Step 4 What is in a Name?

Updated: Feb 27, 2019

Some brands are instantly recognizable, even without words. Consumers around the world recognize Nike’s ubiquitous “swoosh” logo. For the vast majority of businesses, the key to effective branding begins with directly telling people your name. When contacts or potential clients can quickly establish who you are, you’ve made an important first step in developing a connection.

Here are a few questions.

  • What message do you want to portray through your business name?

  • What are your biggest priorities for your business name?

  • Do you want it to be easy to pronounce?

  • What do you want people to think and feel when they see your business name?

  • What is your business structure and will your business name use a related abbreviation, such as Inc. or LLC?

Once you have answered the questions, it's time to introduce some creativity in choosing a business name. Come up with as many business name ideas as possible. During this time, you should keep your answers in mind. Now that you have created a list of possibilities, it's time to review and analyze your results. Go through your list and remove any non-contenders, and mark the names that immediately resonate with you.

Consider a few things…

How does the name you are thinking about look visually?

The way it sounds is it different from the competition?

Is there something about the name that will make someone want to learn more?

When you have a shortlist of potential business names, sleep on it. Let your ideas sit, then come back to it and review again. An answer should come to you if not start the process again. Know that the naming a business is never easy; sometimes you have to go with your least-worst option. Some names need to grow on you. Someone once said “A great business name won’t save a bad business. Pick a name you can grow with”. Make a decision and move on!

Once you have decided on a name run it through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to see if it is already taken. Last but not least part of your availability search should include a domain name search if you intend to have a website to promote your company. If your business name is not available, you may need to use an abbreviation for your domain name, see if you can get it if not is there a version of this name available at a domain name you feel comfortable with.

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