5 Steps to The Perfect Business Name
By Any Other Name, Would It Be As Sweet?
We’ve written a lot of blogs on many different topics, but if we take a step back, the majority have one overarching theme— don’t always just solely believe your own gut. Get others in on your ideas. Say things out loud and trust others’ feedback. Hold your business ideas loosely so if you do a case study and it becomes clear you need to change something, you can be open to actually doing it. Not everyone is as close to your business or industry as you are, so they just simply may not “get it” in the same way you do. So having outside feedback can really help.
All of this couldn’t be more true for today’s topic— naming your business. We know a business is deeply personal, we get it. Trust us. But when coming up with your business name, it’s sometimes best to check feelings at the door, especially if you’re dead set on a name and haven’t exactly gotten any opinions on it yet. Because at the end of the day, you want a business name that will be the absolute best representation of your business and get the best name recognition right? Of course you do! So let’s get to it, shall we?
1. Figure Out Your Ideal Customer
A great exercise, before trying to decide on a name, is to create a list of values and characteristics you want your business to embody. Then think about who your ideal customer group is (age, sex, income range, location, etc.). Every idea you come up with for a name needs to be held next to these details as a way to determine if that name fits with the kind of business you’re trying to create. If you want a bit more in-depth how-to for this practice, you can read all about it here.
Make it a Group Project
Group projects get a bad rap. But gone are the days when the Tommys and Tiffanys of the world are forced to be in class with no real motivation. (Sorry to any well-motivated Tommys and Tiffanys out there 😬😂) For your group, pick people who you love and respect, rally your friends who believe in you and your future business, grab your creative friends, and get to work!
Don’t be afraid to say every idea out loud. We have this thing in our office that we adopted from author and researcher, Brené Brown. We allow each other non-judgemental space to have a potential “💩-y first draft.” When coming up with an idea, we may hit it out of the park the first time, or it may be a 💩-y first draft. BUT, some of our very best work has come by saying a bunch of first drafts and playing off of those until we get to the final concept. It can be really quite fun in a group you trust!
2. It’s Ok to Be #Basic
In fact, it’s encouraged! When thinking of a name for your business, it’s great to keep it simple. A simple name is not only great for name recognition, but also when thinking about branding, print, and design. A long, more business complicated name can be well, complicated to fit on product labels, t-shirts, etc. A short name will keep things clean and pleasing to the eye.
3. Sleep On It
If you’re anything like us, you’ve had an earth-shatteringly amazing idea only to sleep on it and realize it’s mediocre at best. There’s no shame in that. So sleep on it! Maybe for a few nights. And if you still love it, you know it’s meant to be!
4. Check for Any Unwanted Doppelgängers
Before you 💯 settle on your business name and get suuuuper attached, you’re going to want to do a quick Google search to see if there are any companies already using your name that may be potential competitors. Also take the time to make sure the name not already trademarked. You can easily search the federal database AKA TESS (the Trademark Electronic Search System) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Last but certainly not least, do domain name search. In 2019 a website is necessary, so make sure your business name is available as a website domain. If it isn’t, try using an abbreviation, hyphens, or an alternate domain such as .net.
5. Register That Bad Boy!
Once you’re in love with a name as if it were your first born, you’re going to want to register it as fast as you can. (But not too fast or anything. No typos wanted here! 😂)
If you have an LLC, a corporation, or a limited partnership in the U.S., you’ll need to register your business with your state authorities. When you do, your business name will automatically be registered (yay efficiency!). If your business is a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, in most cases, you will register your business with the county and/or city where it’s located.
Oh, and while it’s not a requirement, it may be a good idea to register your business name for a trademark to protect yourself from any of your own future unwanted doppelgängers. 😉
Hailing from an entrepreneurial family and being entrepreneurs ourselves, we know how hard this process can be, but also how much fun it can be! We hope these little tidbits helped. And we can’t wait to see what future business names you guys come up with.