If you’re starting a business, one of the most important things to do is choose your business name. Your name will be the first impression potential customers will have of your company, so it’s important to choose wisely. There are all kinds of ways to find unique business names. You can just brainstorm, but here we will discuss different tips to help you choose your perfect business name.
Examine Your Business
Your business name needs to communicate your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. Take some time to write down exactly what those things are for your company. Your objectives should be what value you intend to provide to customers. What problem does your product or service solve? How will the customer benefit from what you have to offer?
Your services are what you are actually providing to customers from beginning to end. If you have a product rather than a service, how do you provide that product and what kind of services come with it?
Your mission is what you hope to achieve in the big picture. It might be “to provide the best product in the industry” or “to solve this problem for everyone”. Those are just generic examples, so think hard about what your overall mission really is.
After you’ve written all these things down, look at the words you used, and see if you can come up with a list of potential names from it.
Take any names that you’ve come up with and talk to people about them. Ask your colleagues, friends, family, or other people what they think of your potential names and see if they have any suggestions. Ask them to think like a customer – what would communicate to them exactly what value you provide? What would get their attention? What would they remember?
You might be surprised what people with an outside perspective can come up with. If you can, try to get a group of people together to have a brainstorming session. Show them the objectives, services, and mission that you wrote down. Put everything on a whiteboard if you have one and add their name suggestions to it.
Then narrow down the list and have them vote on which one they like best. Of course, you still have the final word on what your name will be!
Here are some tips for making a final decision:
- Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out. Think Google – it’s a household word now.
- Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better. Again, think Google.
- The name should be relevant to your product or service offerings. This seems obvious, but when you’re just starting out your name needs to say what you do.
- Including keywords that people might be searching for online when they want what you have to offer boosts SEO.
- Your name should allow for expansion. For example, “Jim’s Bakery” over “Jim’s Cookies”. You may want to add products or services eventually, so don’t pigeonhole your business with the name.
- Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion.
Make Sure the Name is Available
Once you have it narrowed down to a few names, you need to make sure they’re not already taken.
Check your secretary of state’s website to confirm they are available to register. You should also confirm that the name you want to register conforms to your state’s regulations on business names.
It’s also a good idea to check for nationally trademarked names, and check the availability of related domain names at a site such as GoDaddy.
You should also just do a good old-fashioned Google search. You may find a company that’s using your name in another state or even internationally. You don’t want to be confused with another company, even online.
Then, once you make a final decision, you can reserve the name with your secretary of state. You can usually do so online, and sometimes a small fee is involved. You should also go ahead and purchase the domain name. After your form your business entity, you might also consider trademarking the name to protect it throughout the United States.
Your business name is your business identity, so it’s important to choose one that conveys what you do and that will be memorable. You just need to get a little creative, and you can come up with something that will propel your business forward. Just cover all your bases to make sure that it’s not being used and do what you need to do to protect it. Good luck with your new business!