If you own a business, you have likely taken steps to protect it from security threats like theft. Have you also taken steps to protect your business name? Your trade name, the name of your products and services, and even your domain name are all tied to your brand equity or value. That value can be compromised if you underestimate the risk of not protecting it.

Your brand value is a direct result of how memorable, easily recognizable and superior in quality and reliability your products and services are to others in the marketplace. Brand equity is important when you want to expand your product line, because customers will remember your name and associate new items with existing, successful ones.

There is a flip side to brand equity, however. If another business has a similar name, it can create some confusion or incorrect assumptions among your customers. What if the other business has a reputation for poor quality? You don't want to be tarred with that same brush and have it negatively affect your bottom line. In some cases, another business might even try to take advantage of the goodwill or value associated with your name, and uses it for their own gain. Check out our section on Trademarks to learn about protecting your identity in the marketplace.

Don't forget about your online presence. Make sure that any domain names and hosting accounts you have are secure by using passwords and other safeguards. Even if you don't have a website for your business, you may want to register and keep your own domain name ("yourbusinessname.ca”) or names that are similar, so that no one else can use them.

You can read more about ways to protect your business and to avoid potential problems in our “Managing your business” section. Consult our “Starting your business” section to learn more about Naming your business. By staying on top of things, you can minimize the risks your business faces, and protect both your name and reputation.