How to Select the Right Name for Your New Business

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Does the name of a business affect that business’s success? In most cases, absolutely it does. So how do you name a business?

While the right name can make your business popular within a short time, the wrong one can doom your prospects. The right name can create a unique business identity, but the wrong one can mar it, along with your chances of success.

Do you go with something descriptive or something creative? Do you include a location in the name? Do you decide this on your own or get expert help? You need to find answers to a number of questions before you make a final decision to name a business.

How to Name a Business

Expert Advice: You May Need It

It’s not  easy to name a business. The name has to convey the right message and generate interest. Trademark issues must be considered and most importantly, you need to develop the right marketing strategy for the name you’ve chosen. If this is not particularly your field of expertise, hiring an expert may make sense.

If you’re in a sector where the name of your new venture is sure to affect its success, you need to involve an expert in the selection process. But don’t depend blindly on the expert. Instead, work with them to find the best name for your business.

Professional naming firms know what works and what doesn’t. You may come up with a name that seems good to you, however, they have the expertise to identify a name’s potential and evaluate its possibilities. They also know how to prevent legal hassles over trademarks.

Don’t think that hiring a professional is just a waste of money. The identity of your business depends on its name, at least initially. When you name a business, mistakes can lead to long term consequences that are costly in terms of time and money.

Informative or Abstract: Which Should You Choose?

Descriptive or creative? Real words or fabricated ones? Location-based or general? The questions are numerous. However, all of them are intertwined. Everything boils down to the basics – whether you need to choose a name that informs people about your business or a name that generates people’s interest, making them want to find out more.

There are no hard and fast rules to name a business. What works for one business may not work for another. This makes it even more important to think hard about the type of name that will be good for your endeavor.

You also need to decide whether to include a location in the name. While a location may define the proximity of your business for your target customers, it may become a problem if you expand your business to other locations later on. Just because your new business is small today doesn’t mean it will remain so in the future. The ideal name for your business should be the one that conveys the uniqueness of what you bring to your customers. But, the ideal may not always work for every business.

Here are a few tips to name a business that do work for all businesses:

  • Pay attention to what your clients want; not to what you want.
  • Don’t choose a long name with difficult words.
  • Use words that evoke familiarity.
  • Don’t use puns, as they may not be understood.
  • Incorporate your business before you use the “Inc.” in the name.

Professional firms often use a simple trick to come up with business namesmorphemes. These small, meaningful units of words provide a good base for an interesting, yet informative business name.

Trademark Issues: How to Stay Safe

Trademark infringement may lead to legal battles where you lose precious time and money. Therefore, it’s important that you research the names you think will be suitable for your business. You may also find it helpful to hire a trademark attorney to help you avoid legal issues.

Don’t take trademark issues lightly: These conflicts can completely annihilate your financial resources. An ounce of legal prevention is worth a pound of cure in terms of time and money.

And the Winner Is

Now that you have three to five names as contenders, whether you came up with them yourself or had experts contribute them, it’s time to finally pick one. Here are a few ideas that may help you find the best one for your business:

  1. Ask yourself: Does the name convey the company image you want to create?
  2. Ask your target consumers : Does the name seem interesting? (You can do this with a market survey.)
  3. Ask your marketing people: Does the name have potential?

The last decision rests with you: Follow your intuition, go with the expert recommendation.

Whatever your method to name a business, make sure you start to market the name as soon as you have decided to use it.

Internet Cafe Photo via Shutterstock

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Richard White


Richard White Richard White works as an editor at Yellow Brick Path. He enjoys varying his work and researching new and different approaches. He shares an interest in career counseling and recruitment.

11 Reactions

  1. This is certainly one of the most critical aspects of any business… and a poor business name can negatively affect marketing down the road too

  2. Hiring professional experts is necessary but not compulsory if you don’t have the cash. Great piece though. I think when picking a business name like the author of this post said, you should engage your target market. It helps a lot.

    • Right, a market survey with focus on your niche can help you identify how well the name goes down with your target customers! Thanks for your views.

  3. A catchy brand name is one of the first things that your customers notices and makes the first impression on them so it’s important that it encompasses and reflects your company properly. Thanks for sharing these tips.

    Ti

  4. And in the internet world, you should consider the availability/cost of an acceptable domain name.

    • Yes, so it does. Again, for online businesses, you also need to pay attention to the same things – what it conveys and how well it conveys to the target group.

  5. I completely agree. There is nothing more damaging to a business than a bad business name destroying your companies image. It’s wise to take your time on this one and put some thought into it. Again, like everyone else has mentioned, it’s a good investment to seek expert help though not required. I would say that it’s more important to hire a trademark attorney to make sure that everyones rights are being protected. Good tips from the author….

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