Is choosing ‘the right name’ taking you forever?
That’s totally normal. Choosing the right business name is a big deal.
So, many reasons. I’ll name a few
- The name you choose makes a good or bad impression on your customers.
- Reveals your brand’s values or does not.
- Can sound bland or exciting
- Plays a role on if your brand will be remembered
- Can limit your growth opportunities- as ridiculous as that sounds.
But unfortunately, many people still make big mistakes when choosing a business name.
“What factors should look out for when choosing a business name?” “What criteria should I judge my business name by?”
If you’ve spent forever trying to come up with the right name for your business or choosing between several enticing options, then you must’ve asked yourself this question a couple of times
And honestly, it is not the most exciting decision to make, considering that your business is going to have to stick with it for a long, long time.
So really, what factors should you look out for when choosing a business name?
Let’s hop right in.
What Factors Should You Consider in Choosing your Business Name?
One thing that you do not want to do is to leave your customers wondering what your business name means after coming across it.
Your business name should be easy to understand spot on and to pronounce too.
The reason for this is pretty apparent:
If your business name is difficult to understand, then it will equally be challenging to remember.
Many times, in trying to be creative, business owners end up coming up with extremely complicated names.
However, it’s possible to make your business name too comprehensive.
If Yahoo decided to choose a name like generalinternetdirectories.com, that would be too descriptive and boring to the customers also.
Though it’s easier to understand, it lacks an essential element (which I’ll discuss next) and sounds bland. Such a name would hardly be remembered after some time.
But although there are different factors involved in choosing a business name, you should definitely make sure that whatever name you choose is easy to understand and, thus, remember.
There are many ways to stand out in business. Using a sticky and memorable name is undoubtedly one of them.
Take Coca-Cola as an example. There is a sticky feeling created by the alliteration in the name.
This may not be the case for every business name, but there should be some element of uniqueness and stickiness in the name.
Although it’s important to make your business name comprehensive, using a unique name can evoke some curiosity and make your brand stand out better.
Think of it this way; if you choose a bland name or something that can easily be guessed, then you can’t be outstanding at the first go.
Imagine if Coca-Cola was named “Cola Beverage Drink.” See what I mean?
Using a name like Cola Beverage Drink would mean that they’d have to work harder to prove that it’s different from the crowd of competitors that also offer beverage drinks, and that provide cola drinks. It’s more challenging to build a brand around a bland name, simply because it doesn’t stick immediately with customers.
Just like Dave Smith said in his article on Business Insider,
“A clever and appropriate name can impress your fan base.
Conversely, an unoriginal or dull name communicates a lack of enthusiasm toward your business.”
It’s a lot better to choose a unique name, and if you think of it, in the long run, it’s easier too.
An essential criterion for choosing your business name is its uniqueness.
3. Goals and mission:
Does your business name reflect the services or products that your business offers?
Does it summarise your business’s mission and goals?
When choosing a business name, go for something that immediately describes what your business is about. Take Grammarly as an example; just by hearing the name, you can guess what their business entails and your guess would probably be right.
Let your business name also depict what your business entails. But don’t go overboard with it.
Also, the goals of your business are determined by what type of business you plan on starting. Let your name match the nature of your business’s general operations.
Note: Your business name doesn’t always have to show your mission, but if it does, then that’s something that can help in building a strong, trustworthy and loyal brand.
Try to make your business name as precise and short but creative as well.
4. Expansion and growth Flexibility:
One thing you really want to consider in choosing a business name is its potential for flexibility. Does your business name give you room for expansion and growth in the future?
Lots of businesses that overlook the flexibility of names have difficulties when it’s time to expand their business’s territories.
To avoid this great naming calamity, carefully assess the business names you have in mind now, so you don’t have to worry about it later.
What should you avoid to ensure flexibility?
- Specific Geographic locations in your business name: Don’t go for a name that includes a particular location because when it’s time to expand, it can get to you.
For example, a business name like “(Insert City Name) Cleaning Services” can and most likely will limit business growth except it is changed. It limits the business’s reach and therefore, its income.
- Specific business tasks: Just like a location, don’t attach any particular business task to your business name. Instead, go for something flexible that can allow you to expand.
For example, a business named “Fixit Computer Repair,” might want to expand its operations into graphic design and other services or products. Using such a name can limit its growth. So when choosing a name, carefully consider how flexible it is for expansion possibilities.
Instead, this is what you should do:
- Go for a more generic name for your business: To emphasize what I previously mentioned, go for a generic name. One that would make it easy to add other products or services to the group of products offered without any constraints.
5. Short and Concise
The shorter your business name is, the more memorable it is, so you want to keep your name short and concise.
Can the name you chose be easily repeated to others without being shortened?
Also, if your business name is being shortened, is the shortened version something that you’ll be okay to identify with?
Instead of making a name complicated, go for something that can be easily remembered by your customers to make you stand out. A more concise name makes your business more attractive in a sense.
So, make sure that you cut off every fluff from your business name.
6. Be sure it’s not taken:
To stay away from copyright and trademark infringements, you should check that the business name you are selecting isn’t taken already.
It is important to do this research first, so you don’t get stuck after investing so much time and effort into your business name, perhaps designing a logo and some products.
Changing business names can happen, it’s possible, but it has drawbacks. In some ways, it’s like starting from scratch. You have to convince customers that quality hasn’t changed, except positively.
So how can you check if your business name is taken or available?
1. Check with the authorities around you or check name databases
2. Do a quick online search
3. Check for very similar names that can be confused with yours, and you don’t want to have to deal with that.
After checking that your name hasn’t been taken, you want to go ahead and register your business name, to maintain the ownership and rights to the name.
As far as the name you’ve chosen hasn’t been registered, it isn’t yours yet, and someone else can claim ownership of it.
Different countries have different procedures or requirements for registering a business name. You can find out the conditions by checking the government website of your country for the procedures that apply to your business.
7. What does it really mean?
Another thing that you should consider when choosing a business name is its meaning.
A single name could mean many different things.
Find out if there are any contrary meanings to the original meaning of your business name if it is translated to other languages, especially if you’ll be operating business in other countries.
It’s crucial that you carefully consider this because choosing a name that is unpleasant to some cultures or people may hurt business in that area.
Also, does your name have a meaning that people can connect with? If people can’t make any sense out of your business name, then that could really hamper your growth.
Branding plays a significant role in associating a meaning to an otherwise unclear name. This is why branding is important.
So you don’t have to worry too much if your name is not descriptive in itself. Your branding and the core values your business holds firmly can significantly influence how people perceive your business.
Is your business name one that people love to talk about.
Let’s bring back the Yahoo! example. If the name were “General Internet Directories,” it would be less likeable and fewer people would be talking about it.
But with a name like Yahoo with an exclamation mark for extra effect, people would be happier and less bored to talk about the business. I’d certainly prefer talking about Yahoo! to a friend compared to a name like General Internet Directories.
Choose a name that appeals not only to you but also to the kind of customers you are trying to attract.
Also, what the name connotes matters.
A whole lot.
“Yahoo!” connotes a more positive and fun experience (the exclamation mark does an excellent job at that) compared to “General Internet Directories,” which sounds boring if you ask me.
Choose a name that has a positive connotation so that customers can connect with and respond to your business on a deeper level.
Choosing a business name is more of a big deal than a lot of people think. But at the same time, don’t overthink it.
Lots of people don’t know what exactly to look out for when choosing a business name, but hopefully, after reading this post, you know where to begin in selecting a fantastic business name. What naming factor resonated most with you?
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Till then, take care and have an awesome day.
Esther Alu, the Founder of TheAceBusiness.com is an entrepreneur who writes step-by-step guides for starting several business ideas. She is constantly learning and discovering effective ways to help her readers launch and grow successful businesses.