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Deciding on a Business Name & Determining Start-Up Costs

Lesson 4 from: Business 101: Start-up Considerations

Karen Okonkwo

Deciding on a Business Name & Determining Start-Up Costs

Lesson 4 from: Business 101: Start-up Considerations

Karen Okonkwo

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Lesson Info

4. Deciding on a Business Name & Determining Start-Up Costs

Lesson Info

Deciding on a Business Name & Determining Start-Up Costs

So, determining your business name. So, your business name is really important because it basically precedes you. It's the face of your brand, and it's something that, people will identify it immediately. When you hear the word Nike, or hear the word Target, there are certain colors that come up in your mind, there's a certain ethos that comes in your mind when you're thinking about that. And so, to help you out, it's always important to first describe what your business has. And in the worksheet, I have just a kind of layout for you to describe and talk about your business. Because essentially, you wanna ask yourself, how does your business feel? And what does your business do for others? And so, that will kind of help you figure it out. So for example, for TONL, we said all right, so we want to be a diverse stock photography business. And diversity isn't limited to one skin tone, for example. And so, one of our friends who was in on this, she was like, tone, tones, skin tones, tonal.

And that's how we decided TONL basically represents all skin tones, which therefore aligns with diversity. And so this is important for you to kind of think for yourself, what are the series of questions that, when you answer them, it feels right, it feels good? And that's how you can really determine your business name. And what also determines your business name is whether or not it is available. So you want to go to USPTO.gov and see if somebody happens to have your business. There have been some nightmarish situations where a friend of mine came to me really excited. He had already gone on social media and started his whole social media campaign. He already had created business cards and logos. And I was like, let me do him a favor, let me just go to USPTO.gov. And I went on there, and sure enough, the name was already taken. And the thing about that is, if it's a name and a business that's similar to yours, that's where you get into a little bit of discretion. But if that name is the same as yours, but it's two different businesses, then you actually would be fine. So, we always just suggest that when you are doing any trademarking or copyrighting, that you actually do your symbol, whatever logo you've created rather than the name. Because it's a little harder for you to trademark certain names, 'cause sometimes, let's just say that your name is, well, you can't trademark, like, butterfly. But maybe your name is Butterfly Dreams. Well, it's probably a little bit harder to trademark that word as opposed to whatever symbol that you have. So, I'm sure some of you have probably had that experience before where you got really attached and excited to a name, and then you realize that you can't use it. I see some heads nodding here. (laughs) Yeah, just make sure you check USPTO.gov. Okay, startup costs, the lovely startup costs. Things that they never teach us in school. So, it's important to protect, to project, excuse me, your startup costs, so then you know what your initial investment needs to be if you're in a partnership, you understand how much you need to contribute or how much you need to ask from an investor. So startup expenses are just those expenses that incur before the business is actually starting. So for me, I didn't have a really big recollection of that when I first started, so I just was blindly using my personal income. And then when tax came, tax season came, the people who do my taxes, they're like okay, what did you spend on your business? And I'm like, uh, and I'm digging through all of my bank statements. And I'm like, oh my gosh, you're not supposed to mix personal with business. And so that's why you wanna make sure that you get a pretty accurate depiction of what you think you're going to spend, and create a separate bank account. Because also, if you ever were to get audited for any reason, you want to make sure that you have that separated. You don't wanna mix business with personal. And trust me, it can get very messy from personal experience. Everything is personal experience. So, how do you determine your startup costs, well, actually I was able to find some material actually on SBA.gov. They have a really cool template that's actually virtual that you can just type in, and it gives you estimates. If you don't want to use this particular document, then what you can do is you can determine what you know you need. So, here's a perfect example. You know you're gonna need licenses for most of your businesses. You know you're gonna have to file paperwork. You're going to get your website, your website name, perhaps you're gonna trademark your logo. So these are certain things that we determine prior to understand, okay, I'm going to need, for example, $20,000 to start up. So that means that we can decide as partners or singly, I'm gonna invest that money as an initial investment. What I would say is that, whatever you decide, generally in your operating agreement, you also decide that you will not tap into your personal income to pay for the business after that initial investment. So that's why you wanna make sure that you create a great profit model so you understand how you're going to make that money back. There's provisions that you can say when you get paid back, and things like that. I'm going into the weeds, but all I'm saying is, just make sure that you understand your startup costs prior so you're not tapping into your personal, it's just not a good business practice.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Startup Considerations Worksheet