When starting a business, the first steps are always the hardest. Determining your product or service, securing a storefront or online merchant system, and working out reliable processes for keeping your business afloat are all big decisions. While it may not seem to carry quite the same weight as some other considerations, naming your business is also a key step in the startup process—one that could have a big impact on your long-term success.
Like most decisions when starting a business, your business name is a tool that requires due consideration. With the right name, you can effectively attract attention from potential clients and stand out within your industry. Below are seven essential tips for selecting the perfect name for your business.
- It’s ok to sacrifice a little “professionalism” to stand out. No matter what industry you’re involved with, every business owner wants to be taken seriously. That being said, in today’s market, fortune favors the bold. It’s perfectly fine to be professional, but naming your business in a way that comes across as generic or unoriginal could hold you back over the long term.
- Use wordplay, but avoid puns. Naming your business should be fun, since the process of a starting a business, in general, rarely is. Use creative phrasing, play with themes that are effective for your business, and step outside of the box, but shy back from verbal puns. Generally, puns usually fall flat and that’s not the impression you really want to make.
- Consider how your name will look. In today’s market, graphics are everything. Your name should tie into your social media and logo, with visuals given a large amount of consideration. If the name sounds good, but looks strange on paper, go back to the drawing board and keep trying.
- Avoid names that are too similar to anyone else in your industry—or any other, if possible. For obvious reasons, copying names is just a bad idea all around, but another big pitfall to avoid is a business name that is even similar to others. Do your research when starting a business before you settle on a name, so you won’t be disappointed if its too close to others or already taken.
- Check for URL’s and pick a name that fits with an available domain. Because most of the world operates online, your business name also needs to be web-ready. Before finalizing your plans for naming your business, make sure you’ve settled on a name that can be translated into a URL easily—one that is available. While there are thousands of business online already, plenty of options are still available. Just check before you make definite plans.
- Don’t neglect social media. Nothing is finished until your business is set up on social media. In the same vein as the URL search, make sure you’ve double and triple-checked that there are no pre-existing social media conflicts for your preferred business name.
- Make it legitimate. Once you’ve sorted through everything, researched the competition, and really honed in on your industry potential—and selected a name, of course—it’s time to make it official. Lock your name in by registering a “Doing Business As” name or tradename. This information should be logged with your state. You’ll also want to apply for trademark protection, which is especially valuable for protecting your brand, image, logo, and other aspects that are unique to your business.
Starting a business can be a challenging and arduous process, but it can also be fun. Selecting your business name is just the beginning. Once you’ve given your business a real identity, your potential is limited only by your imagination.
About the Author – Ashley Choate is a native of Jacksonville, FL where she lives with her son, dog, and three cats. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Jacksonville University with a BA in English and holds an MAED in Adult Education and Training. She lives for reading and writing, learning and teaching, and figuring out the day-to-day traumas and joys of mommyhood. .
Top Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.