Sometimes naming your business can be the biggest hang up to getting started. You have an amazing concept but you can’t set up shop until you have a name.  So, how do you choose a name?

Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Start by brainstorming and writing out all the key words that would describe your business. What do you want the name to say about your business & what positive association do you want it to have? Often a good old fashioned thesaurus can help you.
  1. A name should be easy to annunciate. If your name is so long it’s a mouthful or if it’s hard for someone to read it and know how to say it then you are going to run into problems. You want your name to be able to spread easily by word of mouth.
  1. It should be catchy and memorable. It wouldn’t make a good brand if you can’t remember it!
  1. You should be able to trademark it. You want your business name to be unique. If your business name sounds just like another company in your city you might confuse customers or clients. After your business is up and running, changing your name won’t be a walk in the park. It will have to be changed on any official documents, all of your business accounts & on social media. It’s super important to check for a trademark because if you choose a name that someone else happens to have, you may have to change your name and put in the cost of branding all over again or even worse hire an attorney to defend yourself. The US government trademark search is available to the public. You don’t have to trademark your name but you do want to be sure you stay out of trouble.
  1. Run your name ideas by friends and family to see what their reactions are. Their opinions can be valuable & they can let you know if your name ideas make them think of any negative associations you didn’t realize. If it expresses some association with your business that is undesired or just isn’t a fit, it can affect the success of your company.

Want to save some time? The tool Knowem.com can help you search for trademark availability, social media handles available and domain name availability all at once!

Here are a few things NOT to do:

  • Use words so plain that you don’t get noticed. Part of good branding is to differentiate your business.
  • Use a made up word that does not making sense.
  • Use a very specific location in your name such as city or state, unless you plan to never expand your business past that place.
  • Don’t use the word “Inc.” after your name unless your business is actually incorporated. This could miscommunicate your company.
  • Don’t refuse to change your name if you know based on outside views & customer response that it simply isn’t the right choice for your business. A name is important because it can set the tone for everything that represents your business.

Lastly, you will need a website for your business so stay tuned for our next post on finding a domain name!  Do you have any tips? What are some of your favorite brand names & why?