What’s in a name? A great deal when you’re starting a business! The difference between choosing the right or wrong name for your small business could affect the future of your company and public perception of your brand. A well-thought-out name leaves a lasting positive impression while poor names can drive people away and clunky names can simply cause them to forget who you are. You can’t just rush through this part of forming your company, even if you have a stellar product.
Here are a few tips for naming your business that will put you on the path to success.
Consider Future Growth
Do you plan on your company expanding in the future? It’s something to keep in mind when coming up with a business name. Admittedly, expansion can mean a few things. It could refer to franchising, moving the business into new locations, expanding offerings, and the like.
First, you should think about the pros and cons of putting a location in your company’s name, like Houston Home Builders. On one hand, it really lets consumers know where you are and what you provide. And it may also help you show up higher in organic search results in search engines. The downside of a name like this, however, is that it limits your future growth. People in Baton Rouge, Louisiana won’t be as keen to a company that has Houston in the name.
It’s also important that you think about if your company might expand its offerings at some point down the line. Maybe you’re a wedding cake company right now; so, Mary’s Wedding Cake Company seems like a perfectly fitting name. Again, this specificity can be to your benefit if you have no plans of growing out. But what if you start selling different kinds of cakes, or other baked goods? Your name will be a limiting factor in helping you reach that broader audience.
Have It Mean Something
This might seem obvious, but all too often companies are named things that truly have no relevance to what they do. This seems to be increasingly common in today’s startup world. When thinking about the meaning behind a name, it doesn’t have to be totally literal. It can help if your company has some sort of identifying word or phrase in its name; just don’t get too hung up on this. Think about some of the most successful businesses: Google, Apple, Uber, and Amazon. None of those names totally give away what’s done or sold by each organization. But they’re all intriguing. Plus, they tell a more abstract stories, which can be preferable in some cases.
Make Sure You Can Get the Domain Name
Check on domain name availability before you lock in with a company name. If you’re going through a provider like Yahoo Small Business that offers website templates, they’ll tell you if a domain is already in use. For most organizations, it’s easier to just choose a domain name that hasn’t already been taken by someone else. It’s sometimes possible to purchase a domain from someone if they aren’t actively using it. However, this can often be very expensive—especially for desirable names. If a .com is taken, consider moving your website to a .biz or a similarly appropriate domain extension.
Can You Trademark It?
You might want to choose a name based on whether you can trademark it. This is most important for companies that might grow into major brands at some point in their existence.
You can look at the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s website to see if you can trademark a name.
Say It Out Loud (A Lot of Times)
Don’t get too comfortable with a name that you haven’t said out loud? Why’s this? Because a name can sound a lot different in your head versus when it’s actually spoken. You don’t want a company name that trips people up when they say it. This can happen if there’s too much alliteration.
It’s also possible for a name to sound like something else when it’s said aloud. It could be mistaken for something offensive when said fast. You’ll feel stupid later, and have wasted a lot of time, if your company’s name is ineffective for one of these reasons.
People sometimes underestimate the importance of giving their organization a strong name. The name of your business is one of the first ways it’ll make an impression on people. Make sure you put in the necessary time to getting this right.