It’s important to choose a name that resonates with your business. A business name represents your brand and influences the impression a potential customer forms.
Choosing a business name is one of the most significant factors of establishing a business, but it can result in a herculean task. When starting a business, choosing a suitable business name results in a struggle for many budding proprietors. That sounds like you. You’re delving into this article because the content clearly defines the struggle you currently face – how to choose a business name.
Prior to brainstorming, ask yourself the ten questions underscored in this article. Jot down the answers to your questions and get those creative juices flowing. Applying the suggestions will teach you how to choose a business name that your audience will remember.
How to Choose a Business Name: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Do
What Category Does Your Name Fit In?
Most business names assume several categories that you’ll be able to identify with. These include:
- A geographical of location-based name
A geographical or location-based name is often central or specific to a country or area. SEO Boston, a local web marketing agency, caters to businesses within the Boston or MA area.
A location-based name has its perks, but it does restrict your business when intentions are made to expand.
- The proprietor’s name
You can become your brand or the face of your business. This means you’ll conduct business or trade under your personal name. When you use your name, it’s easy to register and let’s face it, it’s easy to choose.
For your reference, below you’ll find a few proprietors’ names taken from the Being Boss Facebook Group. That list provides classical examples of business names within this category. Feel free to look around for ideas.
- A formulated name
Some business owners have fabulously creative minds. BLU – Bold Like Us – is an example you can draw from. Get those natural creative juices flowing and create your own fabricated name by mixing letters or an acronym that’s dear to you.
- A descriptive name
This choice of business name defines the focus of your business. Kimberly Hardesty is the maven behind Low Carb Maven, a food blog with a focus on low carb recipes. Just by looking at your blog’s name, you can determine her line of business.
- An unrelated or borrowed name
Have you ever encountered those business names without any specific affiliation with the product or service being offered? This business would need to roll out some heavy marketing campaigns to link the name and the product.
Apple is one of those business names. Before Apple became a huge deal, would you have been able to identify what they do? You get where I’m going.
Remember, if you use this category to choose a business name, make plans to market heavily.
What Message Do You Want Your Business Name to Convey?
When your business name is rolled off the tongue, what message would you like to be conjured in peoples’ minds?
Choosing a business name based on the above question includes using the right words to portray a certain attribute of your product or service. If you want to create a business that focuses on writing copy, what words would you use to describe that service?
Is Your Business Name Easy to Spell?
Will people be able to spell your business name? That’s important. If people cannot spell your business name, they won’t be able to find your business in Internet searches. This is no Spelling Bee competition so keep your name simple.
Can Your Business Name Be Easily Pronounced?
If people cannot spell your business name of choice, they probably won’t be able to pronounce it either. To evaluate if your business name is difficult to say, have your friends pronounce it. If it’s difficult to roll around the tongue, your audience won’t buy it.
Is Your Name of Choice Available or a Violation of Someone’s Trademark?
Can you use your business name without getting into hot water? Even if your business name isn’t the same as another, the law may prevent it from being used, simply because it’s too close to another name. To check the availability of a name, here’s what you need to do:
- Screen the name
Use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to locate pending and registered trademarks.
- Try to locate if a domain name exists with your business name of choice
If I wanted to register my business name as Samantha Burris, I’d simply do a search online to see what domains pop up. It is common to use .com domains, but ensure to try other domains (.gov, .net, blog, .edu, .int, .mil, .biz, .jobs, .mobi, .name, .info, .tel)
Is It an Original or Copied Name?
This process of choosing a business name is similar to the previous point. You can use a phone book to discover companies with sound-alike names.
Can your Business Name Be Easily Memorized?
Choosing a business name by asking this question is very important. This goes back to the impression you want your business to have on people. If they cannot remember your business name, no impression was formed, not even a bad one.
People normally remember a business name when it can be tied to a face. This takes us back to question number two: “What category does your name fit in?” If you choose your name as the face of the business, people will remember that.
Will You Get Tired of Your Business Name? Can You Grow with It?
I’ve seen this happen before. Some people hastily choose a business name only to later rebrand. Don’t get me wrong, nothing is wrong with rebranding. However, if your business has developed a good audience, you will have to work overnight to rebuild it.
Ask yourself, “Do I like this business name? Do I get a warm feeling when my business name goes on repeat or do I feel slighted when it’s called?”
Will That Name Be Acceptable Worldwide?
The inception of the Internet has vastly changed how business is conducted. With a global market at your fingertips, it’s decisive to choose a business name that will be accepted internationally.
Your business name, the face of your proprietorship, should have a lasting and pleasant taste on the tongue. If someone speaking another language was to encounter your business name, what would they associate with the name? Would it have a negative connotation or something positive?
Will You Be Able to Commit to That Name?
After choosing a business name, there are important processes you must undertake to protect the identity of your business.
- It’s required that you register your business.
- Secure a domain for your business (this is optional and may depend on the type of business and target audience).
- File for a trademark. Again, this is optional. If you have something that is unique and wants to protect it, filing for a trademark will offer some protection.
- Get a professional logo done that aligns with your business.
- Look out for opportunities to advance or spread awareness of your business.
Remember, in cases where a rebrand is called into action, you’ll have to kill the old identity to give birth to a new one. That encompasses repeating certain processes – choosing a business name, registering, trademark, branding etc.
If you choose a good business name, one that won’t get old (or you won’t grow out), you’ll save yourself precious time and money. It takes time to build a business.