Part 9 ~ Acey Gaspard’s Guide to Starting a Small Business – Made Simple
The business name you select now is something you’ll want to consider carefully.
Don’t do what Jake did: He didn’t give it much thought and named his business “JK Inc.”
Jake found himself explaining to everyone what the “JK” stood for: they were his initials. But once people knew what the name stood for, they still had no idea what the business did.
In my opinion, your business’s name should indicate what you do and should be memorable.
On the other hand, Elizabeth went overboard and named her home business “Delicious Homemade Pies.” Compared Jake’s example, Elizabeth’s name is pretty good. It’s something you might remember, and it tells you exactly what the business does.
The problem with the name Elizabeth chose is that it’s restrictive. What if, in the future, she decides she wants to get into homemade cookies, pudding, cakes, healthy snacks, etc.? Does she change the name? Does she stick to pies because that’s the name she chose? Does she add the word “More” so it reads: “Delicious Homemade Pies and More?”
You need to be specific enough for people to understand what your business is about, and the name should be created so that it’s memorable, but you need to leave enough room for expansion.
For Elizabeth’s example, “Delicious Homemade Treats” would have been a better name.
Important Issues to Consider When Choosing a Business Name
- You have to make sure the name you choose is not already registered.
- You have to register the name you want at your local registry. There are many different laws and rules that apply to registration, and it’s senseless to even try to cover them here. The best thing to do is find out the rules in your own area and adhere to them.
- Avoid choosing names that are similar to other corporations, especially popular ones. For example, calling your business “Macrosoft” if your business creates software opens you up to all sorts of legal trouble. Even if your copycat name is legal, customers will think you’d rather steal someone else’s reputation than make your own.
- And let’s say you created Macrosoft, and turned it into a brand that became widely known for its poor quality. The company you copied could have a claim in court for you damaging its brand because of the similarities. Trust me: create a unique name, and avoid clones and names that are similar to competitors’ names.
- Once you have a good name, don’t register it right away. Think about it for a few days. A spur-of-the-moment idea often gets a different feeling after a few days.
- Create a letterhead with your word processor to see how it looks in print.
- See if you can come up with a better name by writing in different ways, using different words with similar meanings. A thesaurus can help you accomplish this.
- Say your business name out loud. Does it sound right? Is it smooth to pronounce, or is it a tongue twister? If you have trouble saying it, your prospective customer will have trouble saying it and remembering it, so you may want to create a different name.
- Does your business name specifically describe your business while allowing you to expand in your industry?
- Get the opinions of others. Look at their faces when you ask what they think. If they look confused, ready to burst out laughing, or simply draw a blank, then you need to find a better name.
Choosing a business name is like choosing a name for your child. Your child will need to use that name in public and will have it for the rest of his life (in most cases, unless he legally changes it).
Take great care when choosing your business name. Treat it as a child, and remember that this is the name your business will take on, so spend the time to get it right.
Action Steps to Choose the Best Name for Your Business
- Come up with a number of business names that you like and sleep on it. See if you still like them after a day or two
- Check that the business name is not yet registered
- Test your preferred business names. Run them by your family and friends and see how they react to it. Whatever the response, don’t be offended… be attentive
Important Points to Choose the Best Name for Your Business
- Choose a business name that reflects what your business is involved in, and is broad enough to let you expand your products and services without having to change it.
- Ensure the business name is easy to remember, understand, and pronounce.
- A business name should also have appeal.