Small Business Reading Room

Friday, December 10, 2004

A Blog of Blogs

Blogs have become extremely popular these days. It should be no surprise then, that reports Merriam-Webster Inc. has named "blog" the #1 word of 2004.

Our local newspaper The News Journal has recognized the popularity of this phenomenon and has dedicated a special section of their website to blogs. The writers, while all are from Delaware, range from journalists to radio hosts to rock bands; one is even written by a college student living in Ohio. My favorite so far is Mike's Musings. Most of his blogs pertain to the news and activities of Delaware. It can offer great insight on our fair State and there are even some great pictures.

I invite all of you to take some time and check out some of these blogs. Maybe they will compel you to start one about your own state, province, or country. If you do, please let us know. We'd be happy to check it out.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

What's in a Name? Inspiration

Many people begin the process of finding a name for a business by simply thinking one up. For the more creative among us, this might be fine. Others may find they quickly become stumped.

Before you worry too much about a name for your company, note that the name you use in the marketplace need not be the name of the company at all. For example, Pepsi is a trademark used in commerce by PepsiCo, Inc. (Or one of the other 150 various "Pepsi" entities that have been created in Delaware over the years). So the name of your company need not be the name you present to the world. The name of the entity need not change if you come up with a better idea. More on what is invested in a name in a later post.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Here are some ways to spur creativity we have seen clients use.

Foreign Language: A client likes butterflies so she names her corporation Farfalla Corp. Farfalla is Italian for butterfly.

Initials: The most common way to name a company is to find a combination of initials for the people involved. My name is Alan Coffey, so I may try to create AC Corp. This type of two or three letter name is often taken. So look to adding another descriptor to the name - AC Construction Company.

Thesaurus: has a wonderful thesaurus function to help you find words that mean the same as some other word. For example, you may want to call your company Smart Solutions Inc. If that name is taken, or if you think it too obvious, you may choose Noetic Solutions Inc. instead.

Dictionary: It is always a good idea to look up the words you use in your name. You never know when some obscure reference will make your name look really silly to someone.

Art: Sometimes inspiration comes from art. Imagine that. Look, listen and think about what you like in art. Maybe the name of a famous painting would describe your vision of your company best - But be careful of trademarks, copywrites and patents (more on them in a coming post).

A surprising source of inspiration, at least in the USA, is license plates on automobiles. Some of the abbreviations found on these little billboards are fantastic... AV8R = "Aviator", for example. There are galleries all over the net of license plates. Here is one that collects internet related plates. My favourite plate of all time is CU L8R on a modified Mustang GT.

Another way to name a business is to be descriptive of what the business does or sells. Corporate Management Inc. is fairly straight forward. Acme Office Supplies, Inc. is too. These names can be boring, but if they tell the customer in a crowded marketplace exactly what you do and sell, one of these may be the best choice.

Name availability and reservations are available online with the Delaware Division of Corporations. However, Delaware Intercorp, Inc. advises you NOT to reserve your name directly with the Division. It is much easier, and cheaper, to reserve it through us. You may check to see what names are being used that are similar to what you want on the Division Website.

My next post will outline some of the ways you invest in a name once it is chosen.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Old News

I know that I am not the only one who is letting time fly by this holiday season. If you are like me, you may have missed the press release by News Corporation on 11/12/2004 that announced they have completed their reincorporation to the USA. Any guesses as to which state Rupert Murdoch & co. chose to call home?

Among the reasons that News Corp. indicated for reincorporating in Delaware were the numerous benefits the move promised for its shareholders. By moving to the U.S. from Australia, News Corp. expects to increase the scope and depth of their shareholder base, improve trading liquidity, enhance access to the capital markets and also make the company’s shares eligible for inclusion in a variety of U.S. based indices.

Monday, December 06, 2004

What's in a Name?

We have been helping a lot of clients with name conflicts lately. The State of Delaware has been creating thousands of companies every year for a long time, and sometimes it feels like we have used up all the good names.

Rest assured that this is not the case. Delaware deletes many companies from the database every year either because they actively shut down, or because they fail to pay their franchise taxes. Others go off the rolls because of mergers and acquisitions.

I will begin, with this post, an examination of what goes into the choice of company name.
  • The name of your company will be its first impression.
  • It will convey meaning beyond the mere words you select.
  • Your name is valuable property that may be registered at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  • A company announces to the world that it is a separate entity from its' owners by having a corporate or other entity designation in the name.

Sometimes a simple or descriptive name is best. If the name is not important to the marketplace, you may use the address of the apartment building you plan to own with the company - 110 Main Street, Unit 4, LLC. Or you may want to dress it up to make the name convey meaning - Rock Solid, Inc. for a stone working company, for example.

There is much to look into, and many ways for you to approach the issue of naming your new entity. More to come in the next few weeks.

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Delaware Intercorp, Inc.
113 Barksdale Professional center
Newark, DE 19711-3258

"For all the best reasons to incorporate,the best place
is Delaware and the best incorporator is
Delaware Intercorp!"

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