How to Choose a Business Name

Whether we realize it or not, our names say a lot about us.

Beyond traditional meanings, names also bring up images, thoughts and feelings about who we are or who we perceive another person to be (think back to the class clown or school bully).

Think about some of the better known company names and the thoughts they bring up: Apple, Microsoft, Ford, Honda, Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola.

Names have power and your business’ name is no different.

The Power of a (Business) Name

Your business name has the power to:

  • Attract or detract customers.
  • Impact in the branding, marketing and advertising of your company.

When coming up with a name for your business, choose carefully and think about:

  • Your audience.
  • The customers you are trying to attract.
  • The persona you are trying to convey.

The goal is to make sure your name explains what your business does and captures the feelings and emotions you want your customers to have.

For example:

  • The Talking Toy Box is a fun and descriptive name for a business dealing in children’s toy boxes.
  • Taxes Done 4 U clearly describes a business that files personal taxes.

Naming your Trade Name or Partnership

When choosing a name for a trade name (sole proprietorship) or partnership, it is important to keep in mind that your business name must not be made up of your name only – it must include another word or designation.

While your business name does not have to be unique – duplicate names may exist – if you do choose a name that is identical or similar to another business name, the owners of the other name or trademark may seek legal action resulting in you having to change the name. Save yourself the trouble and spend the time coming up with a unique name for your business.

Important: If the business name you decide upon is already incorporated in Alberta, or is federally incorporated or trademarked, you won’t be able to use it. These types of names are protected entities.

It’s a good idea to make sure the name you want is available for use.

We recommend you do a NUANS Search Request on the name to make sure your chosen name will be good to use.

This pre-search compares a proposed name against a databank of existing corporate names and registered trademarks across Canada to find out if similarities exist. The NUANS pre-search is for your reference only.

Let us Help you with the Paperwork

Choose how you’d like to contact us:

Our professional certified registry agents will work with you and your schedule.

Please note:

  • In order to use our Corporate Registry services, you must be a member in good standing with the AMA, CAA or AAA.
  • A certified registry agent may provide assistance, but please be advised that the role of the agent does not include the provisions of legal advice. AMA recommends that you consult a lawyer licensed to practice law in Alberta on all matters pertaining to the regulations of documents in the corporate registry.

Before you register your business, make sure you’ve got the proper paperwork filled in. Learn what is needed to set up your business or corporation:


Krista is an Online Content Specialist in Edmonton with AMA, a part-time freelance writer, budding editor, jewellery maker, health nut, baker, and believer that dark chocolate makes the world a better place.