Four Crucial Tips for Choosing a Business Name
One question that we get asked is whether or not we help people choose business names.
The short answer is yes, we do, as a part of our Experience package. The longer answer is that we *only* offer this service with our Experience package because it requires quite a bit of research in order to make informed, solid suggestions for business names. It also requires assessment + feedback, as we never want to make a professional suggestion without having pros + cons to back it up.
We know + understand that not all of our clients have a budget for our Experience package, so we thought it might be handy + helpful to provide a few basic suggestions for choosing a name for your business. With these suggestions, we hope that you’ll find yourselves on the path to the perfect business name!
1. Think about your audience and who you plan to reach.
Who will be buying your product or services? What would appeal to them?
Ask yourself questions like this — when you answer, you’ll actually be answering a second question — who is your target market? Your “target market” is going to be the people that will be interested in what you have to offer and should be buying your product or investing in your services. I’m making mention of this “target market” stuff because you should keep this demographic in mind whenever you advertise.
As far as business names go, you’ll want to ensure that your audience will understand the name you’ve chosen, and that it will be appealing to them. If the business name is appealing, your audience may be intrigued and want to know more about your business. If they learn more, you stand a greater chance of sealing the deal on the sale.
We tell our clients that it’s important for you to like your logo design, but it’s more important for your audience to like the design. The same holds true for your business name — you should like your business name, but your target market should like it more. After all, they’ll be the ones purchasing the product, right?
Your name is Amy, and you design shirts. Your designs would appeal to women between the ages of 18-35 — they’re girly, and you want your business to take on a boutique feel — upscale & personal. Although you make super feminine designs, you aren’t much of a girly girl yourself. You love the color black, and frogs are your favorite animal. You live in Mississippi, where the state tree is a magnolia.
Do you …
- think about the things you like and name your business Black Frog Designs?
- or do you think about your target market, and go with something a little more ethereal & feminine, like Rustling Magnolia Designs?
Which do you think would work best?
2. Think about your business 2-5 years down the road.
You’ve decided on the name Amy’s Tees. You’re Amy, and you make tees, so it makes sense, right? Then, you have this perfect opportunity to add in keychains because you got this awesome new machine that makes magical keychains.
Do you …
- change your business name to Amy’s Tees and Keychains?
- stick with Amy’s Tees and hope that people care enough to look at your website to see that you also offer keychains?
- or, do you wish you’d gone with something a little more flexible, like Amy’s Creations?
3. Double check things like initials, or accidental innuendos.
Make sure your initials don’t spell something undesirable, which might be a problem if you ever decide to pursue an initials-style logo.
We’ll bring back good ol’ Amy for this one. Amy has decided to name her business Amy’s Sassy Shirts. She also decided that she wants one of those super popular initials-style logos. Unfortunately for Amy, she didn’t realize when she named her business that her business’ abbreviated name would wind up as the butt of everyone’s jokes…ehhh, see what I did there? ASS, while memorable, might not be the best move in an initials-style logo.
As far as innuendos go, or other possible meanings for words, just double check that the combination of words you might be using for your business name doesn’t show up in the Urban Dictionary with some crazy-weird meaning.
4. Make sure that there are no local businesses, or major national competitors with the same name.
Amy decided to go super simple for her business name. Amy’s. That’s what she’ll call her business, because it’s broad and doesn’t limit her. Oh, whoops! Looks like that name is already taken. It’s not a shirt business, but rather a company that makes delicious food. Depending on whether or not there’s a trademark, and what class the mark may be listed under, there could be a potential legal issue there.
For any business, prior to submitting your own trademark or even an application for a fictitious business name with your city or local government, you should check on whether or not there may be a conflict. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has a searchable database for that. It’s important to note that the results returned don’t necessarily give you the green light or guarantee that if you were to submit an application, you’d be granted the rights. Consider the results returned as information to be used regarding potential conflicts.
If you keep these four tips in mind as you’re considering names for your business, you might arrive at your decision for the perfect business name! As a final tip to you, once you’ve narrowed the field a bit, ask for input from your family + friends. This is especially important if your family + friends might be a segment of your target market! Having feedback from other people might help you decide, or they may be able to provide insight that you hadn’t considered about whether or not your business name idea is a winner!