You can’t have a business without a business name! But the process of choosing the perfect business name that is both catchy and communicates what your business is all about is by no means easy. Businesses have failed largely due to a name that didn’t work, so it’s important to get this right.
Choosing your business’s name is one of the most important decisions you can make, and it’s key to differentiating you from your competitors. A clear, powerful name can be beneficial in your marketing and branding efforts. Also, Customers associate a business name with the value it provides to them.
What a good company name entails?
A good company name is short, sweet, and memorable. Ideally, it loosely connects to your product or service or reinforces your brand message.
Good company names instill a sense of trust while allowing the target customer to identify your services quickly and easily.
A good company name reflects these key elements.
Other factors besides search engine potential that shape a good company name include:
- What is the Essence of Your Business: The best way to start choosing a name for your business is by reviewing the essence of your business. Consider your mission statement, your business plan, and your unique selling proposition. And don’t forget to think about your target audience and what you learned about it in your market research.
- Permanence: Choose a name you can be happy with today, tomorrow, and in 20 years. Practice picking up the phone 20 times and answering ‘Thank you for calling XYZ Company. How may I help you?
- Simplicity: should communicate your brand story and be easy to say, spell, and remember.
- Relevance: Make it relevant to what you’re doing so people will know what it is without having to dig too far.
- A connection to your mission: Choose something that represents both what you do and why.
- Don’t pick a name that could be limiting as your business grows: This means your business name should be expansively accommodating for your latter growth, not a business name that amputates your ascension in your market space. You don’t want a business name that sentences you to one niche for the entirety of your business lifespan.
- Don’t copy your competitors: Avoid choosing a name too similar to other businesses in your industry. It can mean appearing to be unoriginal, which is not good for your brand image. It can also mean potential customers confuse your business with your competition making it more difficult to repeat work.
- Universality: Many experts emphasized making sure a business name doesn’t translate to something offensive, embarrassing, or that is the antithesis of your intentions for the brand. A simple translation search should yield the desired results.
Best tips and practices for choosing a Business name
Even if you have an idea of what to call your business, check out these best tips on how to choose a business name to make sure you’re choosing the right one for your brand.
- Brainstorm. If you’re struggling to come up with a company name, start by listing keywords on a paper related to your business or company goals. You could list products you sell, customer experience goals, industry type, and more. Expand the list by including adjectives that you feel are strongly associated with your business. The word list can be used to blend a new name for your business.
Once you have a sense of what you want your business name to represent, it’s time to get creative. In fact, the more creative and free-thinking you can be during this stage, the more ideas you will generate and the more possibilities you will have to choose from.
During your brainstorming, keep the essence of your business in mind and let your ideas flow unrestricted. Some common ways to start a brainstorming session include brain dumping, list-making, mind mapping, and word association.
- Think outside the box. Along with a brainstormed word list, look at ways to make the company name unique to your business. For instance, you could choose a non-traditional spelling of a name. Another option is to translate the name into a foreign language.
- Check availability: Before you decide on your business name, check to make sure it’s available. If the name is already in use, trademarked, or a domain name, you’ll want to reconsider using it. Part of your availability search should include a domain name search if you intend to have a website to promote your company, products, and services.
- Solicit feedback. Come up with 5 or 10 names and then run them by friends, family members, and trusted colleagues. Get feedback from your target audience as well. Ask them what the name you’ve picked conjures in their mind and what kind of business they think it’s describing. This can help you see problems you’ve missed.
- Take your time. “Since you can rarely change your company name, it needs to be something you really thought about. So make sure you spend enough time thinking and considering things before you make your final decisions.
Register Your Business Name
Protect your business name by registering it with your state authorities. If you have limited liability, a corporation, or a limited partnership in the U.S., you’ll need to register the business itself, which will also register your business name. If your business is a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, you generally don’t need to register your business entity with the state but instead through the county and/or city where your business is located.
If you are a sole proprietor, you may choose to file a “doing business as” (DBA) name so you can use a business name other than your own legal name. It’s not required, but you may also want to register your business name for a trademark to protect it from someone else’s use.
There’s no such thing as a perfect name. Every name has some limitations. Creating an excellent name is only half about picking it. Part of a successful naming has to do with how you use the name after it’s been selected; it’s up to you to meet the customer expectations and bring your business to success.