3 Rules for Naming Your Business
One of the most frequently asked business questions I receive revolves around how or what to name your business. I can understand why, names are important. Your business name could make or break your business. A good name can evoke solid brand recognition and a bad one can cause confusion or even legal trouble. I’m sure there is plenty of advice I could give you on naming your business that would most likely cause you indecision and make the process more difficult for you, so today I want to keep things simple and share three major rules to follow when naming your business.
Rule #1: Choose a name that is available
This first rule sounds like common knowledge, but let me tell you, I see examples of people using unavailable names for businesses all the time. So, I’ll keep this black and white for you- if you want to use a name for your business you MUST do your due diligence to ensure it is not the same or similar to another existing business that operates within your industry. Google the heck out of the name you want to use and check for social media handles as well. Using the same name as another business is problematic because it puts you in a situation where you could be in legal trouble, and using a name that is similar to another business is an issue for your branding because it causes confusion. I have seen examples of businesses that have used names that are similar or variants of another more popular existing business, and although I don’t know for sure that all the business owners where trying to piggy back on the success of the original, that is definitely something people do and it always, ALWAYS ends up hurting the variant business while boosting your competition. Choose an original name and if you are in any doubt over whether your name is too similar to another business, go back to the drawing board. No name, no matter how seemingly perfect, is worth the headache and hassle that results if it’s not wholly original.
Rule #2: Choose a name that is relevant
Again, I think this seems like a common knowledge rule but I suppose the concept of relevancy is subjective. When choosing your business name you want to make sure the name you select is relevant to the products or services your business sells. Names that are “inside jokes,” convoluted or infer a meaning that is not in line with your products WILL confuse people. How do you know if a name is relevant to your business? Ask people. Literally tell people the name of your business and ask them to guess what the business does or sells. Don’t tell them ahead of time what your business does, make sure they are going in blind when they give your opinion or else you could get mixed messages. Now, there are some examples of business naming techniques that are not necessarily relevant but still work. For example if you come up with a business name that is an original word or term (think Uber) or if you use your name for your business (and the business revolves around you or your services) those situations are common and acceptable.
Rule #3: Choose a name that is flexible
Once you have a name that is available and also relevant, you then need to double check that the name is flexible enough to apply even if your business expanded. Sometimes business’ start off small with just a small niche of products and then over time grow into new niches and new markets. No matter whether or not you ever intend for your business to expand in the future, do a flexibility check on the name. Think about some different business directions you could move into with the name of your business remaining relevant. If you do have plans for your business in the future, it’s definitely important that you think about how your name would be affected by that growth and plan for that ahead of time.
Now that you know these key rules, there is one more piece of advice I have for you when it comes to naming your business- don’t overthink it! I know this post may have a serious tone that could cause some of you to hesitate on naming their business and therefore hesitate on moving forward with your business but the truth is that there really is no perfect business name and if you do make a mistake naming your business it’s not the end of the world, or your business, in most cases. You can change your business name in the future if success causes a necessity- I’d say that’s a good problem to have. And if you use a name that doesn’t work and your business doesn’t take off, you can change it and try again with no one much the wiser. For most of you out there, you won’t even fall under either of those two situations and you will be able to make due with whatever business name you started with. Yes, your business name is important, but there are so many more important things that will reflect on your business like quality of products, customer service and overall branding. So don’t sweat it if you can’t come up with a genius business name, because most of the business world makes it work without a knockout name!
I hope these rules have given you some valuable advice as you move forward with naming your business. Of course, once you get your name worked out the real work begins if you intend to create a successful brand and business. So if you need more strategies and advice for creating a business, particularly an online business, I welcome you to sign up for my FREE On-Demand Video Training ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS THE NEW BLACK. This training is jam packed with key information and strategies for you to use as you build your business online!