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How to Choose the Perfect Name for Your Business


pen on a notebook that reads "business name ideas" with crumpled up pieces of paper surrounding it

Selecting the right name for your business is a crucial step in establishing your brand identity and attracting customers. A great business name should reflect your business’ identity and purpose.  It takes five to seven impressions for people to remember a brand, but it only takes people seven seconds to form an impression of your brand.

 

Having a memorable, catchy brand name that evokes the correct associations will help it stick — and brand recognition has enormous implications on your bottom line. Here are some strategies for choosing a business name wisely. 

 

Types of Business Names

 

Entrepreneurs generally take one of five approaches to name their company. Your ideal approach depends on your brand identity, industry and target audience.

 

Descriptive Names

Descriptive names specify the product or service and are ideal for positioning a brand clearly. While these names tend to be functional and utilitarian, they are less susceptible to misinterpretation.  Examples include “Joe’s Home Improvement” or “Blue Zebra Soaps”.  One cautionary note about descriptive names: it can be difficult to trademark businesses with names containing real words.

 

Suggestive Names

Emotive brand names evoke specific feelings that arise when a customer uses your product or service. Suggestive names use connotations (the idea or feeling that a world invokes) to convey the brand experience.  Examples include “Reliable Home Improvement” or “Heavenly Soaps”.   Suggestive names are generally easier to trademark than descriptive names because of their originality.

 

Arbitrary Names

An arbitrary name is a real word, but the word is used such that there is no connection to the meaning. For example, the name “Apple” for personal computers, “Sun” in connection with computer technology, or “Camel” in connection with cigarettes are arbitrary names.  They can be memorable names that have no direct reference to a company’s actual operations, but with enough repetition, customers will learn to associate the name with a specific product.

 

Acronyms/Initialisms

Acronyms tend to be used to shorten excessively long names that would otherwise be difficult for customers to recall, such as BMW (short for Berlin Motor Works). However, acronyms lack meaning, emotion and imagery.  They convey little about the business’s purpose or products.  They are difficult for customers to remember and even harder to trademark.

 

Names Based on Other Languages

Some businesses use words from other languages and piggyback on their connotations.  For example, “Dulce Bakery” is  based on the Italian word dulce, which means sweet. 

 

Key Considerations in Selecting a Name for Your Business

 

Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when selecting a name for your business:

 

1. Reflect Your Brand Identity

Your business name should reflect your brand's values, mission, and identity. It should convey the essence of what your business is about and what sets it apart from others in the market.  Think about your target audience and what will resonate with them. Your business name should appeal to your target market and communicate the right message to potential customers.

 

2. Be Unique and Memorable

Choose a name that is distinct and memorable. Avoid generic names that are easily forgettable or could be confused with other businesses. A unique name will help your business stand out and make a lasting impression on customers.  Consider using one of the many free business generators available online for some ideas.

 

3. Check Availability

Before finalizing your business name, make sure it is not already in use by another company. Do an online search for the exact name or ones that might be confusingly similar to your desired name.  Check for trademarks and domain availability to ensure you can legally use the name for your business.  Check with your state’s corporations bureau to ensure the name has not been registered by another business located in the state.  If your desired name shows up in any of those searches, you may have difficultly registering or using your name. 

 

4. Keep it Simple and Easy to Pronounce

A simple, easy-to-pronounce name is more likely to be remembered and shared by customers. Avoid complex or difficult-to-spell names that could lead to confusion.  Once you have a few name options, get feedback from friends, family, and potential customers. Their input can help you choose the best name for your business.

 

5. Consider SEO

If you plan to have an online presence, consider how your business name will impact your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Avoid names that are “crowded”, meaning names that include words that many other businesses use. While checking for name availability, also take note of how many other businesses use similar words.  This is where unique names can be a real advantage for a business.  Choose a name that includes relevant keywords or is easy to search for online. 

 

Your Business Name is Critical to Success

 

Choosing the right name for your business is a critical decision that can have a lasting impact on your brand's success. Changing your business name is cumbersome and costly: you must notify the IRS, apply for a new employer identification number (EIN) and change licenses and permits. Ideally, your business name is forever. By considering these key factors, you can select a name that not only reflects your brand identity but also resonates with your target audience and sets you up for long-term success. 


When you’re ready to pull the trigger and form your business, the experienced business attorneys at Fiffik Law Group are here to help.  You can DIY your business formation but why start something so important and chance making a big mistake that is costly to fix later?  The wisest decision is to have attorney assistance when you form your business.  Contact us today.

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