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How to Pick a Business Name

Updated on November 26, 2012

How to Choose a Business Name

  1. Find words that describe your business.
  2. Start combining words.
  3. Look up synonyms and definitions for other ideas.
  4. Determine the presence of a free domain name (preferably .com).
  5. Do a trademark search online or through a lawyer.
  6. Start your business!

While developing a business plan, a problem often arises that takes people by surprise - the challenge of coming up with a name for the business. After you have spent hours developing a strategy, marketing plan, and struggling to find out how to fund your business, you suddenly realize that you now have to name this great business concept of yours.

If you are going to be doing all or most of your business online, another important thought must come to mind - the availability of the domain name. This can be a huge challenge.

After deciding that your shoe company should be named "Shoez", and typing up an entire business plan for Shoez, you suddenly get online, search for the domain, and find out that Shoez.com, .org, .us, .net, .biz, and every other url ending except .ly is taken! You now have a dilemma! Either you struggle to promote a business ending in .ly, or you change the name of your business, find a new logo, and hope that your slogans will still make sense.

So here is a list of things to consider when determining a business name.


Find a Name that Captures the Customer's Attention

Have you noticed that there are some brands that customers just love to promote? For free, or even better, for money?

Think about names such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Apple, or Porsche. There are certain brands that capture people's imagination and motivate them to promote.

While a start-up will not have the ease of developing a recognizable brand such as one of these, it is possible to attract customers through creating a name that people will want to promote because it's funny, entertaining, or captures their personality.

Think of newer brands like SkullCandy and LifeIsGood. What helps these brands promote themselves is by having a name that people want to wear or associate themselves with. If you create a store, "Bob's Shoes," you may not attract a large following of people who truly want to wear your shoes. However, if you start a company called "Kick the Bucket" it may attract people simply because of the funny conversation starter that the name provides.

This screenshot of the Kid's Exchange website reveals something very important about a business name - it must be url friendly. While no one would think of this as a bad name for a company, when written as a url, it can be read multiple ways.
This screenshot of the Kid's Exchange website reveals something very important about a business name - it must be url friendly. While no one would think of this as a bad name for a company, when written as a url, it can be read multiple ways. | Source

Pick a Domain Name

Sadly, we live in a world were an entrepreneur must choose her business name based on the available domain names. Because of this, it is often a good idea to begin seeking out a great domain name before deciding on the official name for the business. I often use GoDaddy for seeking out a domain name (even if I end up hosting somewhere else) because they have a fantastic search tool for finding available domain names.

When looking for a domain name consider several things:

  • Is it easy to remember? You want a domain name that people will recognize.
  • Does it relate to your business? If your business is "BobsShoes" but your domain name is "BobLikesToWearShoes.com", it may be difficult for your customers to find you.
  • Make sure that the name is appropriate as a domain name. If you look at the website to the write, you will notice that KidsExchange.com can also be misinterpreted to read KidSexChange.com. A misunderstanding like this could create a lot of headaches for an organization.

Ask Friends, Family, and Potential Customers if the Name Sounds Good

It can happen that, in pure desperation, a name idea ends up sounding greater than it actually is. The more people that are included in the business and domain name selecting, the more likely the name will sound, look, and feel right.

If name creation is not your forte, you may even be able to ask these people to generate names for you. Just remember, finding an available domain name is not easy. It will most likely be necessary to either combine multiple words and make the name location specific.

For example, Joe's Shoes may be a name that is already taken (along with the domain). However, a name such as SanFranciscoJoesShoes.com may be available. Therefore, it is essential to keep in mind how the name of your business can be added to in order to find an available domain.

If friends and family do not have much helpful input into a name, consider a naming service. By simply Google searching, find a business name, there will be several websites that will pop up that can help you find a name for a fee.

Develop a solid business plan that includes a great name, and you are one step closer to business success.
Develop a solid business plan that includes a great name, and you are one step closer to business success. | Source

If You Cannot Select the Perfect Name, Create the Perfect Name

While a business name that portrays who you want to be is important, it is also important to recognize that you have the ability to develop your business into one that changes the meaning of a word or name. Clearly, the word Google sounds retarded if you just sit back and think about it. However, because we have all grown to use and love the search engine with that very name, this brand is worth billions of dollars.

Spend a good amount of time developing a solid business name, but remember that the business plan is far more important. If you have a solid strategy to make your business a success, along with a business name that is not obviously terrible, you will be able to grow and develop your business into a success.

If you have seen funny or bizarre business names, or if you have valuable tips for developing a name for a business, share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      A very important step for a new business. The most important thing that you covered is the domain name. If you come up with a great name for your business but the domain is taken, either try to buy the domain or change the name.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 4 years ago from Western New York

      Ensuring that the domain name is still available is so important! The "feel" of the name is important, too. I have no idea how "Hot Pockets" (the convenience food) has maintained popularity, because "hot pockets" makes me think of rather unsavory things.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Another excellent hub Robert. Although I already understand the content, your input and presenation is first class as usual. Well done.

      Voted up and all.

      Graham.

    • Robert Erich profile image
      Author

      Robert Erich 4 years ago from California

      Well thanks once more for stopping by old albion! Your affirmation is much appreciated! I look forward to reading more of your quality articles as well.

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