The process of determining a name, whether it’s for a business or your first born child, is a task that should not be taken lightly. Names often shape who or what we will become in the future, so taking the time to consider your options is extremely important.
Every person’s path to learning how to become an entrepreneur is a little different. In part one of our Entrepreneurship Basics miniseries we outlined the importance of choosing your business structure. In this edition, we will discuss the process of naming your business.
If you are currently naming your business or plan to be starting one in the future, we want to help you take the time and learn about how to select a quality, appropriate, and memorable name that will greatly benefit your new business.
How to Name Your Business
As you begin to brainstorm business names, start by writing down any name that comes into your head. Professional naming firms sometimes list out hundreds of names for just one business to help them get the ball rolling. Once you build your list, you can start modifying your first initial thoughts about the names and refining them into more solid ideas.
What to Consider
There are many different elements of your business that you must consider when you are deciding on a name. Ask yourself these questions while you debate the different options:
- How will the name look on business cards, outdoor signs or in advertisements?
- Will you create your business name into a logo?
- Is the name easy to pronounce?
Also, make sure you keep it short, so it’s easy to remember, and the trademark is still available to use. In our digital world, it is important to consider if the name you choose would be available for your company’s website for its online presence.
What to Avoid
Make sure your business name can be distinguished from your competition, but also identifiable to your customers. A quality marketing plan can help you do this, but remember there are also many things you should try to avoid while naming your business.
- Don’t use geography.
Like most entrepreneurs, you want your business to be prepared for business growth. For example, Burlington Coat Factory didn’t prepare their name for the future growth of the company, as their business size has outgrown their name. Your business name should allow you to connect with your audience anywhere, not just in your city, county, state or even country.
- Don’t be too generic.
Do you remember seeing business names like “The General Store”? You don’t see too many of them around anymore, and there’s a reason for that. With an incredibly generic business name, your customers will have a hard time connecting and identifying with your business. For example, did you know Nike was originally called “Blue Ribbon Sports”? Accenture was “Andersen Consulting,” and Oracle was “Relational Software”. Try to stay away from using personal names as well. Unless you own an investment firm, a business name such as “Tim’s Electric” isn’t exactly captivating potential customers.
- Don’t get carried away.
While business names like Google, Apple or Yahoo turned out to be great, unique names like those are typically not ideal for most new business ventures. Focus on developing a business name that is relative to your industry to help customers make the connection with you, while also differentiating yourself from your competition.
Just like naming a business, if you are considering starting your own business or learning more about building a business via an entrepreneurship degree it is important to take your time and weigh your options. The name of your business is part of the foundation of preparing it for success. Remember these words of the late John Wooden as you begin planning to start your business: “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”