Tips for How to Come up With A Business Name

by Jayme Nelson

Your business name is very important—it will be with you for years, maybe even generations. It will likely be the first thing potential customers hear or see about your business. How do you come up with a business name? It takes careful thought and consideration, but don’t let that intimidate you. Here are a few tips for creating a great name for your business.  

What’s In a Name?

Your business name should be memorable and descriptive. This helps your target audience know what you do and recall the name of your organization later. You want it to help describe what you do to help better market your products or services, but clarity is crucial. Bonus points for being concise. Remember, this name will be on the sign on your building and on your vehicle, embroidered on shirts or uniforms, printed on business cards, used for your social media accounts and more. Make sure it gets your message across with as little room for confusion as possible.

When narrowing down your choices for a business name, think about whether or not it is challenging to spell or pronounce. Use caution if you are considering intentionally spelling a word wrong for the fun factor or using a name that is difficult to spell or say. When people search for you online, don’t expect them to remember the unique spelling--and if they search inaccurately, you might send them elsewhere instead of to your business. Creativity is always a plus, just keep in mind what will work best for your organization across all of the potential customer touchpoints.

Where do you see your business in the next 5 years? 10 years? Beyond? You may not even know yet how far you will take your business, so don’t limit yourself. Try to avoid incorporating specific products or geography in your name. You never know if your great business idea will become a multi-location organization or if new technology will come along that changes your core offerings. Make your name as nimble as the fast-paced business world.

Do Your Homework

With any business venture, due diligence is an important step. The same goes for your business name. You can begin with an online and social media search to see if anyone is already using this name and whether or not it may have any negative associations.  

After this initial research, either work with an attorney to do it or confirm the registration process in your area to get started. The Small Business Association website and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are your best resources to help make sure you are set up for success and are protecting your future investment. Hand-in-hand with beginning the process of registering your business and name, begin the process of claiming a domain name. Search ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) for availability, as well as domain name registrars. It may make sense to register .com, .net, .org as well as misspellings of your name.

Branding, Branding, Branding

Now that you have a business name determined and are ready to go, the fun begins. Branding is a key part of your future business’s success. You have something to offer, but you need everyone else to know about it, and what differentiates you in the marketplace. Once you select the location that you will operate from, it is time to brand it. Signs and visual graphics are what help you make that first visual impression. They should help capture attention, identify your business and what it provides, and reflect your organization’s personality.

A collection of outdoor signs and imaged glass for Holiday Wine Cellar

Exterior signs identify your organization and can take many forms including site and monument signs, building signs, pylon signs, door and window graphics, and even branded doormats. Inside your building, different sign materials and design elements can extend your brand to your decor, and help build a memorable connection. Smaller areas can look and feel larger with wall murals and graphics. Larger spaces can utilize a number of dimensional signs, custom wallpaper and window shades, digital signs, posters and other decor graphics. From the ceiling to the floor, your business can extend its unique brand in an impactful way. Regardless of the size or style of your business space, each sign and graphic provide a point of contact between your brand and the customer or prospect.

Vehicle wraps, mats, and a branded receipt for Holiday Wine Cellar

If your organization operates on the go, use branded wraps or vehicle graphics on any company vehicles to help communicate your message as your team drives around town. You can also place your logo on employee uniforms, shirts, promotional pieces, trade show displays and more.

Coming up with the perfect name for your entity is a rite of passage for many new business owners. But, it is just the beginning of your journey.

Sidebar: You might also be interested: “4 Ways to Market a Small Business