Company Name Decisions

I’ve been struggling with a seemingly important decision recently: the name of my company. The problem isn’t quite as simple as just what to name a new company.

Currently, I operate my software consulting and web hosting business through a Schedule-S corporation. This works much like an LLC type of company. My company has been in business for over five years and I’ve been reasonably successful. But, the target audience of the company up to this point has been primarily larger companies.

The issue becomes, do I use my current company and mix business focus or do I create a new one? If I keep the current one, do I keep the name? It’s not a bad name, its just not a strong memorable and image evoking type of name. It was chosen as a safe name with an available domain. Since choosing the name, I’ve realized how important the name is in establishing an image and brand.

Mixing the market focus for a company seems dangerous as well. Having a corporate looking website offering .NET development services and Linux web hosting probably won’t sell very many Mac games. Additionally, a Mac game focussed site isn’t going to instill my seriousness in providing .NET services to large financial companies. Now, I’d prefer to give up the consulting and other parts of my business, but realistically, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

The thought about creating a brand new company to concentrate on shareware games and software development is very attractive. The thought of managing the paperwork, the taxes, the fees, and the headaches of two companies does not sound appealing.

Unfortunately, I feel as though this is one of those decisions that is important enough that I need to make it very soon. I don’t want to announce product or start marketing campaigns and then need to change names and consequently domains.

Thankfully, the majority of the consulting work I do comes by word of mouth or through third party agents. Most of the time the actual client will not visit my website. So if it was selling games and not consulting, it probably would not be the end of the world. But, on the other hand I do get the occasional new client by way of the web site.

Another approach I’ve been thinking about is filing a “Doing Business As” for my corporation. From what I understand, this would allow me to operate the company under two or more names. The actual company name and a fictitious name that could be more game oriented. I need to do more research on the legal and accounting aspects of this approach.

Now, I realize that I should talk to my accountant about this, but unfortunately I’m looking for a new one.

Update: Since posting this I’ve done a bit more research. Once again, Google is my friend. I found the following articles that describe and define the whole “Doing Business As” concept.

Doing Business As (DBA) a Fictitious Business Name

Google Answers: Legal Alias?

City of Boston: City Clerk Business Certificate

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