Five Steps to Finding the Perfect Business Name

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Five Steps to Finding the Perfect Business Name

If you are opening a small business or just dreaming about it, choosing the perfect brand name should be one of your first steps. Because your name is often the first thing prospective customers hear about you, it is important that it gives the right impression. Here are five simple guidelines for helping you choose a name that will springboard your small business to success.

Keep it simple. A long name, an unpronounceable one, or simply an unspellable one may be enough of a hurdle to put a damper on sales. You don’t want customers who rave about your business to be stuck calling you, “that little place on Eighth Street”. A short, snappy name is one small step to becoming a well known brand. Two to four words is ideal.

Keep it memorable. You need a simple name, but you also want one that will stick in people’s heads. Some of the most unlikely names, like Starbucks and Pinkberry (see the top 10 coffee shop logos), have succeeded because they are just a little different. As long as your small business name is short and sweet, it’s okay to be creative. Don’t be afraid to choose a name that is an inside joke or one that has a story behind it. It will give your customers something to talk about and create instant public interest.

Don’t limit yourself. Using a name with reference to your geographical area, like “Manhattan Sporting Goods” will limit you to a relatively small geographical area. What if you are so successful that you decide to set up shop in another neighborhood? Also, with so many businesses running successful internet components now, you don’t want to appear as though you only deal with a limited region. Another way you can accidentally limit yourself is by having your name include the one narrow product you are currently offering. Even you are beginning your small business selling only tropical fish from Malaysia, don’t choose a name that prevents you from branching out aquarium supplies or freshwater fish.

Ask around. Sometimes what sounds like the perfect name to one person (you) just doesn’t appeal to others (your customers). A name that has unfortunate connotations, a double meaning that you were unaware of, or is simple unattractive to a decent percentage of the population will singlehandedly sink you. This is why it is so important to ask others what they think about your naming ideas, particularly people who are involved in the industry that you plan to operate in. There is always room for improvement.

Make sure it isn’t taken. If you are involved in the industry of your soon-to-be small business, you will probably know already what names are taken in your field and geographical area. However, don’t stop there. Make sure your name is free on a regional and national level as well. It can be difficult to get a business trademark for a name that is similar to another trademarked name. Also, having a similar name to another company may result in a lawsuit. It’s better to cover your bases before you have signs and stationary printed.

While no one can choose a name for you, these five steps should help you decide if the name you are thinking of is the right match. Choosing a name is one of the most important decisions you will make for your business, so give this process the time and thought it deserves. An investment in a unique, memorable name is one that is sure to pay off.