3 Tips for Naming Your Company


When it comes to getting a brand-new start up off of the ground, naming your company can have a huge impact on your future success. If you're a work at home mom or self-employed person with an agenda to start a new business, think about all of the effects that a simple name can have. It may have been Shakespeare who penned the sentiment that "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," but those who have earned their MBAs by looking hard at the realities of modern business might have a few things to discuss with the departed poet. In business, a name can mean a lot. Some good guidelines will help you avoid a "naming dud" situation and get your business off to a good start.

1. Check Public Records for Originality

One of the first things that business people do to legitimize their business is to legally register a fictitious business name. It's called a fictitious name because, even though one person might be behind it, that person's name is substituted for a name that doesn't identify who is behind the business. In other words, a true fictitious name doesn't have your name in it at all.

State agencies will allow for checking a proposed business against a register of existing businesses to make sure that your fictitious name is legal for use. Not registering the name or paying attention to existing business can get you into a nasty trademark battle, and the records research is most likely well worth the time.

2. Avoid Foreign Language and Spelling Problems

Anyone who doesn't think that they should do foreign language research on a business name should look at what happened when Chevrolet christened its car the "Nova" (Spanish trans: "doesn't go") and think about whether exposure to a foreign market justifies looking at whether your chosen name could have negative connotations in another language. You might want to also think critically about whether your name, whether it's an acronym or some other title, might pose spelling and pronunciation challenges to your target audience, your potential clients.

3. Relevance and Memorability

The trick is to find a name that's relevant to your business or service, something that effectively represents you, and something that is quick and to the point. It should be something "catchy" that will stick in the memory of potential clients. Lots of business people now talk about "stickiness" as the intangible gold of the business process. Basically, those who want to attract customers look at how to get their branding into the collective "mind's eye" with a combination of accessible names and logos. There's a lot of creativity involved in this process, and taking time for a brainstorming session or a name/logo workup could pay off big in later years, when your business is at its height.

Take all of the above into account when picking out a name for your business, and you'll be outfitting yourself with a better vantage point for entering into a competitive market.

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