Choosing the right business name is crucial for success. Your business name will become synonymous with your brand image and customer experience. It communicates who you are, what you do and in many cases the market you cater to. A business name is so important, there are companies that charge thousands of dollars to help businesses come up with the perfect name. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a dime if you follow the tips below.
Start by creating a list of words that represent what you do, who you are and the image you want to portray. Mix and match the words into various combinations to develop different business names ideas. For example, if you plan to start a freelance writing business, words you might include on your list are freelance writing, copywriting, sales writing and ghost writing. But you also want to consider why people hire writers and include those terms such as profit, sales-generating, compelling, etc. Some ideas you might come up with are “Profit Copywriting,” “Words For Sales,” or “Profit Write Now”.
As you come up with ideas, consider:
1) Is it easy to remember?
The goal of a business name is to identify you and what you do. If people can’t remember it, they can’t find or share your business. For that reason, short and simple is usually best.
2) Does it describe what you do?
Today, you can say Apple and everyone knows what company you’re referring to. But if you think about it, Apple is a strange choice for a computer company. Before Apple, you wouldn’t equate apples with technology. The fact that we do now is a testament to Apple’s branding. But starting out in a home business, it’s better to help consumers know what you do by making it clear in your name. In fact, originally Apple Inc. was Apple Computer Inc.
3) Is it interesting?
You don’t necessarily need to be clever in designing your business name, but sometimes picking something unique helps you stand out. Plays on words or rhyming are a few ways to be clever. For example, Play It Again Sports plays off the line “Play it again, Sam” while still making clear it sells used sporting goods.
4) Is it flexible? I imagine that the reason Apple Inc. isn’t Apple Computer Inc. anymore is that it has expanded its product line. While you can change your name down the road, it’s easier for you and your customers if you choose a business name that allows flexibility to expand or reduce products or services.
5) Is the domain name available?
Go online to see if the domain is available for purchase. If it’s taken, you can choose a variation of the name, but you’ll want to be careful about making it too obscure. Adding a bunch of hyphens or spelling out numbers (or vise versa) may confuse consumers and you’ll accidently send them to someone else’s website. For example, if WordsForSales.com was taken, you could try Words4Sales.com. However, you'd risk losing traffic to WordsForSales.com if you didn’t make it clear to use the number 4 when sharing your domain name.
6) Is it trademarked?
Visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office online to do a trademark search of your business name. If it’s trademarked, you can’t use it without risking legal hassles. While you’re at it, check with your state’s Secretary of State to see if the business is registered. Technically you can use a name that isn’t trademarked, even if it’s used by someone else, but it’s not a good idea as you’ll dilute your business brand.
Once you have ideas that are available, test them out on friends and family. If you belong to a business mastermind group or online business forum, ask members for feedback. This will be helpful in eliminating names and in some cases you may get new ideas. Once you have a winner, register your business and buy the domain name.