Business Name Registration

Your business name is the name you will use when signing contracts or answering the phone. Businesses wishing to operate under a business name must register with the relevant corporate Registry.  Registring a business name usually requires an approved NUANS report.

You cannot just select any name. Business names must follow certain rules.For example, a business name must usually contain a distinctive element, a descriptive element, and a legal element.

Distinctive Descriptive Legal
LeBlanc’s Grocery Store Inc
Excel HVAC Services Limited

If you are incorporated, you can also usually use a coined word as long that it isn’t found in the dictionary if combined with a legal element. For example, Exxonex Inc.

The rules for business names can vary by province or whether you are incorporated or not.

Useful Links
Government of Canada – Choosing a Business Name
New Brunswick Business Name Registration
Choosing a Name in New Brunswick Guidelines for Corporate, Business & Partnership Names
Nova Scotia Business Name Registration
PEI Business Name Registration

In Newfoundland and Labrador there is no registration of trade names. Registration is only required for corporations and cooperatives.

Searching for Available Names

In most cases, if someone is already using a name, you cannot use it. It is therefore important that a proper corporate database name search be done. You should also check online to determine if someone is already using the name for their business.

Sites like Godaddy can be used to determine if the domain name is available or already owned by someone else.

You can save time and money by doing pre-searches. To do a NUANS pre-search click on the following link. You do not have to order, just use the search interface to determine if the name is available.

Order a NUANS report.

You can also consult the Canada Business Registry at

To access the New Brunsiwck provincial corporate database visit the following link.

Evaluate Feasibility

Once you’ve found that great business idea, the next step is to evaluate its feasibility.

Starting a business requires a fair amount of effort. You don’t want to do a lot of work and spend money on something that is not feasible. So, do your homework.

A great resource on feasibility is the following YouTube video from the City of Toronto Starting Your Business 101 collection.


A good self-assessment tool helps you determine if you are ready to start a business. It determines your strengths and weaknesses in regards to the type of business you are about to start.

Before starting a business, it is a good idea to formulate why you want to create one. We recommend watching the following video.

Following is a list of self-assessment tools.
Small Business Readiness Assessment
Entrepreneur Readiness Assessment
Entrepreneurship Self-Assessment – Think you have what it takes?

Market Analysis – Industry Analysis

Conducting an industry analysis is usually easy because market reports for industries are readily available.  If you are planning to sell cheese, do a Google search on “cheese market report,” and you’ll find several documents.   Find out the industry’s size, how it is segmented, and who the big players are. An industry analysis confirms the existence of a strategic opportunity.

There are three commonly used and important methods of performing industry analysis.  The three methods are: 

Competitive Forces Model (Porter’s 5 Forces) 
Broad Factors Analysis (PEST Analysis) 
SWOT Analysis 

Competitive Forces Model (Porter’s 5 Forces)

Is there are a large number of competitors in your industry?
Are there a lot of barriers to entry in the industry?
How powerful are the suppliers?
How powerful are the customers?
Are there substitute products and services?

Broad Factors Analysis (PEST Analysis) 

How likely is this industry to be impacted by government policy and changes in legislation?
Is this industry sensitive to exchange rates, economic growth, inflation, supply, demand, or recessions?
Does this industry depend on demographics, age distribution, and social trends?
Is this industry dependent on technology and at risk if technologies change?

SWOT Analysis 
SWOT analysis is a great way to understand where you stand in terms of your competition.

What are your strengths compared with others within this industry?
What are your weaknesses when compared to others in this industry?
What opportunities do you see for yourself within the industry?
What are the possible threats to succeeding in this industry?


For more, consider the following link:

How to Conduct Your Own Market Research

To make sound business decisions, you will need facts. To obtain facts, one tool you will use is Market Research.

What is Market Research
Market research i about gathering as much information as you can on your target market’s needs, wants, beliefs ,and behaviors. Onceyou know your target customers, you’ll know how to tailor your products, services, and marketing materials to their needs. 

Know your Target Audience
Your target audience definition will be the foundation of your marketing efforts and, possibly, your entire business.  A good target audience definition will help you determine what products and services to offer. It will help you set prices, establish what type of marketing materials you need, where to advertise, and will provide many other benefits.

Define the target markets’ demographics by specifying the age, gender, income, marital status, and educational level of targeted consumers.

Narrow down your audience by geographical location. It’s a big world out there; you can’t target all areas.

Further narrow down your audience according to interests, hobbies, activities, and behaviors.

What type of attitudes and opinions characterizes your target audience? Are they concerned by climate change? Do they look for the lowest price? Do they like to try new products?

If you want to know more about defining your target audience, click here.

Understand the Target Markets’ needs
Focus on understanding the fundamental needs. What are their goals, desires, preferences, problems, frustrations, and other pain points?

Talk to potential customers, do surveys, dig deep.

How Much do They Spend
Your customers have needs. How much will they be willing to spend towards filling the needs? Analyzing competition sites, surveys, and plain old Google searches should give you an idea of how much money is available for your products and services.

How is the Competition Filling the Needs
Analyze what the competition is doing to fill the needs. Can you find gaps between what is needed and what the competition is offering? Websites, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Linked In, Youtube, Twitter can tell you a lot about competition. Do a few searches on the products and services you are planning to offer. It shouldn’t take long before you start receiving ads for similar products and services. Study those ads carefully. Platforms like Facebook let you see why you see the Ad by clicking the down arrow to the right. It is OK to have competition, which usually means demand for what you are offering.

Market Size and Expected Market Share
Try to determine the size of your market. Industry reports usually provide useful numbers for just about any product. Sites such as Statistics Canada often have precise data on how much consumers are spending by category. You might have to get creative with social media tools such as Facebook Audience Insight to figure the size of your market. Your market share will depend on how many competitors operate within your targeted market.

How can You Reach the Potential Customers
It would help if you determined how you are going to reach your potential customers. Where do they hang out in the physical world? Where do they hang out online? What magazines or blogs do they follow? Can they be targeted with Facebook ads? How is the competition reaching the customers? Is your competition using magnet words to reach your customers?

Interesting Market Research Link

How to Find Business Ideas

Do a Bit of Research
There are plenty of business ideas. Some are good, and some are not. Before starting a business, take time to generate more than one idea.

A great place to start is Google searches. You will quickly find websites that provide a long list of businesses you could start. We recommend doing specific searches such as “business ideas for carpenters.”

Customer Trends
Analyze new customer trends as they often provide ideas for new businesses.

For example, people have recently become worried about climate change and want to be environmentally responsible. This environmental trend creates new opportunities.

We have an aging population. As people get older, they are more inclined to purchase certain services, creating new business opportunities.

Keep an eye on what is happening around you, and you’ll get ideas.

Market Research
To determine if your idea can be transformed into a profitable business opportunity, do a bit of market research.

There usually are market reports for just about any industry. For example, if you search “market for ping pong tables” you will quickly find something such as “Table Market Research Report – 2019”. These reports will quantify current and future trends in the selected market.

Do a bit of customer-related research. You need to know as much as you can about your potential customers. What age group is most likely to purchase your product? What is the best way to reach them? How much do they spend? Stats Canada often has statistics available on many industries.

Talk to people about your business idea. Discussing your idea with potential customers will let you determine the level of interest and give you an idea of how much they would be willing to pay.

It’s a big world. Someone else probably had a similar business idea as you. Read up on what they are doing. Also, find out who you competition might be and learn from them. If there is too much competition around one idea, it is sometimes better to move on to another business idea.

When possible, it is recommended to test the business idea by offering the service to a few customers, and in the case of products, build a prototype to get honest feedback.

Imitate or Innovate
There is nothing wrong with imitating another successful business, especially when that business is in another geographical area. Why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to.

This said, society tends to reward innovation, and new ideas are great.

Interesting Resources
Check out the following links if you need help finding the right business idea.

19 Fresh Way to Find New Business Idea

How to Find Business Idea – The Ultimate Guide (video)

How to Come Up With Your Winning Business Idea (video)

950 Businesses You Can Start Today

300 Best Small Business Ideas