11 Tips on How to Come Up with a Business Name

Straight to the point on how to come up with a business name: 1. Do not use hard-to-spell words such as Twitter unless you have millions of dollars to invest in branding and marketing. 2. Google search, trademark search, and Secretary of State search the proposed business name to ensure it is not already used by another company. 3. Come up with a business name that is meaningful and catchy such as California Confection, Tailor & Stitch. 4. Ask family and friends for feedback, but remember that you can’t please everyone so long as a majority of people don’t hate it.

Brad Nakase, Attorney

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For years, Katie, an avid knitter, has wanted to start her own business selling embroidery and sewing supplies. While Katie knows what kind of supplies she wants to stock and where she wants to start her business, she can’t settle on a name. She wonders how to come up with a business name. It seems to her that the most successful businesses have creative, fun names that people remember. Katie wants her store to stand out from all the others that sell yarn and needles. With the help of her family, Katie comes up with a few options: “Pins and Needles,” “Spin a Yarn,” and “Have Me in Stitches.” When Katie looks up the availability of these names, she finds that “Pins and Needles” is taken. Down to two choices, Katie surveys the people at her local knitting club. They vote for “Spin a Yarn,” and Katie is proud to have her business name all set.

Coming up with a Business Name

The name of a business should reflect both a company’s vision and specialties. Still, it should be brief and easy to remember. This is not an easy task! How does one simplify so much into a name? In fact, the process of naming a company can be one of the most difficult and time-consuming in starting a business.

One of the most important things to remember when starting a business is to be simply, clear, and relatable. So, when thinking of a name, it is vital to remember these elements.

1. Taking Time to Think About A Business Name

When a business owner is in the process of getting his or her company up and running, it can be tempting to skip vital steps and rush through to get started. This is a temptation for even the most patient of entrepreneurs.

While it is possible to change a business’ name later on by filing for a DBA or amending the business’ legal name, it is harder to rebrand a name. Customers become familiar with a business name, and it could take time and money to rebuild the brand’s familiarity. After all, the name is part of the logo, marketing materials, and domain name. All of these things will need to change, and these changes will need to be communicated to customers.

If a business owner rushes through the naming process, the result can be a dull or forgettable name, and the company will pay the price with customers. If an individual is putting his or her passion into a business, then the name should communicate that passion.

2. Understanding the Business

A business’ name is critical because it is the first connection a company makes with customers. A name needs to explain the company’s vision, purpose, values, and target customers. All of this should be communicated in a few words or less.

A business owner should first know these vital concepts: the company’s vision, purpose, value, and target customers. To determine these things, he or she should develop a business plan. The business owner should also think about how the business name fits in the context of the industry, as well as how it affects the brand’s image. It is useful to even consider how the words will affect customers.

3. Keeping it Simple

The best business names are memorable because they are easy to say or catchy. The names are not too short or long or hard to pronounce. They also contain complete words and no acronyms or initials.

However, while a business owner should not use initials as part of a name, he or she should consider the business’ acronym. It is possible that customers will choose to refer to a business by its acronym because it may be easier to remember. Therefore, it is important to consider what a name’s acronym would be in order to avoid unintentionally creating an embarrassing or problematic acronym.

The name should also be easy to pronounce. A recent Princeton study showed that company’s stock performance was directly related to the ease of pronouncing its name. It may even be a good idea to think about the words’ meaning, origin, or how it sounds in another language.

4. Being Descriptive

A business’ name reflects its brand and message. Therefore, the perfect name will bring up positive emotions and carry a positive message about the company’s identity and mission. The best names have descriptive words that convey what a business provides. The name should have an immediate positive impact on customers, who will right away understand what the business does or is trying to do.

5. Sharing the Story

If a business has a unique story regarding its origins, then this should be shared in its name. This strategy can help customers recognize the company as well as help create the brand.

6. Leaving Out Personal Names

Even though it is common to see a business name include the owner’s personal name, this is not advisable. By using one’s personal name in the business name, it is all too easy to narrow one’s business and cut off future opportunities. For example, if a company calls itself Jack’s Joke Store, this name might work in the local community. However, it might be hard for the brand to expand itself in the future.

7. Brainstorming

In order to come up with a creative and unique name, a business owner should think of two or three words that describe the business’ purpose or values, as well as the services or goods that it will provide. Play around with the words and see how they can fit together in fun ways!

Think about the chicken restaurant Bad Mutha Clucka and hair studios named Curl Up & Dye. These are fun, creative names that people remember. When people remember a company’s name, the business can build a following.

Some businesses don’t use wordplay so much as combining two simply words. AirBnB emphasizes the modern, digital way of booking bed and breakfasts. As illustrated by the name, TripAdvisor helps customers plan and book vacations.

8. Doing a Business Name Search

If a business is going to be a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, then it is necessary to perform a business name entity search in the state to make sure no other businesses are already using the name. It is not allowed for new businesses to use names that are either the same or too similar to existing businesses. Sometimes, states will reject formation filings because of this. Therefore, it is advisable to check the availability of every name considered.

It is also a good idea to perform a trademark search to make sure there is no trademark on a name. The United States Patent and Trademark office has a database that lists whether a name is trademarked already.

9. Securing a Domain

When a business owner is deciding on a name for his or her company, they should also check that the relevant domain name is available. Generally, it is best to have a domain end in .COM, .NET, .ORG, or .CO. That said, the name is still more important than what the domain ends in. If one’s desired domain name is not available, then it might be best to consider a different name.

10. Checking Social Media

Nowadays, a successful business needs to be savvy in all things related to the internet and social media. These platforms offer priceless marketing opportunities.

When a business owner comes up with a potential name, it is recommended that they run the name through various social media sites to make sure the name and brand is unique.

11. Thinking About the Future

When coming up with a name for one’s company, it is important to think about future opportunities and possibilities. For example, let’s consider a bakery called Muffins Galore. Maybe a few years down the line the bakery decides to expand into cakes. In that case, the name Muffins Galore no longer fits the business. When thinking of a name, therefore, it is advisable to avoid words that are too limiting and prevent future growth.

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