How to Name Your Business

When it comes to naming your business, be it a website, a brick-and-mortar storefront, a firm or a multinational, the right name choice can make a difference in your success. The name is the “first impression” you make on your customers. It has to strike like lighting with the best intended effect, or all your work may be for naught.

Therefore it doesn’t pay to take your business name lightly. Even the most whimsical-sounding business names are often carefully-selected. Instead of a “Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream”, you might wind up with a “Hank’s Lingerie”. Keep the following factors in mind when selecting your business name.


A good business name should…


Be Original


It goes without saying that the name cannot already belong to another business. But more than this, if your business is “The Happy Sun Company”, take care that customers can find you when searching online; and not the hundred other businesses scattered across five continents, and thousand other products and services that share this name.


Be Easy to Spell and Remember


Do yourself a favor and make the name recognizable, and one which you will not have to spell for your customers. Otherwise you’ll be explaining it ten times a day, and you’ll soon wish you had that time to do something else. If it takes ten seconds to explain your name, six times a day, that’s a minute a day, and over one day a year you take just to explain your company name to customers.


Yes, misspelling Truck Repair as Trux Repairs might earn you a top spot in the search engines, but you will get tired of spelling your business name in about a week.


Be SEO-Friendly


The ideal business name of course would have a search engine search result page all to itself. This is unlikely. But you can sometimes find combinations of words that would give your site first rank in a search. Instead of Café, or even Jay’s Café, you might try an unrelated name, like “Fencepost Café”. When a customer searches for your business online, they can see it right at the top of the results.


Fulfill a Trademark Search


No DBA (Doing Business As) registration can be allowed prior to a government trademark search. Yes, your construction contracting business is called Ace Contractors, inc, and you’re the only one in the city. Yes, there are probably a hundred others just like it in other cities. However the first one who registers his or her trademark to that name, is the only one legally able to use it – and can then possibly litigate against others who use it commercially, if they deem your business to affect their bottom line.


Trademark registration can take many months; in the meantime, your company can display the ® mark on your name, which means Registered. This will keep any other company from using the brand you have pending.


It should be noted that your trademark must be registered in any country you intend to do business in. One country at a time. Many people see your successful business and squat on your overseas trademark in hopes of making a “sale”. That’s “business”.


Represent the USP of Your Business


Your business name should reflect the special service or quality that distinguishes your company from the competition – the USP, or Unique Selling Proposition. Are you the cheapest? Fastest? Most adaptable? Say so with your business name.


Capture the Tone or Feeling of Your Business


Cute? Serious? Corporate? Family-Owned? Community-Centered? As Steve Martin once opined, nobody will put their money into “Fred’s Bank”! Yes, you might call your dogwalking service “Alice’s Dog Walking Service”. Or you might take it a step further from the Name/Type cliché and capture a feeling, such as “Puppy Walkies and Frisbee Service”. You get the idea. The whimsical name reflects the right kind of personality people would entrust their dog’s daily welfare to – a happy and energetic person.


Avoid Clichés


Common cliches probably include the first things that come to your mind when naming a business. Healthy Home Care, Clean Car Wash, Cheap Web Host, etc. Fill a page with ideas, then tear it up and throw it away. Your naming enterprise begins on page two.


Avoid Bluster


Ok, you sell your homemade cookies and baked goods on the internet, but is it fair to call your business “Nibbles Conglomerated International Company”? You partner with a web designer in Sydney, is it accurate to call your company “Trans-Pacific Advertising”? The best way to name your business is to more accurately describe what it is your business does, and who, in fact, it serves. If it’s a choice between a difficult original name, and a generic accurate one, choose a generic accurate one. “Bright Cove Carpet Cleaning”, though less imaginative, will win more new customers than “Custom Warp  amp; Weave”.


Have Credibility – For Your Niche


Finally, your name must reflect your own credibility and reliability, as an established business that will be here tomorrow. The name should adhere to the standards of the business niche in which you operate. A hair salon might have a creative name, while an investment agency might promote conservative values. There are even name generators on the internet to help you come up with creative new words for your business!


Put some thought into the naming of your business – if you find it too challenging, get yourself a professional copywriter or branding agency to help you. Your business name operates in conjunction with your business image, brand, niche, USP, and web presence, all functioning together like a perpetual-motion machine. Your business, like you, has a special place in the universe, that might be imitated but never duplicated.