Saturday, July 11, 2009

Protect Invention

How do you build a powerful brand? Branding - creating a unique corporate identity for your business - is critical to your success as a businessman. You can, and should, use the process of setting up and managing your business entities to establish your own unique brand.

The world's largest companies have mastered this art of branding. You will not need even need to see the company name to identify the Mercedes or MacDonald's logo, so effectively these are companies imprinted their identity in the minds of consumers.

But branding is not just about a logo. It's also about making sure that you have the same identity, one reflected in your website, your equipment - all communications to the public. Individual traders often use a haircut, accessories, even style of dress as the "Man in Black" Johnny Cash did - to imprint their identity in the minds of the public. Even a small business owner doing business on eBay will earn from having a consistent, memorable image as an established, reliable company with expertise relevant to his tomb.

You can use the process of structuring your business (see our newsletter) to begin creating a strong brand. If you are establishing a LLC or a corporation or other entity, you will want to follow a number of steps to ensure that your structures will create a strong foundation for your brand.

I suggest you follow the sequence below:

1. Create a list of several possible names for your company that reflects your area of expertise and your USP - "Unique Selling Proposition". Number them 1 to 5 or even 10 in the order of priority.

2. Check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (or the Intellectual Property Office in the country where you live if you live outside the U.S.) to ensure that you choose a name, one that may soon be using a potential trademark, which is already taken. Running a search is an easy thing on the internet. If you find that name or mark which is earned by a person engaged in a line of business near your own, make a note of it and switch later to check the name on your list.

3. Make a similar search on the web site of your state or province authority for establishing corporations - in most cases, the Secretary of State. If you are considering setting up a corporation or LLC in Nevada, be sure to do the same in both Nevada (https: / / / SOSServices / AnonymousAccess / CorpSearch / CorpSearch.aspx) and your home state or province. You can find the appropriate authorities in your state easily by doing a Google search.

Be sure to check both LLC Corporation and the database. With a corporation can be a very similar name to one that you want to use for your LLC to your sate authorities can not catch if the corporation and LLC are separate divisions. Too close a similarity to the name of an entity different types cripple your efforts to establish a unique brand and can cost you long term. Years ago the Body Shop does not bother to do this check out California, and ended forced to change their names when challenged by a more successful business that started earlier in a similar name years later.

4. Next, perform a search not real name (dba or "doing business as") registry of your county or other local jurisdiction. When you make a decision on a name for your creatures, if you use anything besides your own name or a name that clearly indicates exactly what you do (something other than plumbing Maria Jones , for example) or if you add something like "Associates" to your name, you must file a fictitious name statement with County Clerk. There is usually a nominal fee associated with doing this, but Do not think of it as an annoyance. This is really an effective way to establish your claim to exclusive use of your dba.

By the way, you'll also need to check with your municipal government to see if you need to register to do business in their jurisdiction. Has no doubt cost something, but it is an important part of doing business. I prefer to think of it as another opportunity to brand myself in mind of the public.

5. Check with a web domain registrar (such as to see if your preferred name or names are available. If your first choice is not available as a. Com o. Net or other common types of domain, you now have the option of setting up a. Is (for web site) domain. You can do that: Or, you can choose others like or Go ahead and purchase domain names that match your preferred business. Though not using it, domain names are valuable virtual real estate these days - you may be approached to sell one of the name you purchased later and make a tidy tube!

6. Select your preferred name and reserve it with your state authority. Sometimes the entities of the process may take longer than expected, and want to make sure the name is reserved only for you long enough for your structure put in place. The reservation is good for a certain period of months or days.

7. Make sure to register your preferred entity name as a dba or real name if required by your regional power.

If your entity is in place, you are ready to brand yourself by creating a memorable graphic logo, layout of your professional stationary, and getting your web site built around your new corporate identity.


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