When you’re deciding on a name for your business, it can feel like you’re making a big decision. In fact, it can be intimidating to pick out a name because it’s so important — the name can be what people first remember about you and the products or services that you want that business name to represent. While you have many options that could work for your business, here are a few tips for choosing a name that will work over the long haul and that will help their business succeed.
Get the .com Extension
One of the most important things that you should ensure these days is that the .com extension is available. While.net and.org can sometimes be appropriate, .com is the most commonly used, so it’s also easiest to remember. For example, if you have a business called The Jolly Gingerbread Man, make sure that you can get something similar to your business name with the .com extension. Whether you’re doing business online or with a brick-and-mortar store doesn’t matter. Every business today needs a website for marketing and other endeavors, so getting your website the URL that will be easy to remember and make sense for your customers can save you a lot of hassles later on.
Don’t Choose a Limiting Name
When you start a business, you might be tempted to choose a business name that clearly and specifically outlines what you do. While there’s some logic in this, you also have to be careful that you don’t put too much emphasis on choosing a name that is overly specific because that can be limiting. For instance, say you wanted to sell fishing tackle. If you chose a name like Just Fishing Tackle, it would be more difficult to later expand into other outdoor sporting equipment items, such as duck lures or equipment for hunting. However, if you chose a name like Outdoor Sports Gear, you have a lot more room to expand into other types of products.
Stay Away From Competitors’ Names
When searching for the perfect name, it’s possible that you will fall in love with one of your competitors’ names. While it can be tempting to choose a name that’s reminiscent of your competitor’s name, this can be a huge mistake because, more likely than not, your business will be confused with your competitor’s business. Some states have laws against naming your business something that is very similar to another business because it can be deceptive, so you should check your state’s regulations, too.
Think About Branding Early
When choosing a name, remember that this is the first experience that most people will have with your company. The name you choose should align with what you want to be known for. For instance, if you have a business that sells baked goods, you might be interested in being an artisan bread bakery. Otherwise, you might be more interested in being known for making holiday treats. The name that you choose should reflect what you want people to remember you for.
Choose a Name That’s Easy to Pronounce and Spell
Whenever you choose a name, you need to be realistic about what people will be able to pronounce and spell. If you choose to incorporate your last name that’s 15 letters long and has an origin with spelling features that most people are not familiar with, it will slow down people whenever they try to talk about your business. That’s why you need to choose something simple and memorable for the average person rather than something that only people who know Russian or another language that’s unfamiliar to English speakers will be able to pronounce.
Short is Usually Better
When you’re choosing a business name, a name that’s 8 or 10 words will make it harder to remember and less catchy. When choosing a name, aim for four words or fewer. One common technique is to incorporate an adjective and noun. For instance, your bakery could be named something like the Jolly Gingerbread Man if you have a seasonal Christmas cookie business.
Avoid Using Your Name
Using your name in your business name has its drawbacks. First of all, if you ever choose to sell your business, it makes it less marketable because the person buying your business will either have to explain to customers that they’re not Larry of Larry’s Automotive, or they’ll have to rename the company once they buy it from you.
Another reason why you should leave your name out of your business is that it can be limiting in other ways. It’s also not the most memorable because most people’s names don’t have strong associations or an image that go along with it. For instance, say your last name is Davidson. If you name your bakery Davidson’s Bakery, you might be competing with businesses like Jerry’s Bread or Lily’s Cookie Shop. While these are all different names, the associative qualities don’t stand out for any of them. But if you were to choose something like The Jolly Gingerbread Man, that name is more memorable because you can see a gingerbread man and you can imagine what jolly might look like. You can’t really imagine what Davidson looks like.
The one caveat is if your name is suitable for a play on words. If your last name happens to be Farmer, and you have a restaurant that focuses on farm-to-table cooking, there could be lots of options for effective naming and branding that incorporate your real last name.
When you’re looking for a name for your business, spending some time on it is worthwhile. While you are not absolutely stuck with a name forever if it doesn’t suit your business later on, it can be a hassle to rename and rebrand. And depending on how big your business is and where you’re operating, it can become a big expense. If you want to create a memorable name that is free of any potential liabilities, take some time to research online what’s already out there.