Updated: Jan 5
Choosing the right business name for your small business takes a bit of creativity and realism. Keep reading to learn best practices for choosing the best name for your business...
AVOID HARD TO SPELL NAMES
You want your business name to be unique, but avoid a name that will be hard for your customers to type when searching for your site online.
You also want your business shareable via word of mouth. If a new customer can't find your site because the spelling is too far out there, they will lose interest and you may have lost a possible customer.
Ex: If you wanted to call your business "Tops and Jeans", it would be more difficult to remember "TopzNGeens" compared to "TopsandJeans" or "TopsnJeans".
BE CATCHY & MEMORABLE
Make your business name unique, but be sure not to pick a name that's vulgar or obscene. If you're embarrassed to say it out loud, it's an outright "no" and you should pass on using the name.
FREE NAME GENERATORS
The Balance Small Business - "10 Awesome Free Business Name Generators"
Digital.com - "16 Best Business Name Generators"
DON'T LIMIT YOUR GROWTH
You'll want to choose a name that is specific enough to relate to your business but broad enough to expand or change directions in the future.
When starting small, you don't want to have to buy a whole new domain name because the current one no longer reflects your business.
EX: "Rita's Shoes", if you plan on selling purses and bags in the future. "Rita's Accessories" or "Rita's Fashions" for example, or a variation thereof would still be descriptive, but a little more vague, leaving room for product changes in the future.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
If your business name is too similar to another business name, you will not be able to register your business with the state and in turn, you won't be able to conduct operations legitimately.
Along with not being able to be registered in your state, a name that's too similar to another business appears semi-deceptive and may confuse the customer.
Not to mention, if your business name is similar to a business with a negative reputation, this can reflect your business in a negative light as well. You want your name to be unique enough, so that it's not compared to another company.
GET A ".COM" WEB ADDRESS
Unless you're running a non-profit, stay away from web addresses that include ".net" or ".org". ".Com" is the common standard and anything other than a ".com" will appear less professional.
CHECK DOMAIN NAME AVAILABILITY
Domain Name Search - Name.com (Note: Domains can be purchased at much cheaper prices via a web host like Wix or Shopify).
IT NEEDS TO MEAN SOMETHING
Your business name should reflect the services that are being provided by your business. The name should make sense as it relates to your product.
Does it tell a story?
Does it promote your businesses' values?
Does it promote your product?
Is it relate-able, is it relevant?
DO A TRADEMARK SEARCH
Search "USPTO.gov" (United States Patent and Trademark Office) to learn if you can get a trademark or service mark name.
Getting a Trademark is an investment. If you're working with a small budget (under $1K), this may be a cost that you'll want to plan for in the future.
Average Range: $275 to $660
Minimum Cost: $225
National Average Cost: $424
Maximum Cost: $2,000
CHECK WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE IN YOUR STATE
Check with the Secretary of State in your state to ensure that your name is not to similar to another business.
As stated earlier, the state won't allow you to register the name if it's too similar to another business' name.
Depending on your state there are various guidelines you'll need to follow, with business name registration being one of them.
Get opinions on the name(s) you choose. Family and friends that you trust, will give honest insight and can be a good source of information and inspiration.
Hopefully, this has been helpful in giving you some basics and how-to's for choosing an effective business name.
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