Naming your business can be as hard as naming your child (sometimes even harder). In many ways, a small business is an owner’s entrepreneurial baby, so bestowing it with a great name is one of the most critical steps you can take in giving it an identity.
But like some human parents, business owners can seriously miss the mark when it comes to giving their “child” a notable name. If you are having trouble coming up with a name for your small business, here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:
Tip #1: Don’t choose a literal or descriptive name
First time entrepreneurs often make the mistake of thinking that a customer won’t be able to figure out what their business is unless they spell out clearly in the name. However, this type of thinking leads to both short- and long-term consequences.
For one, trying to come up with a name that is literal will rarely result in anything creative or original. Generic business names get lost in the sea of search engine results of others just like it. It’s hard to stand out from the crowd without a unique name, and being memorable is much more important than being descriptive when it comes to a name.
Tip #2: Make your name attribute-based, rather than product-centered
Basing your company name on a service or product you offer is risky, because it may damper any future changes your business goes through. Businesses that use their product as the center focus of their name—RadioShack, Burlington Coat Factory, CompUSA, etc.—end up fighting (and spending lots of ad money) to convey their updated company image when their organization expands.
Stay away from pigeonholing your company right from the start by choosing a name that focuses on more timeless attributes (i.e. Best Buy, Target, Great Clips, etc.).
Tip #3: Avoid geographic names
Many businesses shoot for the “local advantage” by using the name of a city or area to be the primary element in their name. However, whatever competitive advantage you may glean from the geographic association at first can quickly become a shackle to future expansion.
Base your name on the core strengths of your business, rather than its physical location. That way, your company name will be relatable to customers no matter where you, or they, happen to be.
Tip # 4: Be careful with acronyms
The temptation to use an acronym to spell out your corporate identity can be quite alluring. After all, some pretty successful companies have done it—IBM, CVS, GEICO. But don’t let the success of the few influence you into using acronym or initials in your company name.
Acronyms mystify the real purpose of your business, and often make it difficult for customers to remember you. Also, search engines will again have a hard time discerning between your business and the hundreds of other meanings an acronym might have.
Tip #5: Run a thorough name check
The best way to make sure your business gets a running start is with your company name. Also, a business must have a name that is distinguishable from others in that state in order to be legally acceptable.
Run a thorough preliminary name check prior to deciding on a company name. And Googling a potential name doesn’t count as thorough.
Or, incorporate online with Max Filings and you will get a free name check as part of our business formation service package!