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Trademarks & Business Registration - English Transcripts

Part of the Buzgate / SME Toolkit Learning Series

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The first thing you do is you decide that you have a viable business opportunity..not as easily done as said – but if you don’t meet that test – don’t get started.

The second thing that you do once you have a viable business opportunity …meaning that you have identified there is a market where someone needs what you have… or trying to sell.  Now you’re going to have to decide how to position yourself in that market.

Now you can move into the areas of branding and marketing



Do I need to register the name of my business?  The answer is yes.  If you’re doing business under any other than your own name you need to register your name with the local Secretary of State’s Office so that other people will know who it is behind your business name.  It’s a legal requirement, you have to do it and there are various ways to do it and the SME Toolkit provides the links you’ll need to find where your Secretary of State’s Office is …and you actually may be able to do much of this online yourself or you may be able to turn to outside resources to help you do this.



The second question is, “Do I need to trademark the name of my business?”  The answer to that is …”No, you don’t have to but you’d be smart too.”   Because you go to the trouble of building a reputation for your business name and you want to protect that from someone else…..you don’t want them to come along and take the same name.

The process of doing that is you can find out if someone is already using that name so you’re not unintentionally in conflict with someone else.



Because that’s what’s underlying all this name business anyway and you should start there because branding is part of your overall marketing strategy…the name that you pick for your business should be a name that your customers will remember and conveys something about what you business is  -- and that differentiates you form others that are in the same business – there are a lot of resources that can help you with this branding/marketing question and they are listed in the free help section


How does all that relate to the issue of building your Web site…because today more and more businesses have web sites and they want to make sure that their business  site is somehow connected to their web site name…so the question is “how do you take the business name and translate it into the URL for your business. It may be the business name itself, it may be some reduction of the business name in some form and you can find out readily what’s available and what isn’t available by going to a number of search engines that will show you names that are available


Are there other things I need to worry about?  And the answer is a resounding “yes” because there are all kinds of licensing and zoning regulations and there are a ton of horror stories that come out of a failure to acknowledge this….licensing requirements may be Federal, they may be state-based…and the state tends to regulate things like lawyers and dentists and barbers, beauty shop owners and a variety of other public service kinds of things…they may or may not register restaurants and bars….those are often done at the city or municipal level where you need licenses ….

And then the real hidden question has to do with how you meet the local zoning ordinances and this is where particularly a lot of home based businesses suddenly find themselves in big trouble….they start the business, they get it going and the zoning people come along and shut them down…or they take a commercial property figuring they’re safe and they change the purpose of the commercial property from “A” to “B” and the next thing you know the city is there shutting them down…their investment is on hold…they’re stuck in legal limbo and it’s a terrible mess.



That’s the concern that we have..is that there isn’t any single way you can suddenly be informed of all these responsibilities.  It just adds to the challenge and so our hope is by providing the toolkit information that it does give you a lot of guidance into the different areas that you need to look at and be aware of.  

In addition to this,  there are some very valuable tools called “the Start Up Business Checklist” that helps you a whole lot to identify the things that you may need and here we make a reference to we one that we particularly like called “BizFilings” and they are already involved in the toolkit itself so we can build some kind of little transition to make that link obvious….

but those business start-up checklists are a big help in terms of identifying what you need to do as you get started….it’s a big and complicated series of things far more than most people realize


For more information on the topics discussed in this SME Small Business Learning segment, access the following links.


1)      Small Business Registrations and Filings

2)      United States Patent and Trademark Office

3)      Trademark Electronic Business Center


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