It's not always easy to come up with a great name for your first company, but it's important that you put in some time and effort into making sure that the name resonates with your audience and speaks to the quality of services or products you're offering. A well-thought-out name could help your small business grow faster than expected.
Every entrepreneur knows how important it is to have a strong business name for one's brand. However, coming up with one that's both memorable and explains what you do can be challenging.
In this blog post, I'll walk you through how to create the perfect business name.
What is a business name?
A business name is the formal or informal name of a corporation, organization, group, individual, etc.
Finding your business name
The most important thing to remember when trying to find the perfect business name is that your business should be named something customers and potential employees can easily recognize. This especially holds true for companies using online as an important marketing tool.
Business Name Checklist (Do & Don't)s
- Avoid using abbreviations and acronyms
- Check uppercase all words
- Use punctuation correctly
- Spell out states
- Do not use common phrases
- Say your business name out loud
- Make sure it's original
- Beware of domain name ownership
- Register a domain if possible
- Go through multiple revisions
- Make sure the company name reflects what you do
- Write down why you like certain names
- Look for creative alternatives
- Use good grammar
- Keep it simple
- Avoid big word combos
- Be descriptive without being too wordy or "cutesy"
- Keep trademarks to a minimum (one or two)
- Consider using your personal name
- Use all 5 senses
- Avoid bad puns
- Take advantage of word and letter sounds
- Leave a good impression
- Don't over-dramatize
- Make sure it's catchy when spoken out loud
- Do not use profanity
- Search for possible conflicts
- Be original
- Be concise
- Stick with the same phrase
- Change "inc," "ltd" & "llc"
- Name doesn't describe any product
- Name doesn't describe how you'll do business
Your business's name should not confuse customers or potential clients with a similar organization, product, service, or trade name already in existence. To avoid this problem make sure your company name does not sound too much like another company whose products/services are completely unrelated to yours.
Certain words could cause problems if you do business abroad. If your American-based export/import company happens to have a corporate title containing "Germany" it may be confusing for non-English speakers since German is the language of Germany.
In addition, you may have a hard time convincing foreign investors to buy into your company if you use a name including "America" since it is difficult for foreigners to associate an American-sounding business with a small or developing country. Likewise, if your company has a name that includes "China," customers in Asia may take some time before they realize that you are actually located in California.
Registering your business's name
When naming your company spend some time searching local and state records to make sure there are no conflicts with other companies using similar names. If all checks out then register the formal name of your company at both the Federal and State levels through county clerks' offices where applicable.
Taking Advantage of Domain Names
Great. Now register it as a domain name to make sure no one else goes ahead and snaps it up! If you don't already own the URL for your company or if someone already does, then ask them nicely to relinquish control of it. You can do this either through email or by using a service like Google Domain in seconds .
If all else fails, then buy that domain at an online registrar such as Network Solutions. Prices start at around $16 per year depending on how long you want your site to be active.
Naming Your Company in the Correct Category
When naming your company, make sure you do not place yourself in a category that is completely unrelated to what you do, and try to be original! If you are an accounting firm and don't want customers confusing your company with a dot-com company called "Accounting Firm USA," simply call it "Smith and Jones Accounting Firm."
Short Versus Long Business Names
Many entrepreneurs prefer shorter business names over longer ones because they allow a greater number of characters to appear in a promotional piece or advertisement.
How to Name Your Company
There are generally three ways to find the right business name for your company:
- Ask others what they think of your possible names
- Brainstorm until you come up with an idea you like
- Pay attention to the mood you are in when you think of successful companies and their names
When you finally have found the perfect name, register the name immediately either online or through local resources, and be prepared for success!
For more information, check out these websites below: Bizcn.com & Corporations.com.
When choosing a business name make sure it is exactly what you want! If after researching possible domain names and registering your business name, you think your company's name doesn't reflect your organization well then change it. You can always re-register the name or purchase another domain in order to effectively market and promote your company online.
Name of Company:
Capitalize the first letter of each word in a business title, even if some words are not capitalized in the dictionary. Capitalization should be consistent throughout an advertisement or other printed material. Note that even though it may not be standard practice, small businesses commonly put a period after each letter in their names (such as "Smith & Jones Accounting Firm" rather than "Smith & jones accounting firm").
Periods and spaces
To appear more professional, avoid using abbreviations for words in your business name. Spell out all words rather than using acronyms, abbreviations, or acronyms with periods.
Use only one space after the name of a person or company on an envelope or in correspondence. If you use initials, do not leave spaces between them.
Abbreviations and acronyms
It is best to avoid using abbreviations and initialisms in your business name (unless it is already commonly used or recognized). This also applies to common shortened forms of states ("Pennsylvania" instead of "Pa."), cities ("Philadelphia" instead "Phila."), and organizations ("AAA" instead of "Triple-A"). However, some abbreviations can be incorporated if they are well known: AAA = American Automobile Association
Hyphenated names are not recommended because they can be awkward to say, write and remember. This especially applies to all-capitalized names where the letters run together so that it is hard to decipher the words. (Remember: uppercase letters always take up more space on a printed page than lowercase letters.)
Do not use special characters like ampersands (&), trademark symbols (™), registered marks (®), or accented letters in business and personal names. Those may have other meanings in languages other than English, such as ñ in Spanish for n-y, which looks like an n with a tilde (~). Also, avoid using &, which is used in text messaging to mean "and."
If a catchy name is important for your company, here are some tips to consider: Avoid using a common word that describes what you do. For example, it may not be wise to call yourself the "Accounting Firm" or the "Computer Company" if there are other accounting firms and computer companies out there. Also, avoid using an adjective as part of your business name unless you can think of another well-known company whose name contains that word. There's nothing wrong with being logical and descriptive (e.g., "Budget Accounting Services"), but don't overdo it by calling your business something like "$aving$ on Accountant$.com"!
Choose a name that is easy to spell, as well as pronounce.
Company Names To Avoid
Certain words carry a negative connotation in some regions or countries. For example, some countries may view a company name ending in "Inc." as being part of the government (like the IRS). Also, certain words can be misconstrued depending on your audience. For example, if you are targeting European customers who speak languages with umlauts or other accented characters, avoid using the letter combinations "ae", "our", and "ue".
What should I do if the name I want is not available?
There are a few considerations when choosing a business name. Your goal with a business name is to create an identity and then have people remember who you are, not what you do. With that in mind, there are some considerations for picking the right name for your company. First, make sure that the name you pick can't be mistaken with another similar company or organization in your industry. If it's too generic, it may also be hard to get customers to remember who you are. You don't want to sound like everyone else! Second, make sure the domain is available if you're looking to build a website for your company at some point down the road (you should be!) In your research, you'll want to use multiple services like Domainr and Namechk to verify the name is available before buying. Check out this article for a great list of available domain names by category and industry.
How to know if your business name is trademarked?
If you want to use a name that could be trademarked, list the similar names in your business plan. Before you start using a name, get an attorney to do a preliminary determination on its availability as a trademark. Your law firm can also help protect your trademarks both inside and outside of the country. Approved trademarks are registered at the state and federal level and usually carry the ® symbol next to the mark.
How long does a business name registration take?
You can get your online business off the ground quickly with a dot com domain from one of our partners at Domainr! The process takes approximately one day after you submit your order online to secure your domain name and an additional two days for it to be active on the Internet. There are some exceptions when registering highly sought-after domains so you should check with your registrar before you purchase.
The importance of having a great name for your company cannot be understated. Your business, product, or service needs to stand out and resonate with customers in order to drive sales. One way is by creating a catchy and memorable name that will make people want to engage further with what you have to offer.
With the tips provided above on how not to use abbreviations or common words as part of your business name, but sometimes not all of us have patience in thinking things through so here are 15 brand name generators you can use to assist you.
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