Your business name sets the tone and helps define what you offer. In many cases, it is the first impression that a prospect has of your business, so you want to make sure it’s memorable, makes an impact and clues people in on what you provide.
Over time your business name helps to establish your brand.
While some feel a whimsical name, such as Google, might be best for your business, keep in mind that unless you have a lot of money to establish the meaning of that name, you could get trapped being perceived as something you aren’t.
A potential client’s perception of your name is very important. Take into consideration the following tips when naming your business.
If you know what you are specifically offering, you can put the name of it in your business name. For example, if you offer business consulting you can use J and R Consulting. This allows potential clients to immediately identify with what you are offering.
If you want to appear larger than just a one-person show, choose a one-word name, but leave your name out of it. For example: Microsoft, Starbucks, or Borders.
But if you want to appear larger than just a one-person show and still want to make sure your clients see you as the main expert, use your name, but add to it. For example: John Smith and Associates or Smith and Company.
If you have a personality-based business, use your name. For example: Oprah, Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray.
Keep in mind, if you name your business after yourself, it will be more difficult to sell it, but if you grow large enough, you can license your name for use on products not created by you.
If you want to market to corporations, be sure your business name sounds professional and has appeal to upper-level managers. Using words like heart, soul, balance, passion, etc. typically aren’t taken seriously because corporations need to weigh what results they are going to get and the impression they’re making on stockholders and employees.
Even if your product or service is top-notch, a corporation feels better telling their employees and writing in their annual report that they’ve hired Team Building Unlimited before they report they’ve hired the Soul Freedom Group.
Keep your business name short and simple so that it’s easy to remember, keeps you’re URL manageable and looks better on marketing materials.
If you are going to use a play-on-words, make sure it will be universally understood and not easily misunderstood.
If your product or service has a global marketplace, keep in mind that words can mean different things in other countries. For example, the Commodore PET computer didn’t do well when marketed in French-speaking countries where “pet” means fart.
Avoid names that play off pop culture. These types of names will quickly be out of date.
Choose a name that’s easy to spell. Not only will this make it easier for people to type in your web or email address, but you’ll be less likely to misspell your business name on documents.
Make your name one that can grow with you. If you think you’ll be adding services or products or growing your one-man business into a firm, choose a name that will fit your company when it reaches its potential. Renaming can be costly and you'll lose brand identity.
Reserve your URL before filing your business paperwork.
Unless you are a technology company, you want your company name URL to be a .com. If you’re a technology company, .net is acceptable. And if you are a non-profit, then .org is preferred.
Even though .biz might seem like a good idea, people still default type .com before any other ending. You don’t want to make it hard for people to find you. I recommend reserving .com as well even if you want .net or .org to be shown on your marketing materials.
Once you have found a name that abides by all these tips, be sure to run it by several people to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything and that the name “fits” your business.