How to Choose A Name For Your Business

February 12, 2018

How to Choose A Name For Your Business

The name of your business is going to be with you for as long as the business lasts, so make sure it’s strategic and well thought out for your company. Take a look at these tips to make your business name as effective as it can be for your new venture.

Make it easy (and fun) to say

Companies like Apple, Google and Twitter are wildly successful for many reasons, but their short, easy names had a part in their popularity. It’s hard to imagine Google’s success if they were named “Internet Searching Database, Inc.”

Names like these are bouncy and roll off the tongue. This tip can be used for small businesses, too, like Minnesota’s Bercom, Peace Coffee, Blooma, Primp, Glam Doll Donuts, Parc, BlackBlue and Melly, to name a few.

Think like your customer

Step into the shoes of your customers. Are they mothers who want a soft, friendly name, like “Bippity Bop Baby Shoes”? Or men on motorcycles blaring Led Zepplin who would frequent a sports bar named “The Hammerhead”?

A word of caution: try to avoid trendy words used by your target demographic that may not be relevant after a few years, like naming your business “The Phat Phishery,” “OMG Tacos,” or “Covfefe Coffee Shop.”

What not to use

Confusing Last Names. One of the biggest mistakes we see business owners make is using their own last name for their business when their last name is confusing or uncommonly spelled. Confusing last names are tough to read, tough to say and can push away customers.

One company in southern Minnesota had such a confusing last name, their radio ad jingle had to literally spell it out so listeners understood who to look for. Other companies need to constantly pronounce their founder’s name with every customer service call, investment conversation and sales lead.

Outdated Terms. Company names like these used to work well back when there were smaller towns, less advertising and fewer competitors. Today, companies with names like “High-Quality Towing” or “Midwest Gardening” make name retention difficult.

These names also limit your ability to grow your business in the future. What if you want to add auto repair to a company named “High-Quality Towing,” or you’re successful enough to expand into the east coast, but you’re still called “Midwest Gardening”?

Near-Popular Names. Avoid naming your business something like “Papa Joe’s Pizza” when “Papa John’s” is so well known. Even in separate industries, similar names can be confusing, like “Apple Printing” and “Apple, Inc.”

Consider Context. Rethink using a business name that would make writing difficult, like “The Raven’s Bar & Grill” for phrases like, “Everything in The Raven’s(’s) kitchen is gluten-free.”

The same goes for special characters. If a company legally chooses the name “Seventy-Thr33”, anyone writing about it would need to second-guess using “Seventy-Thr33” or “Seventy-Three.”

Legally claiming your name

Before you start ordering pens and business cards sporting your new company name, check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to make sure the name is available.

Next, see if your ideal website URL and social media pages are available, along with checking synonyms, translations and common slang. After that (depending on the makeup of your business), you’ll need to register with the state, city or county that you operate in.

Your name in your logo

If your logo is designed with all capital letters (like Taco Bell) or all lowercase letters (like Mastercard), it’s not recommended to use that same format in everyday content like emails and webpage articles; just write it out like a normal proper noun. Our company logo is written as creativegraphics, but we always format it as Creative Graphics when writing.

Your full company name also doesn’t need to be shown in your logo if it works better without it. Logo design is a completely different story with different goals for the customer.

Your business, your name

In the end, your company is your company, so your name can be anything you want it to be (as long as it’s not already taken). And if you already have a sufficient customer base with a name breaking one of these “rules,” roll with it. LA Fitness has gyms all across the US and Canada. Boeing is a confusing last name, but takes in billions of dollars every year.

Just be sure to have a good business strategy, solid marketing and a name that works for you.

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