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Choosing The Right Busines Name

Updated on July 21, 2009

Branding Your Business

Are you looking at launching a new business? Has your existing partnership dissolved and you are looking at rebranding your business? One of the most difficult decisions new entrepreneurs have to make is in choosing a name (or a brand) for their business. However, by following five easy guidelines, the task of choosing a name doesn't have to be difficult.

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Guideline 1: Simple and Memorable

Have you ever gone to party and been introduced to someone who owned their own business? How often have you thought of that person later but couldn't remember the name of their company? Chances are if you remembered the name it was because it was short, simple or clever. Are you more likely to remember Guilden, Sommerson and Hoyt Online Search Engineering Specialists Ltd or Google? Long business names can be hard to remember, difficult to pronounce, and challenging to fit properly on brochures and business cards. Good rules of thumb is to keep it as simple as possible.

Guideline 2: Don't Confuse People

A few years back, when someone was looking to get in touch with a new business, they more than likely found them in the Yellow Pages. As a new business, you likely wanted to be the first listing to ensure a competitive edge. If the first listing you saw was AA Auto Repair, you would call yourself A Auto Repair or A1 Auto Repair in order to appear first in the listings. If the only other auto repair shop was Quick Car Repair, you might have considered called yourself Kwik Kar Repair in order to steal away some of your competitor's business.

However, nowadays more and more people are turning to the Internet in order to find new businesses. If a referral was not aware of any irregular spelling, and they didn't find you online, they'd likely move on to something else.

In fact, you may find that the already established business might steal away some of your business.

It is best to avoid using names that will cause any unnecessary confusion.

Guideline 3: Tell people what you do.

Many of us have spent more than our fair share of time trying to explain to people what we do for a living. If your job is of a complex nature or multi-faceted, you may have a standard "elevator speech" you use. However, if you are a florist, you should never have to waste your time with people walking in and asking you "What do you do here?" If your work environment doesn't explain what your business does, perhaps your name should. You should consider incorporate what your business does into your business name.

Choosing a business name like "The Springtime Florist" rather than simply "Springtime" will save you some unneeded stress.

Guideline 4: Strong and Positive
You have likely passed by business with terms like absolutely, fast, reliable or speedy in their business name. This is often done in order to give you a positive association of them, as well as their products or services. Rarely will you see business use terms with a negative association.

Lets say two new clothing stores were sitting next to each other, but you only had time to visit one. What store would you more likely visit? Fabulous Fashions or Garbage Clothing? If you are like most consumers, you would more likely choose to shop at Fabulous Fashions.

While the consumer may not always be conscious of their decisions, they will more likely choose to purchase products or services from a place that presents them with a more desirable message or incorporates strong positive terms like “fabulous” or “chic”, instead of “garbage” or “ugly”. Consider what your business name says about you before making that final decision.

Guideline 5: Make it personal
When all else fails, you can always name your business after yourself. Not only is this the simplest option, it offers added credibility to your business. You might choose to use your first name, last name, full name, initials or a combination of your initials and your surname.

In 1912, T. M. Callahan sold his dry goods business, The Golden Rule Store, to his protege, James Cash Penney. The new owner renamed the store and J.C. Penney moved on to became a billion-dollar retail chain.

Would James Cash Penney have been as successful if he continued to run his stores under the Golden Rule Store name? We will never know. However, he did prove that people will place value in a name. And even after passing away over 38 years ago, his name continues to mean something to consumers.

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