One of the most head-scratching, brain-draining, time-consuming parts of starting a small business is choosing a name. This is the name your customers will know you by. It’s the name you’ll use in your marketing and branding and will ultimately be synonymous with what you stand for and the reputation you earn, so not just any name will do.
Choosing a name is a strategic process that you shouldn’t dive into until you know what you’re doing. That’s why we’re sharing our top five game-changing tips on naming your small business and position it for success:
When you’re naming a business, you’ve probably got all kinds of catchy ideas and images in your mind. But let’s go back to the basics for a moment: what is your business’s mission? What makes you valuable in the market? Who are the customers you’re serving?
There’s a lot that makes your business unique, and these elements can help you come up with a solid name that reflects what you’re about. Think about the message you want to send with your name:
Should it be easy to pronounce?
Are you going for mass appeal (e.g. Paradise Air, Rostipollos) or are you catering to a niche audience (e.g. Ahrefs, PokerStars)?
Should it directly relate to your products or services (e.g. Cafe Britt, Florida Ice and Farm Company, etc.)?
Do you want to limit it to a single word, use your own name, or create a mashup of words?
The sky’s the limit, so don’t be afraid to get creative. Just make sure it reflects the voice and image you want to create.
There’s a lot you could call your business, but ultimately, you’ll need to decide on just one name. Before you settle, start brainstorming and write down whatever comes to mind. Spend some time dreaming up ideas and see what evolves. Even if it sounds silly at first, write it down and come back to it after you clear your mind. One crazy idea might just lead you to the real deal.
Take a break and sleep on your brainstorm, then come back to it with fresh eyes. Shortlist your ideas to the ones you really like, then prioritize them according to how much you like them.
Play around with each name, say them out loud to see how they sound, and keep shortening your list until you’re left with the names you want to seriously consider for your business.
What many novice business owners don’t realize is that choosing a name doesn’t mean you can actually use that name. To make your business legal, your name has to be unique. Work with an attorney on this process to make sure you can get the business name you want. He or she can help you file the right paperwork, including drafting and notarizing your public deeds for registration.
While you’re at it, do a quick Google search for your business name to see if anyone else is using it. They may be using a business name but haven’t made it legal yet, and while the name is still technically fair game in this case, you may not want your business name associated with theirs.
If you plan on having a website, many businesses choose a domain name that’s the same as their business name. This consistency makes it easy for people to remember and gives you an easy way to tell people about how they can learn more about you.
You can go to a website broker like GoDaddy to check domain availability. When you decide on a name, you’ll want to grab your domain quickly before someone else does.
Are you ready to pull the trigger on your business name? If you haven’t partnered with an attorney yet, now is the time to do it. This is especially helpful if you are pursuing an SA corporation rather than a sole proprietorship. This business class protects your personal income and assets, but it can be a complicated process to complete if you’re not experienced.
Naming your small business isn’t a decision to take lightly, so don’t treat it as an afterthought. It’s a lengthy process that could slow you down if you don’t approach it with a clear strategy, especially when you’re ready to make it official.
But once you’ve chosen a winning name, consider another box checked on your to-do list and one step closer to carving your niche in the industry.
Need a boost in finding the perfect business name and designing your brand around it? Let us join you on the journey — schedule your free consultation today and prepare to launch a successful business!
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