The Dos & Don’ts of Choosing a Business Name

business name

Choosing a name may seem like the least urgent and least worrying thing when setting up your business; however, it has the potential to make or break your brand.

This list will not go into the legalities of selecting a name—registering, protecting, trademarks or copyright—but instead offers naming suggestions by considering aspects like availability, language, branding and practicality. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do when choosing a business name.

Availability

Do:

  • Run several Google searches to see if the name you want comes up
  • Check if the name is available on social media

Don’t:

  • Register a business name without first checking if the same or similar domain name is available
  • Choose the first good name you come up with; even if you’re set on it, brainstorm a bit and sleep on it

Language

Do:

  • Make sure that the word(s) you use is easily understandable and translates well in to other languages
  • If you’re struggling to find suitable existing words, make a name up (like Häagen-Dazs)
  • Make it easy to spell and pronounce—say it out loud several times

Don’t:

  • Go with a long, boring descriptive name
  • Limit yourself to the English language; foreign words can work too (think Ubuntu)
  • Avoid using a name/word that’s spelled differently to how it sounds

Branding

Do:

  • Run the potential name past your target audience and ask them what connotations the name conveys
  • Choose a name that accurately describes your company’s personality and what it does
  • Think about the visual element of a name (How does it look in a customer’s mind?
    How will it be designed on paper?)
  • Research competitor names to ensure that yours stands out
  • Find a name that will stay relevant for years to come

Don’t:

  • Ignore popular blogs that have the name you want—their site will compete with yours
  • Only consult friends and family for opinions and help
  • Try not to use words that have any negative connotations

Practicality

Do:

  • Consider using your own name; this does work for many successful entrepreneurs and one-person businesses
  • Use a combination of partners’/co-owners’ names

Don’t:

  • Go with your own name if you ever plan on selling your business
  • Use a location in your name if you plan to extend your business geographically
  • Choose a long or hard-to-remember name
  • Avoid special characters and punctuation marks

The most important thing here is that you want to end up with a business name that you’ll be proud to own. When someone asks you, “What’s the name of your business?” you should not have to avoid the question!

How did you settle on your name and what tips do you have for naming a business?

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