Choosing a Small Business Name – An Important Business Decision
Choosing a business name is one of the most exciting and innovative components of starting a small business. As one of the most important decisions you as a small business owner will make, spend the time to choose your business name wisely. Your business name is the first impression of potential customers and other stakeholders, so a decision that should not be casually taken.
The wrong business name will not connect with your customers and could cause expensive or ineffective branding. Lawsuits are possible if your business name can be confused with those of major competitors. In contrast, a clear and powerful small business name can gain brand recognition and be particularly helpful in your marketing efforts.
Finding the ideal name could be challenging if you want to trademark your business. You might come up with a great business name that attracts customers but could be tough to trademark. Above all, you need a small business name that is legal. It is essential that you read the section on “Choosing and Reserving a Small Business Name in NC” within the blog post “Step-By-Step Guide: How to Register a Small Business in Wilmington, North Carolina and with the IRS – click here.
While researching and brainstorming your business name, create a list of four or five prospective names that you can test with your target audience. Based on this and other factors, can you pick best name for your small business.
12 Tips on How to Choose Great Name for Your Small Business
Here are tips specifically directed at small business owners when choosing a business name:
Tip #1 – People Must Remember Your Business Name: Is your business name easy to remember and right for your target audience? Stick to simple and memorable words and limit the number of words to three. Catchy, punchy names reel people in and make them want to talk about your business and brand. Make sure that your business name has a positive tone and do not try to be too “cute” in naming your business.
Tip #2 – Make Your Business Name Original and Meaningful: Can people tell what your business is about from your business name. Meaningless business names may sound cool, but as small business owner it will cost you much more to brand. You will need longer-running ad campaigns for consumers to remember and to connect your products/services with your business name. If you plan to have an Internet-based business only, originality could be more valuable than meaning to make you stand out from the competition.
Tip #3 – Choose a Business Name That Emphasizes Your Competitive Edge: What separates your small business from the competition? Low cost? Located conveniently? Great customer service? Experience and expertise? Unique/advanced products? A SWOT Analysis will provide help you discover that – click here. You want your business name to capture the attention of your customers and encourage them to build a long-lasting relationship with your small business.
Tip #4 – Choose a Business Name That is Not Too Descriptive: Avoid choosing a business name that is too descriptive and limits business growth. Be careful with choosing a business name that includes one geographical area, product, service, age group, etc. As your business expands, your range of products/services may increase, or your core focus may shift in the future. This could result in customer confusion and costly rebranding if your business name is too descriptive.
Tip #5 – Your Business Name Must Sound Good when Saying it Aloud: Your business name might seem fine on paper but could be difficult to pronounce or does not sound good when saying it aloud. You want to make it easy for people to remember and talk about your business.
Tip #6 – Avoid a Business Name that is Too Long and Hard to Spell: It must be easy for people to write down your business name and search for your business online. Keep your business name simple and easy to spell.
Tip #7 – Avoid a Business Name Very Similar to that of a Competitor: This will rule out that potential customers confuse your business with that of a competitor, especially in your geographical area. It is also possible to lose business to the competition if your small business name is too generic. One reason is that the search engines pick up your business name as a general text on competitors’ websites.
Tip #8 – Research Your Desired Small Business Name Online: Conduct a thorough Internet search on your prospective business name(s) by screening the search results for competition, inappropriate affiliations, improper connections, etc.
Tip #9 – Choose a Domain Name Ready Business Name: Preferably, the domain name and social media account names (usernames) should match your business name. This will make it easier for people to find your website and social media presence. If possible, get a .com domain with no hyphens. To find out if your business name or a variant thereof is available as a domain name, click here.
Tip #10 – Use Online Sources for Business Name Ideas: There are several online business name generators to available when exploring business name ideas, including: BusinessNameMaker.com, Namelix Looka and several others.
Tip #11 – Get Feedback on Your Business Name from Others: Have you tested your prospective business names with your target audience? Do the business names deliver the image you want, and does it resonate correctly with your target audience? Although you may think that you have found the perfect name for your small business, others might not interpret your name in the same manner. Good questions to ask are the following: What does this business name make you think about? Will you easily remember the name? Does the business name inspire confidence? Does the name trigger a buying decision? Test if they can easily and properly pronounce your business name.
Tip #12 – Make Sure That You are Personally Happy with Your Business Name Choice: As a small business owner, you will have to live with the name for a long time. It will represent your business for as long as it exits. Make sure you personally are happy with, excited about, believe in, and feel proud of your chosen your business name.