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When starting a business, entrepreneurs manage to worry about almost everything and leave the most critical details for the last, often forgetting essential aspects such as naming their company.
How you name your business can either make or break it. However, before you can even worry about a name for your small business idea, you will need information on how to start a business. When that is set, you can move on to how to name a business.
How to Come up With a Business Name – Things to Note
- Keep in mind the legal considerations
- Make sure the name is easy to spell
- Be creative within limits
- Avoid mimicking your competition
- Make sure the domain name is available
- Avoid generic business names
- Make your business name growth-proof
- Use Google AdWords
- Test your business name with your target audience
The Importance of a Good Business Name
Almost 50% of businesses fail within the first five years of operation. The first impression is essential, and experiences have shown that many new startups have failed purely due to their name giving a wrong impression. It is not surprising since judging a book by its cover is human nature.
A catchy business name is about being short, eye-catching, and straightforward. This will go a long way when you start marketing your brand.
Before you start looking for a business name, note that one method that may work for someone else when figuring out how to come up with a business name may not work for you. Read on to find out how to name a business and things to avoid when naming your business.
13 Tips on How to Come Up With a Business Name
Many things could go wrong or get overlooked in the process of naming a business. It is by no means easy to come up with a name that is both catchy and communicates what your business is all about.
A good business name can very well be the only thing that differentiates you from your competitors. Here are some tips on how to name your business.
1. Keep In Mind the Legal Considerations
Legal considerations can help answer a lot of things when it comes to naming your business. Many founders forget the legal bindings that come with owning, naming, and running an enterprise.
Before you sit down to think of a business name, you need to finalize the business structure your company will have. This is important because when you name your business, it’s subject to laws depending on your business structure.
For example, if you want to register your business as an LLC, you will need to register its name at the time of registration. For an LLC in most states, your legal name must include one of the following conventions:
- Limited Company
- Ltd. Liability Co
- Limited Liability Company
Besides such legal obligations, you will also need to consider trademark rights, which involves trademarking your name and looking up trademarks for a potential name you are considering. You do not want to be fighting a legal battle in court over using an already trademarked name.
2. Make Sure the Name Is Easy to Spell
A hard-to-spell name will make it difficult for potential customers to search for your business and produce a variety of pronunciations that are completely different from the original brand name.
You also would not want your customer to end up searching for a competitor while looking up your business on the web or questioning whether your business name is spelled wrong. Easy-to-spell business names generally do well with the public and the company, as people don’t have to struggle with misspellings on banners or important documents.
3. Be Creative, but Within Limits
Being able to have your own creative space when making business decisions is one of the most cited reasons for starting a business. You can start getting creative from the very get-go with naming your business.
Your business name needs to be all about being creative while avoiding long phrases. Many people end up using longer phrases instead of words for their name, which looks more like a slogan than a business name.
An example of a creating business name that relays what the business is about and is creative at the same time is Flickr, similar to Flicker. However, avoid naming your business something like WorX instead of Works to make it look creative. Your customers might get confused about how to spell it and sometimes mess up its pronunciation.
4. Avoid Mimicking Your Competition
When questioning how to come up with a business name, avoid copying or using similar names to your competitors. This is probably the most important rule to consider. Not only does it give the public the impression that you are trying to copy, but it also shows a lack of creativity on your part, which can come off as lazy.
Many make this mistake, hoping it will help their business thrive in the market, but it rarely works.
5. Grab That .com Domain
When naming your business, it is important to search for domain availability. You would not want to spend a large chunk of your time coming up with a name only to find out that the domain name of your liking is unavailable.
When it comes to a domain, websites with a .com domain tend to do better compared to .us, .net, or .uk sites.
When looking at how to come up with a business name, many business owners fall trap to limiting their creativity as they narrow their naming possibilities to finding a .com domain. Instead of limiting your options, looking up the domain and seeing if the current owner would be willing to sell it to you for the right price is best.
Domain registrars can help you determine whether a domain is taken if it is up for grabs, and who the extension owner is. During this process, make sure you are availing the chance to secure names for your socials.
6. Avoid Generic Names
How many times do we see websites named QRST or ABC technologies? The best example to give is IBM and LG. Using abbreviations to name your brand is boring and outdated.
Trends today call for names that relay value and are not generic. If your name is like any other business out there, you risk the chance of losing potential clients. When you name your business, you ideally want it to convey some message.
Although short names like Bing are catchy to hear and look fun at first glance, they are harder to brand.
7. Naming the Business After Yourself
One of the worst mistakes you can make when figuring out how to come up with a business name is using your own name. Although it might not look bad at first glance, you will face several problems as your business grows later on.
Firstly, if you name your business “Laura Smith,” not only does it not relay anything about your brand, but it also hinders scaling your business. Secondly, when there ever comes a time you need to sell your business, you will have a hard time finding potential buyers.
If you still want your name to be in your brand’s name, there are creative ways to do that. For instance, you can creatively incorporate your name, for example, Matt, into a general word like Automatic to come up with ‘Automattic’.
8. Think of Scalability
When pondering how to come up with a business name, always think of expansion. Never narrow the possibility of naming your brand based on what you currently do.
For example, do not think of “Readings” when naming a business that sells books. In the future, you might want to expand into other areas. Imagine if Samsung named itself “Sammobiles.” They would be limited to selling phones.
This also means avoiding the use of a particular town or country in your name, as you may potentially expand your brand into other countries or regions.
9. Always Associate
When the time comes to name your business, never name it as something that would leave you questioning what your company is about. If someone has to question what you do when listening to your name, then an association between your name and your services is missing.
10. Avail Google AdWords
How you name your business should reflect a thorough knowledge of how well your business name does within the market. To find out whether your business name is popular, you can use the Keyword Planner tool on Google AdWords.
The “find keyword” feature on Google AdWords allows users to find keywords related to their business. This feature includes various options, such as keyword suggestions, keyword research, and keyword planning. Moreover, it provides data on how often the keyword appears online every month.
11. Use Online Resources
There are never enough options when coming up with ways to name your business. You will always keep questioning how to come up with a business name. This constant brainstorming for a suitable name often results in a creative block. In cases like this, online business name generators can come in handy.
On the other hand, you could look for alternatives for the word you would like to use as your business name, provided it does not clash with a competitor and use its synonym.
12. Conduct Your Research
Often domain availability is the only factor many consider when deciding how to come up with a business name. This shortsightedness can lead to legal issues.
Search up federal records for trademark rights. To do this, you can go to US Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and search for your keyword on the site. Once the search is done, the website will provide you with information regarding the availability of the keyword.
Moreover, if you are a registered LLC, you want to ensure that your name is not similar to another business. Otherwise, the Secretary of State will not allow you to register your name under the pretense of it being too similar to another business.
13. Testing Your Name
A good business always seeks input from its customers. In the same way, it is important for entrepreneurs not to let the excitement of starting a new venture overlook the importance of testing its name with the target audience.
The last thing you would want to do is spend a fortune on a business name only to find out that your customers don’t like it. To avoid such a scenario conducting market research and surveying opinions can help understand whether your name resonates with the people that matter most to your business.
Final Words on How to Name a Business
Your business’ name is the first point of contact between your customers and your business, which is why it’s so important. There’s no shortcut to how to come up with a business name. It’s a challenge that an entrepreneur must overcome with their innovation and problem-solving skills.
As challenging as it may be to come up with a business name, it is only the first step toward branding. A good name is the foundation of many things that encompasses your business. It shows your creativity, fortifies your identity, relays your motivation, and leaves a positive first impression.
About the author
Dr. Alexander Sterling, Esq, a distinguished legal scholar with a business law degree and a Doctor of Juridical Science, is a leading expert in business registration and diverse business departments. Renowned for his academic excellence and practical insights, Dr. Sterling guides businesses through legal complexities, offering invaluable expertise in compliance, corporate governance, and registration processes.
As an accomplished author, his forthcoming book is anticipated to be a comprehensive guide for navigating the dynamic intersection of law and business, providing clarity and practical wisdom for entrepreneurs and legal professionals alike. With a commitment to legal excellence, Dr. Alexander Sterling, Esq, is a trusted authority dedicated to empowering businesses within the ever-evolving legal landscape.