Blog & Company News

Nov 14, 2012

Tips for Naming Your Business

Considering all of the elements that go into starting a small business, it may be surprising to learn that choosing the right name is one of the most important decisions you can make. It’s the first thing potential customers and employees will learn about you and we all know the value of first impressions. Choose the wrong name and people will stay away. Pick the right name—that is, something catchy, feel-good, and web-friendly—and you may have more business than you can handle. What to consider Think about your business. What image comes to mind? People tend to think visually, so consider how the name will appear as part of your logo, on your letterhead, website, etc. This helps customers remember your name as well. Along with image, “feel” is an important element. You want a name that makes people feel good (or at least doesn’t drive them away). The right name should evoke an idea of what your business stands for and the emotional meaning you’d like to convey. No one remembers a long business name (and translating it into a domain name can be impossible to recall). Imagine what the name will look like on a business card or advertisement. Short is sweet! The right name should give customers a sense of what your business does. That’s why “Big Mountain Trucking” has the word “trucking” in its name. It helps people searching for your business online. How will the new name look when it’s abbreviated for an email address?  Should the address include your first or last name? The goal is making things as easy as possible for customers. What to do Get the creativity process started with some old-fashioning brainstorming, on your own and with family and friends. Toss out ideas that convey a clear message and offer some positive connotations. Write out all the keywords you can come up with relating to you, your business and the products or services you provide. Don’t restrict your thinking to the business world; look to pop culture for off-beat references that spur your thinking forward. Research your competitors and compare their names to your own ideas. (Don’t mimic or otherwise copy a competitor, as this creates confusion in the minds of potential customers.) Speaking of customers, an in-depth understanding of your target audience can help direct new name ideas. What’s the age range? What do they do for a living? How do they make use of their leisure time?  None of these considerations are off-limits when it comes to brainstorming a name for your business. Give your top name finalists a trial run. Share them with colleagues, friends, family members and see how they respond. Pay attention to how they associate the new names with their own life experiences. Guaranteed you’ll hear things that surprise you. When you’re down to the top three or four names, it’s time to conduct a more refined search and registration. Google the names to make sure no one else has claimed them. And, since being active in social media must be part of your marketing plan, repeat the process on Twitter and Facebook. Finally, check for trademarks. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has a trademark search tool to expedite your search and help avoid any possible trademark infringement. Regardless of how “perfect” your great names seem, don’t rush to put things in motion. Set the list aside for a couple of days and come back to look at them with fresh eyes. You may feel differently about them, they may prompt further ideas or they may actually be perfect. Then you’re on your way.