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How to Choose a Business Name

Updated on March 7, 2008

Business Name

The name of of your business is one of the most important things that you want to make sure to get right. A wrong name can cost you business and clients, as it's the first thing that customers hear.

I mean think about it... Would you want to choose a tattoo shop that had a name like "Dirty South Tattoos" versus maybe "Southern Tattoos." Come one dirty tattoos. Yuck. (1) You could get a poor quality tattoo or (2), the more obvious, is that the place is dirty, and you don't want to get a tattoo at a dirty facility.

So, when choosing a name for your new business, think about all your options. Funny puns aren't always the way to go.

Choose a Business Name

You want to start with deciding what you want your new business to accomplish Create a short and simple statement that describes everything you want in your personal business.

You're going to take that statement to, then generate a list of words to describe your business, to which you will create a list of 5 to 10 potential names, keeping in mind simplicity, professionalism, and uniqueness.

Evaluate each of the potential names. Which name conveys everything that your business does in just a few short words? Which name would have the most appeal to the people?

Tip: Don't choose a business name based on a current fad or trend because in 10 years no one will get it.

Once you've narrowed down the list to 1 or 2 names, you want to check to make sure that no other business has the same name. If no other business has put a trademark on the name, then you have your business name.

Tips to Choosing a Business Name

Be memorable but easy to spell. You want to choose a business name that is memorable so that current clients and customers can remember your name to refer their friends to you. But, you want to make sure that the name is easy to spell in case they have to look up your number in the phone book.

When my dad started Cybernetixs, a web designing business, he started with Network Solutions and faded into Cybernetixs. The name is memorable as it's different, but with the added 'S' at the end, it can be hard to find. He was often confused with the company Cybernetix, or rather new customers would mistake the two.

Create a visual appeal. When people think of your business name, you want to make sure that they'll think of something in reference to what you do. Looking at Cybernetixs, you hear 'cyber' and 'net,' both words are commonly used in reference to the internet- cyber world, interNET, etc.

I you wanted to start a plumbing business and named it Red Tail World, I don't think many people would think plumbing, sinks, toilets, etc. I, personally, would think red tail boa, a snake, which I guess would work in an indirect, far- fetched world, as plumbers use snakes. But, for the most part I don't think Red Tail World would work for a plumbing business.

Make sure to have positive connotations. In both the literal and emotional meaning and thought. You don't want to name your new bakery G's Desserts because the name doesn't evoke a feeling, but if you were to choose Grandma G's Desserts instead, grandma evokes the feeling of love, admiration, and kindness. Isn't that a better business name?

Choose words that have a good feeling behind them. Mom versus mother, dad or daddy versus father. There's a difference between the words.

You, also, want to make sure to evoke strength and reliability. Don't pick cutesy names for a man's business. Think about it Puppy Carrier or Solid Creek Trucking.

Include information about what the business does. You want to leave people knowing what you do with just your business name. Looking back at Red Tail World; the name definitely doesn't tell me that you're in the plumbing business.

Keep it short. Remember you want your business name to fit nicely on a business card, sign, ad, or pamphlet. Short, succinct business names are easy to remember.

Business Name Ideas

Avoid word play. You don't want to get funny with your business names. Leave our puns and cute jokes. Ex. Ear- Resistible Designs Plus, Fireball Oven Co., or Mess Graphics.

Again, think about Dirty South Tattoos. It just doesn't sound like a good place to get a tattoo.

Avoid abbreviations. As a small business owner, you don't want to abbreviate. You potential customers won't know what you do or who you are. You can't start off as IBM. You won't get great business.

Avoid famous brands and names. You don't want to end up in court because you named your business something that is already trademarked. You want to avoid similar sounding names as well. Victor's Secret versus Victoria's Secrets.

Think further than your front door. Meaning, don't go geographical when naming your business. If you live in Little Creek, you may want to avoid names like Little Creek Appliances. You don't want people to think that you only service Little Creek.

Avoid your name! It's very common for people to name their business after themselves. It's just not appealing to everyone. Plus, it can make the business less attractive to perspective buyers. My uncle named his appliance business Green's Appliances; he could have chosen a more unique business name.

Spelling.You want to think about the most common misspelled words or a word with multiple spellings- site or sight. If your potential business name happens to incorporate one of these words, you'll be asked a million times how to spell it. Also, consider adding extra letters just for looks; this can make spelling the name correctly harder to do.

Think for the Web. Many people, well most people, check out the internet and business websites for more information before they commit to giving the business their business. You want to avoid hyphens, as hyphenated web addresses are hard to remember.

Check the Availability of the name. You want to make sure that there isn't another business using your name, especially before you start using it. If no one else has the name, you want to make sure to register the name with your state before anyone else does.

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    • stayingalivemoma profile image

      Valerie Washington 5 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

      I really liked this hub. I went through this a few weeks ago when I was trying to think of a name for my website. Thanks for sharing and congrats on your 1000 hubs!

    • AnewBeautySource profile image

      AnewBeautySource 5 years ago from Dallas, TX

      Memorable is important! Back when I was a kid and everyone still used the phone book, businesses would try to start their names with A or B, because those were listed first in the directory. Now that doesn't matter so much.

      My advice is keep it simple, witty, and something that will catch your target audience's attention.

    • powerofknowledge1 profile image

      powerofknowledge1 6 years ago

      Very helpful! Thanks for sharing

    • kevrock529 profile image

      kevrock529 6 years ago

      Good tips! The better the name the easier it is to brand.

    • Whitney05 profile image
      Author

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      Jason, you are correct. When I say don't use abbreviations, you want to wait until you have a name for yourself before you shorten the business name.

    • Jason Stanley profile image

      Jason Stanley 9 years ago

      Yup, as they say, its all in the name.... or not.

      An example of a great name that does very little helpful for the business is Monster.com the employment company. It is catchy, memorable and does nothing to describe it. Oh well, two out of three...

      You said avoid abbreviations, I assume you also mean avoid initials. IBM was an international business before it became IBM (International Business Machines) Just because it has worked for huge companies with millions to brand, it wont work for a guy with a single truck or a lady with a local home painting and design company. Initials are meaningless and unless spell something like M.U.D. hard to remember.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Great HUB. I agree with all of your recommendations. Sometimes a play on words is really suitable though. 'Sew its Seams' worked really well for my tailorshop as did my daughters 'Hair FXs'.

      awesome HUB regards Zsuzsy

    • RainbowRecognizer profile image

      RainbowRecognizer 9 years ago from Midwest

      This is really helpful as I'm just budding another business...one for mothers in a mentoring/coaching fashion. From what you've written, my business name will be a-okay. Thanks, Whitney :o)