Naming Your Business

Naming Your BusinessBy Dawn Berryman

Have you recently started a business, or are you in the process of launching one? Have you chosen a name for your business? If so, how did you go about it? A name leaves a first impression. A name gives a customer their first glimpse into your company and what you do. A name is passed by word of mouth. A name will last a lifetime.

So, needless to say, the name of your business is a pretty crucial element of your overall business plan. It seems so daunting. Where do you even start?

There are several questions you can ask yourself that may help you begin to formulate a name.

  • What does your business do?
  • What is unique about what your business does?
  • What type of impression do you want to leave? Classy? Quality? Bargain?

I would suggest coming up with more than one name to begin with. Creating a list of your top three choices will give you more options as you work through the process. It is easier to narrow them down then to come up with more ideas once your head has settled on one.

You’ll need to do a trademark search, to make sure you aren’t infringing on anyone else’s company name. You can do it yourself by visiting The United States Patent and Trademark Office. I also recommend doing an LLC search to ensure your proposed name isn’t spoken for in your state. It’s also a good idea to do random internet searches using the words you’ve chosen. That way, you can see if anyone else is using the name unregistered (or maybe they’re in the process of registering) or if it’s associated with any other business or activity.

If your budget allows, I highly recommend including an attorney in these searches and starting the process of registering your name. It will pay off in the long run and you’ll be glad you didn’t delay.

Do you have some ideas you’re fond of? It’s always fun, and educational, to include a focus group and gather some opinions about your options. A graphic designer would be an awesome person to include in your conversations. Do they think your business name will translate easily into an attractive logo? You also might use these items to help eliminate some of your finalists:

  • Is the name easy to pronounce?
  • Is it relatively short and easy to remember?
  • Do you have a catchy slogan in mind that will accompany it well?
  • Is it descriptive and accurate?
  • Do you like it?

Putting in the extra effort upfront will help ensure that you’ve chosen a solid, strong business name that will stand the test of time.

Dawn Berryman is the founder of MarketMommy.com and Market Mommy:: The Blog, online marketing resources for mom entrepreneurs. Market Mommy shows moms how and where to market their businesses. She holds a B.A. from Indiana University and has worked in the marketing/communications field for more than 11 years. She resides in rural Ohio with her husband and three children. For more information, please see: Market Mommy.

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