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Starting a Business: Choosing a Business Name

How to Choose the Right Business Name for Your New Business

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When choosing a business name, there are two things to consider; the business name’s marketing potential and its legal elements. Here’s what you need to know to choose the best possible business name for your new business when you’re starting a small business in Canada.

How to Create a Winning Business Name

First, you want to choose a business name that's memorable and that is going to encapsulate what your business does for marketing purposes. Learn how to create a business name that’s easy for your customers to remember and good for business promotion too with these two articles:

The Legal Elements of Business Names

Second, the legal elements of a business name govern what you can and can’t include in your new business’s name and depends on what Form of Business you choose, referring to the way your business is legally structured.

The three most common forms of business in Canada are:

To learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of each form of business, read Choosing a Form of Business Ownership.

If you choose to structure your new business as a sole proprietorship or partnership, you can’t include words such as Limited, Incorporated or Corporation, or contractions of such as Ltd., Inc. or Corp. in your business name, as these are reserved for the use of corporations only.

All businesses in Canada must register their business names in their respective provinces or territories except for sole proprietorships that use only the owner’s legal name with no additions. (See Do I Need to Register a Business Name?)

For information on how to register a business name, see Business Registration.

Business Names versus Business Numbers

If you choose to incorporate your business, you can create a numbered corporation, rather than actually giving your new corporation a name. However, in Canada, the term business number refers to the number the Canada Revenue Agency assigns your business as a tax ID. What's the Difference Between a Business Name and a Business Number? explains the details.

If your business needs one, here's how to apply for a business number.

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