Why Business Names Matter
Choosing the right name for a business can be quite the work, especially when looking at long-term business growth.
You need a name that represents your vision, is catchy, and is unique. Having the wrong business name will not only confuse your prospective clients, but it can also give room for your competition to swoop in.
Of course, there are also legal issues that come with choosing poor business names.
This is why you need to choose the best name for your startup. It’ll help you avoid these potentially bad scenarios and boost your marketing efforts.
In this article, we’ll be showing you how to pick the right name for your business.
How To Choose Your Startup Business Name
As a startup, your company name serves as the first impression you make. Your name can make or break your business.
Here’s how to pick the best name for you business.
1. Understand Your Business
Understanding your business goals, niche, and vision helps you see business name ideas for what they can be. While this might seem like a given, you’d be surprised at how many business owners lose track of this.
For example, a nail technician who plans to start a nail business might get carried away with a business name like “XXX beauty salon and spa.”
This is great. However, they’ve lost track of their vision. Because what if they need to expand or diversify and then realize that the spa business isn’t something they’d want to venture into?
This is why you need to understand your business a lot better. Study industry giants and look into how they’ve developed. Another case might be limiting your business name.
In our example, this business owner might choose a business name like “XXX nails.” While this applies at the moment, what happens when they need to expand into makeup or hair?
Remember Jeff Bezos had to change his business name to Amazon because of how rapidly the business stretched from simply being a bookstore. So don’t make the same mistake he did and get it right from the start.
Pro Tips– Go for a business name that has a meaning similar to your mission or vision
– Pick a broad name instead of focusing on niche-specific names if you’re looking to expand
2. Avoid Error-Prone Names
In a bid to be unique, avoid selecting names that might be prone to either spelling or pronunciation errors. An example is “phressia”.
This popular software name is prone to spelling errors. Try to tell a friend about it, and the common misconception will be to start it with an F. There’s also the double ‘S.’ They probably spend a lot of time redirecting people by spelling it out loud.
The problem with this type of name is that it leaves you susceptible to hijacking. Anyone can choose to purchase a very similar domain name and take your potential traffic.
The only other alternative is that you purchase multiple domains where your business name is commonly misspelled as. Then redirect all the traffic you get there to your main site.
So it means you’ll spend more resources to protect your brand. Tons of money could be saved if you get the right business name for your startup the first time.
It also makes it harder for your leads or prospective customers to find you. If you get a referral, there’s a higher chance of them missing out on your business because they can’t seem to find it. So they’ll opt for a similar brand that’s more memorable.
Pro Tips– Choose names with simple spellings and universal variations
– Avoid using numbers or double spellings in your business name
3. Use A Business Generator
Thinking about the perfect business name is a difficult task. That’s why you can use AI to generate unique business name ideas based on the specific keywords you’d like to target.
A company name generator is a tool that helps you achieve this. A business name generator makes brainstorming sessions easier and faster. In some cases, while looking through these ideas, you can find one that resonates with you.
If you use a business name generator, you can filter the names you create, instantly check for domain availability and create unlimited name ideas. These filters allow you to modify the length, form, and structure of each startup name idea until you find one that works. There are no limitations to the number of name ideas you can generate.
With our business name generator, you have access to an in-built logic that understands your branding and considerations based on the keywords you submit.
This means you will get name ideas that are relevant to your industry. Every idea is unique, engaging, and attractive to your potential customers.
Pro Tips– Use a keyword you would like to rank for in your industry
– While you generate names, make a shortlist of at least five names you think you can work with
4. Be Creative And Memorable
Once you make a list of names you like, reevaluate them. Ask yourself the following questions.
- Are they catchy or easy to remember?
- Are they easy to spell?
- Do they make sense for my business?
You can do this by thinking about ways to market certain product features. A good example of this is Pinterest. It’s memorable because the major feature of this product is pinning items that interest you on a board.
If you don’t have distinct features and attributes, you can appeal to emotions. When there’s emotional resonance, you can get people to stick with you long-term. LG is a brand that sells comfort. By choosing a creative business name “Life is Good”, they’ve been able to create a memorable brand.
You also want to ensure that while being creative and memorable, you strike a positive cord with your target audience. You don’t want to have a business name that has an inappropriate meaning in a foreign language or slang.
For example, Analtech is a manufacturing business for pre-coated plates. But it’s obvious they get double looks whenever they introduce their company. So ensure you thoroughly review your business name before launching it to the public.
Pro Tips– Pick a name that stands out from your competitors
– Choose a name that’s fun to say out loud. Some examples are Apple, Walmart, and Bestbuy
5. Search For Domain Availability
After choosing a business name, you have to check its domain availability before registering it. This is especially useful when you opt for a fairly common business name.
Our business name generators can instantly check if your selected name has available domains.
In some cases, your selected name won’t be available. At this point, you might want to take a minute to reassess your situation.
You have two options if your preferred name isn’t available:
- Pick an alternative domain extension
- Create a new name for your business
Keep in mind that a different domain extension might not be an option if your competitor trademarked the name.
Pro Tips– Only use reputable domain name registrars for your domains
– Our business name generators instantly show you which extensions are available for your selected name
6. Go For .Com Domains If You Can
While there are interesting domain extensions like .net and .org, the .com extension still ranks highest. This is because it creates a perception that you’re an established business, and customers tend to have a certain level of trust for businesses with this extension.
You should also know that if you opt for a different domain extension, another business might either already have your domain in the .com extension or choose to immediately purchase it while they can.
So you either have to risk getting mistaken for that website or end up purchasing the .com extension much later at a higher price.
It’s also easy to branch out from a .com extension. Let’s say you’re trying to purchase country-specific domain extensions like .co.uk. Your .com extension can be the central hub for your business.
Think of it as your primary business website, and traffic from other locations is channeled to it.
So rather than opting for a cheaper and uncommon alternative, invest in a .com extension for your business name. If it’s already taken, you can also consider buying it from the owner.
Pro Tips– Avoid using hyphens in your business name
– .com extensions are great for commercial businesses, but you can always use other TLDs if you’re a different type of startup
7. Do Your Trademark Research
Before you register your business name and employ a team to work on your branding; you need to check for a trademark availability.
While domain availability helps you see whether the domain is available, trademarks are assets of another business. So even if they didn’t purchase the domain, the business name still belongs to them.
If you fail to carry out a trademark search for your business, you can seriously affect your brand long term. For starters, it could lead to drawn-out legal issues. This might happen if you start using a name that’s too similar to already registered names in your niche.
To run a trademark search, simply visit the USPTO’s trademark electronic search system or the patent and trademark resource center. It’s always a good idea to talk to a trademarking attorney to make sure you can trademark your name.
If you are cleared at this point, we recommend applying for a trademark to legally claim the name you selected.
Pro Tips– You can seek legal help while running your checks
– Use quotation marks to enclose your query while searching on the USPTO website
8. Check With Your Secretary Of State
If you’d like to register your business as an LLC or corporation, another legal search you’ll have to conduct is checking whether your secretary of state will allow you to register it or not.
This usually happens when your business name is too similar to an existing business. So to avoid confusion, they’ll ask you to choose a different name.
So check the existing records with your secretary of state to ensure there are no conflicts at this stage.
Usually, your corporate lawyer will help you run this check.
Pro Tips– Ensure you only search on the legitimate state website
– Search by business name instead of type or listing
9. Review Your Prospective Business Name
Reviewing in this context means running your business name with a few people. You might get caught up in the process and love your newfound name without realizing it doesn’t create the effect you were hoping it would.
So outline a list of potential business names and ask your friends for their insight. If you already have colleagues or a co-founder, you can review it with them.
You also want to run it through some people who fit into your target audience. They’ll be able to give you unbiased feedback and show you what your customers will think of your startup.
For example, there might be a negative connotation you’re not aware of. When GM launched a car model “Nova”, they realized later on that it means “doesn’t move” in Spanish.
These types of nuances can be easily identified when more people help with reviewing your business name.
Pro Tips– Look out for their first reaction to your business name
– Compare it to what they think – you can conduct a simple survey to collate all data.
At the end of the day, creative business names are the foundation of every brand. So ensure you take your time and ensure you pick something you’ll love for the years to come. The right name will also make it easy for you to run your marketing campaigns.
If you have trouble coming up with startup name ideas, we recommend using our startup name generator to get inspired today.