Want to start a business? Protect your business name and idea

Shirley Hermiston

By Shirley Hermiston

Running your own business can be very rewarding as it can provide a flexible lifestyle and allow you to become your own boss.

But if you’re thinking of going self-employed, it’s important to remember to protect any potential business names and innovative ideas you have from the outset.

As we regularly advise clients on starting their own business, we’ve realised that only around 30% of people check to see if their preferred company name is available, despite this being an important part of the start-up process.

When forming a company, it’s important to choose a name that reflects the identity of your brand and register it so the name is protected in the long term. It can be very disappointing for clients to visit us with their business idea and realise the name they wanted has already been taken.

Checking a business name before starting up will also potentially save you money. For example, spending money on your own website or stationery will be a waste if another company with your prospective name already exists.

So if you’re starting a limited company you should check with Companies House that your intended business name is not already taken. This will mean you’re not disappointed when you come to officially register your firm.

On the other hand, sole traders do not have to register their business name with Companies House so a search on their website will not return any results like it will for limited companies.

As well as securing a potential business name, budding entrepreneurs should also consider protecting their intellectual property (IP) if relevant. IP comprises your brand, products and ideas. As an example, protecting an idea could be crucial for song writers who are likely to seek copyright protection for any unique song lyrics they write.

We understand that there’s so much to take in when you’re planning on starting a business, including other legal issues such as insurances, licenses and permits which you’ll need to be aware of before becoming your own boss.

But fear not. Here at the BIC we will advise you on what you need to go self-employed – as well as support you with writing a business plan – and if necessary, we will signpost you to places where you can receive specific legal expertise.

Conveniently, there’s already legal support clinics taking place at our centre, including free drop-in sessions held by Jacksons Law Firm who will listen to any personal legal concerns you have and they may advise you there and then.

So if you want to go self-employed but have so many questions, just remember that there’s lots of help out there, including the support from our experienced business advisers.

Get in touch

Interested in starting up? We’d love to help. Please call 0191 516 6111 to arrange a free appointment. Or click here to arrange a time to visit us.

BIC success stories

Click here to take a look at the start-ups we have recently helped go self-employed.

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