that list down and walk away. When brainstorming, avoid the thought that you have to get this done now because walking away and taking time to think will always work to your benefit. Read more about next steps and legalizing your name with a step-by-step on my newly formed blog, Toulou News. Click the link in my bio. (Insert hashtags)
The next day, pick that list back up and start crossing unfavorable words off, star those that you like and circle the ones you love. Between the time you began this brainstorming to today, I am sure you will have thought of other options and please write them down---keep that list near. Do you do your best thinking when I do--while you are getting ready for work in the morning? I always have a notebook or my phone nearby to jot down amazing ideas.
Once Silver and Stones Boutique (with LLC paperwork, a website and everything) now Toulou Foundry & Goods because I let someone else help. My friend asked if she could work on the name as it was not original and I agreed. I brainstormed myself looking through boutique names online. I saw a store called Olivia and I loved it. Simple. Meaningful. So, I texted my friend and said what about Lewis & Louise because they are my loves. My daughter is Kate Louise and my son is Jackson Lewis. I didn’t want to name anything after myself nor did I want to use their first names. Their middle names are significant and have meaning. They are family names handed down from generation-to-generation. She later came back with Toulou Foundry & Goods and I never thought about another name since. It is perfect. It has a ring. It sounds sophisticated like the boutique I am creating AND it means something.Now, here is the non-exciting yet necessary next steps:
- Search for others with that name through your Secretary of State search
- Search for the domain name you want and then purchase one, two or more. Some are super cheap and as low as $0.99. I got shoptoulou.com and touloufoundry.com for $10 each. Remember that Silver and Stones venture with the name? Turns out I have 3 domains. :) You buy a domain for a year and have to renew yearly. So with my website I am working on, I have three domains for which I will direct the other two to the main and no worries.
Search trademarks and patents http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=search&state=4803:pjniuu.1.1
File with the Secretary of State for your Articles of Incorporation ($99 in Ohio; Form 532A) https://www.sos.state.oh.us/businesses/filing-forms--fee-schedule/
Consider forming an LLC or register your name with your state
DO IT YOURSELF! I started with the thought that I needed an attorney to file my LLC as this was the path for my other business; however, you do NOT need to hire or pay a lawyer or online service. It’s SO easy! Here are a few tips and where I got stuck and had to ask around:
Registered Agent You can be your registered agent. It does not have to be an attorney.
Operating Agreement Luckily if you are in Ohio, you are not required to submit an operating agreement
Name Registration https://www.sos.state.oh.us/businesses/filing-forms--fee-schedule/#name