Is it important to register your company's name? I would argue: "Only if you're taking it to the bank." (which is pretty important).
For over ten years, I have been doing business as Lava Marketing. This was never a problem until I recently wanted to start a business account under that name. The first thing my banker asked me for was proof of business registration. My GST number wasn't enough even though I've been paying GST under that business name since 1999. And, up until now, I have been running all accounts payable and receivable for my business through my own personal bank account with the cheque made out to my personal name. I'm a Sole Prorietor, so it's never been an issue.
Recently, I've been thinking that I may want to separate my personal and business accounts. So, I went on the search to see if I could register the name Lava Marketing in BC. I couldn't. There is another company with a similar name (although not the same I should clarify).
What I didn't know, is that I should have registered my business name within three months of starting the business. In fact, the BC Name Registry website states:
"If you choose to carry on a business under a name other than your own personal name and are engaged in business for trading, manufacturing or mining purposes, you must register with the Corporate Registry within three months of your business start date."
So, I had to pay $35 to register my business name in BC. My new company name is now The Original Lava Marketing Co.
The word Co. represents the fact that my business is a Sole Proprietorship. I had to add the words The Original so it separated my company name from other similar ones with the words Lava Marketing in them.
If you want to trademark your name, check out NUANS.
Now, once I registered my business name and received a NR (name registry) number, that wasn't enough. I then had to officially register it through the One Stop Business Registry in BC and pay another $40.
Also, an industry code had to be chosen, so I chose to be listed under Graphic Design in BC.
So, there you go. My new "official" company name is The Original Lava Marketing Co. and I'm officially a graphic design business.
If you require business advice about starting your business, you are urged to contact a lawyer and/or an accountant. If you would like marketing or strategic advice about your business, or graphic design, please contact me.
Thanks for reading, Courtenay Pitcher