Siobhán is a really hard name.

At least in Texas. Or any where else outside of Ireland.

The one benefit to having to spell it outlaid multiple times a day is my girls have been able to spell my name from a very young age. Ask my four year old to spell my name and she will proudly rattle off “S-I-O-B-as-in-boy-H-A-N-as-in-Nancy.”

As for her spelling her own name, we’re working on it.

I’m used to hearing in mispronounced (it’s shiv-awn, not see-o-ban). In fact, there are people I have known for years, decades even, who mispronounce my name.

I’m sure there have been job interviews I’ve lost out on and referrals who have skipped my name based solely on the fact that they don’t want to have to pronounce my name.

So when it came time to name my law firm one thing was abundantly clear.

I wasn’t going to do my new business venture any favors by including my first name in the title. Just an aside, in Texas, you have to use actual names in the name of your legal practice. No “Best Damn Lawyer Ever PLLC” in Texas.

I went with Kratovil Law PLLC. How’s that for a shameless plug?

Here are some tips on selecting and protecting your business name:

Avoid any hard-to-spell names, in particular, any Irish names.

Take it from someone who spells her name all day, every day. For 43 years. You don’t want to have to be continually correcting misspelled versions of your business name.

Survey says…run the name by family, friends, and your target market.

A good business name is distinctive, memorable, and suggest the products or services you offer. Run it by your network and your target market to make sure your proposed business name is all of those things.

Don’t step on anyone else’s toes (or trademarks/service marks).

You’ve heard of the Google? Use it. Do a thorough internet search to make sure no one else is using your proposed business name.

While you are on the computer, secure the domain name for your proposed name as well as the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram names.

Still on the computer? Be sure to also search U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to make sure you can get a trademark or service mark for your proposed name.

Incorporated your business? Great, but it doesn’t mean you have any rights to the name.

You’ve heard me say many times that in order to protect your personal assets, you should incorporate your business.

If you’ve followed my advice, great, fantastic. But this doesn’t mean diddly squat when it comes to actually owning the rights to the name.


All it means is no-one else has incorporated a company using the same (or substantially similar) name in your state.

When you incorporate your business, the clerk processing the filing does a search to make sure no other businesses have incorporated under the same (or similar) name in that state. That’s it.

Your next step should be registering your name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

What’s the best small business name you have heard recently? Leave a comment or send an e-mail.

Copyright © 2019 by Siobhán Fitzpatrick Kratovil. All Rights Reserved.