A case study on choosing and registering the Cleardocs business name

OK, I've got a business idea and I'm starting an online business. Through my business, people will be able to create clear online legal documents. So, "Clear Online Legal Documents", could be COLD - hmm, not so sure that will catch on as a business name?

Owning and running a business is a journey. Choosing a business name occurs at the beginning of this journey yet it can have lasting effects on your business identity, what the business stands for and who its preferred customers are.

This case study outlines the origin of the Cleardocs business name based on an interview with Cleardocs founder, Christopher Balmford. It looks at the process he went through to choose a business name and relevant considerations.

What is the purpose of your business name?

In 2000, on a bushwalk in the Snowy Mountains, the idea for the Cleardocs business was born. As you have likely gathered, Cleardocs is short for Clear Documents, which is what Cleardocs provides.

Christopher spent at least 3 months mulling over and deciding on the Cleardocs business name. The name, Cleardocs, was not his first choice.

These were his objectives when choosing the business name:

  • to make the name meaningful. Christopher shied away from an acronym, such as COLD, because he believed that, on its own, the letters did not say anything. He also wanted the name to clearly reflect the nature of the business.
  • to think long term. If you consider you might sell the business at some point in the future, it's probably worth considering that the business name not be your own name or a person's name significant to you.
  • for it to look and sound right. Christopher rehearsed saying the business name, as if he were in a meeting, on the phone ringing someone or answering a call, "Welcome to Cleardocs. This is Christopher, how can I help". It was very important to him that he was comfortable with the way the name looked and sounded. He also showed many friends and family mock-ups of the logo etc for various names to see which one appealed to people and to which sort of people.
  • for the name to stand out. Christopher desired a name that distinguished his business from others. The competitive landscape at the time was full of businesses including the words "shelf company" or "shelf companies" so that was not an option for Christopher's business (nor what the Cleardocs business deals with).

Some regulatory considerations - Clearcomms to Cleardocs

When starting a new business, there are regulatory requirements and registrations you need to be familiar with. The Cleardocs Business Name Registration document package includes a workflow addressing these issues. Another helpful resource is your accountant or financial planner.

When Christopher was considering a name for the business that became Cleardocs, he talked to everyone he knew about possible names. The first name that Christopher really liked was Clearcomm (clear communication) or Clearcomms (clear communications).

He considered the registrations he would require to be able to use and protect the name, that is:

However, during his research, he discovered the names Clearcomm and Clearcomms were already taken.

The second choice was Cleardocs. Christopher then retained a designer to create alternative logos and think about messaging.

The Cleardocs tagline "clarity | simplicity | ease of use" was an opportunity to send out a second message and reinforce what the business stood for.

The Cleardocs business name and tagline drive us

Since registration of the Cleardocs business name, many more 'xxxdocs' businesses have surfaced.

Different names have different meanings to different people. At Cleardocs, our business name and tagline shape everything we do and speaks to what we strive to achieve in servicing our valued customers.