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How to name your business [8 simple tips]

How to name your business
Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Naming your business is not only about finding a catchy name for a jingle or something that you can brand on social media.

Learning how to name your business could help your customers understand your offering, form a connection with your business or help grow your community. The wrong business name could a reason for business failure due to legal issues. Poor decisions can quickly end your entrepreneurial journey.

Use the following tips to help create the best business idea for your entrepreneurial project, side hustle or small business.

1. Make sure you can say, spell and understand your business name

There are different opinions when it comes to business names. Some people prefer something unique, whereas others are more interested in something traditional.

Either way, a business name needs to be something that can be repeated aloud and spelled easily without having to check a dictionary or double check the spelling. If your business name is easily repeatable, it can minimise spelling mistakes and help your customers.

The business name should also be something that can be easily understood. If your business name has a meaning and relates to an industry, event, process or product; your customer should be aware of the reference.

All of this makes the business name powerful and provides a way for your customer to form an immediate association with your name.

2. Don’t limit yourself. Give yourself room to grow and develop

Although your business name should mean something to your customers, it should not be something that limits you to doing one particular thing. Or something that suggests you could not do other things within similar product or service categories.

For example, if you owned Acme Social Media Marketing, it might suggest your business only did social media marketing. This might make it difficult for you to move to other aspects of digital marketing. However, if the business was called Acme Digital Marketing it would suggest that you could handle all types of digital marketing for your clients.

3. Very few ideas are original. Check the world for your business name

Everyone wants to be original, but humans have existed for a long time. There are very few ideas that are 100% original. Most businesses improve upon competition or slightly change a service to make it unique. This provides competition throughout the business world and means you have to provide an entrepreneurial service that can help you customers.

When considering business names, the same thing applies. Someone will most likely have thought of the name or a slight variation. It might be a person on social media or a member of an obscure online forum, but someone somewhere may have thought of your name.

There are very few terms typed into Google that provide zero results. You must make a point of searching for your preferred business name.

The last thing you want is for another business with a similar name or a name that has a different meaning in a different country. This could cause you issues and affect the perception of your business or lead to legal difficulties.

4. .com and .co lead the way

Having a website or more accurately, owning the domain name for your business is now considered a necessary part of business. This means you will need to search and acquire an appropriate domain name for your business.

Although there are now a wide variety of domain name extensions available, the advice is still to focus on the original extensions, such as .com, as they’re more valuable and they indicate your business was able to secure valuable online real estate, especially if you’re business has a well known word or term that is likely to have been purchased.

If you’re unable to acquire the .com domain extension it’s recommended you purchase the .co extension as an alternative. However, much of this is down to your preference and how you intend to work with your customers. It might make more sense to ignore the .com and buy the .ai instead!

You could also buy your local geography domain name. Some customers will feel happier to know you’re a local business rather than a big corporate entity.

5. Consider including a meaning within your name

Using your business name to convey a meaning is a good way to standout from competitors. This might not be necessary for every business, but if you can include a term or a phrase that makes sense for your business and also conveys a meaning you could be on the right track to choosing something memorable.

6. Check out trademarks (within and outside of your country)

Searching trademark databases inside and outside of your region or country is necessary. Ideally, you want to avoid legal issues or demands to change your business name. Although, it’s sometimes possible to use the same as another business if you’re within a different industry.

Although, try to avoid scenarios where you’re unsure if someone will complain about your name. There are many uncertainties within business and it’s important your name is not one of them.

7. Something memorable is better than forgettable

Everyone remembers something unusual or quirky. Being different is an easy way to stand out from the crowd and something that can make yourself heard. The same thing applies to business names.

Choosing a business name that is different to what your competitors will do in your industry or market is something that can make you stand out from crowd. Especially, if the name can be memorable and linger on the minds of your target market.

However, memorable is not the same as unsuitable, offensive or illegal. There are rules around naming your business and they’re slightly different in different geographies. It’s better to get your name right first time without having to avoid unwinding any poor naming issues.

8. Ask around and get some feedback

Naming a business is always different when outsiders provide their opinion. You might be surprised to learn your customers think differently.

If you’re unsure take the time to get several options for your business name. Ask around your personal and professional network. Try naming research with your core customers or mind-map different ideas and types of names to see if you can get the right one for you.

Think very carefully about your business name, but don’t go overboard. Your business name is important, but your actual business will be what truly sets you apart from your competition.

Good luck!

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