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Naming Your Business

A rose by any other name …” these words by William Shakespeare have been pondered for hundreds of years and for good reasons; a name is a powerful thing. The same is true for your business name.  It can make you a success – or it can guarantee failure.

Impossible you may be thinking. A name doesn’t have that much influence. Oh, but it does.  The name of your business sets the tone for who you are, what you do and even whether people will trust you.  All of these things can make or break a business.

When considering possible names for your new business, remember that a good name should accomplish several things:

* It should offer a hint to your business’s personality; are you a formal or informal business?

* It should tell your customer what you offer; what services or products can they expect to find here.

* It should show some degree of professionalism; a name that is too corny or out there may give off the wrong message.

* It should set the tone for what you plan to accomplish in the years ahead. If you want to become a classy catering service in the future, stay away from fun-loving names that illicit a more informal style of business.

When trying to think up names for your business, consider what you want your business name to say to your potential clients and customers.  Do you want it to be quirky or sophisticated?  Whatever you choose will set the tone for how you are perceived in the future.

Of course picking the wrong name can have negative effects on your business which is why it is important to keep these dangers in mind:

  • Be sure the names you are considering do not mean something unintentional. Sometimes a name that sounds cute or different can have a double meaning and that second meaning may not showcase the type of attitude you want to portray.
  • Be sure to steer clear of names that offer no hints to what your business is or what it offers.  Just because a name sounds good does not mean it reflects who you are or what you do well.  A good business name gives at least a hint of the services you provide.
  • Be sure your business name is acceptable and understandable to all types of peoples across all cultures.  A name that is derogatory to a certain class of people can hurt your business in the long run, even if you didn’t mean it that way.
  • Don’t use business names that need to be explained. Your business name should clearly represent your service or products otherwise potential customers may never even give you a second glance.

So what’s the best way to pick a new business name? Here are a few suggestions:

Keep it short

Short, snappy names are easy to say and easy to remember –a key to a good business name.  Make it too complicated and you will lose credibility as people forget your name as soon as they hear it.

Make it easy to understand

It is okay to be creative when designing a business name, but be clear with your message. Too much subtlety will only confuse customers and keep people away from your door.

Make it easy to say and to spell

This is especially important in regions that are ethically diverse. Just because one grouping of people may “get it” does not mean everyone will.  Also, when it comes to spelling, don’t be cute or different especially if you rely on web traffic.  Unusual spellings may make it more difficult for potential customers to find your website or online store.

Think about how it’ll look in your marketing materials

Some names just look good on a big billboard and others don’t.  Make a few samples of flyers, business cards, advertisements, etc. to review using the name and logo you prefer.  Does it look good?  If not, you may want to try a different name.  Remember, that name is going to plastered all over the place when marketing your business so you need to make sure it looks appealing in a campaign.

Once you have used the tips here to find the right name for your business, there is one last step to ensure you can use it; contact your state’s small business bureau to register your new business name with their fictitious names department. This way you can see if the name is already being used and therefore off limits.  If available, registering the name will safeguard it so others may not use it in the future.  This process usually requires you to fill out a few forms and pay a minimal fee but the fictitious name registration is the best way to make sure you are legally using the name and no other business can steal it from you!

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