What’s in a name? We happen to think when it comes to a business name, the major aspects of a good name are brand recognition, admiration, and connection.
Finding the right name for your small business or startup can have a huge impact on your success, either negatively or positively.
The wrong name can do more than just fail to connect with potential customers… it can potentially cause loss of business or even legal hurdles. But on the other hand, a creative and clear business name can be extremely helpful in your marketing and branding efforts!
Here are 8 tips to consider before you start brainstorming the perfect name for your next business:
1. Avoid A Name That’s Hard to Spell
Anyone ever met a Catelynne or a Loryn? Phonetically these names are easy to pronounce, but chances are, anyone who met them IRL may have had a hard time looking them up on Facebook later. They probably typed out Lauren or searched for one of the other 400 spellings of Katelyn. The same goes with a business name… when naming your business, creative and unique isn’t always better. When brainstorming names, make sure potential customers won’t get lost or confused about how to search your business online!
2. Don’t Pick A Name That Could Limit Your Business As It Grows
Picking too narrow of a name may cause you problems down the road should you choose to expand to different products or markets. For example, what if Jeff Bezos named his business “BuyBooksOnline” instead of “Amazon.” He would have either been pigeon holed or spent a lot of money rebranding! That said, try to avoid names like “Woodwork of Greenville” or “Picture Frames Unlimited.” This will ultimately limit your business to a very specific product or city. You may never grow, but it’s nice to have the option!
3. Get Feedback
Come up with 5 to 10 names you like and then run them by friends, family members, and trusted colleagues. Try to get feedback from people who don’t know you that are in your target audience as well. Sometimes when you’re so close to an idea and it’s super personal, it can be hard to look at it objectively. This feedback will be extremely helpful in being more objective as you come up with a successful business name.
4. Say it Out Loud
Have you ever had a really good idea in your head but then realized it sounded awful when you said it out loud? We’ve all been there. So say your business name out loud. Say it to a few people who haven’t seen it spelled to make sure it’s clear and people wouldn’t be confused about the spelling… (Remember the Katlyn debacle?)
5. Conduct An Internet Search
If anyone is good at finding dirt, it’s the internet mob. And you definitely want to channel the internet mob when naming your business… Well, not completely, just the sleuthing part.
Once you’ve settled on a name (or 2) you like, do a quick (or not so quick) web search for the names. Oftentimes, you’ll find that someone else is already using that business name (womp womp). And while that doesn’t have to be a total showstopper, it should give you pause. Having the same name as a potential competitor down the line may cause a few issues…
6. Conduct a Trademark & Secretary of State Search
After you do a quick internet search, you’ll want to do a search at USPTO.gov to see if you will be able to trademark or service mark the name. Since most likely you’ll want to set up your business as a corporation or an LLC, you should also do a search of the Secretary of State’s records to make sure your name isn’t too similar to another business name that’s already registered. If it is too similar to an existing name, the Secretary of State may not allow you to register it.
Pro tip: a good corporate lawyer can help you conduct this kind of search.
7. Make Sure You Personally Love It
Once you’ve gotten feedback from trusted sources and weighed all your options, it’s important for YOU to really love the name. As the business owner, you’ll have to live with the name for a long time, so make sure you are really happy with it and believe it will resonate with your brand vision as well as your customers.
8. Purchase The Domain Name ASAP
Once you are settled on a business name you LOVE, you better go and secure the “.com” domain name for your business ASAP (if it’s not already taken). If it is, you can always choose an alternative, such as .net, .org, .biz, or other possible domain extensions. However, customers tend to associate a .com name with a more established business.
If someone already owns your desired .com name, they may be willing to sell their name for the right price (if it matters enough to you), or you can get creative with your domain name and use additional keywords that might help people find you later. Just remember to keep your domain as short and concise as possible. Nobody wants to type in www.thelongestdomainnameintheworldandthensomeandthensomemoreandmore.com. (That’s a real domain, btw.)
Brand names matter. Whether it’s short and sweet or it evokes feelings, the name is important.
It’s so important to get your business name right the first time, because rebranding is never simple. But no worries. Things can always be changed as you or your business evolves. That said, you name it… we can help!
And check out our new social media post to see how Tangible got its name.