How To Choose a Business Name
Part 9 of 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
The name you choose for your business is the name you’ll refer to for the next few years. Think of it as naming your child, which would be what your child will live with, for the rest of their life.
You want something that will reflect what your business offers while allowing expansion in the future.
Don’t do what Jake Klatenter 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, which were his initials. But once people knew what the name stood for, they still had no idea what the business was about.
In my opinion, your business 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 to Jake’s example, Elizabeth’s name is an improvement. 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?”
“Delicious Homemade Treats” would have been a better name.
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.
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 try to cover them here. The best thing to do is to find out the regulations in your area.
- Avoid choosing names that are similar to other corporations, especially popular ones. If your business creates software, calling your business “Macrosoft” opens you up to all sorts of legal trouble. Even if your copycat name is legitimate, customers will think you’d rather piggyback on someone else’s reputation than make your own.
- 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 against you for damaging its brand because of the similarities. Trust me: create a unique name, and avoid clones and names similar to competitors.
- 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 your 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 customers will have difficulty saying and remembering it, so you may want to create a different name.
- Does your business name accurately 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, you need to find a better name.
Have a look at the resources below to help you choose a business name that will last.
How To Conduct a Business Name Search
The main purpose of searching for a business name is to make sure another business has not already registered the name you’re considering. Once registered, no one will be able to use the name.
So, it makes sense to conduct a detailed name search before you make extensive plans. Also, perform a domain name search. It would be great to have a domain that matches your business name.
Have a look at the resources below to help you research your business name.
Creating A Catchy Business Name
Catchy business names are easy to remember. When you come up with a catchy business name and it’s related to the business you operate, you have an excellent match.
See the articles below for insights and tips to choose a catchy business name.
Business Names Generators
Below is a list of web pages that offer business name generators. You can use these by typing in a keyword, and the program will generate names you can use.
These utilities are a good way to get the creativity flowing. Each utility has a unique algorithm for generating names.
Keep in mind there are thousands of people using these utilities, so if you find a name, you must check to see if the business name is registered before choosing it.
I would also caution you in selecting a name from the generated results. Instead, I would use it as starting point to come up with a name that is unique.