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Key Considerations in Selecting a Business Name

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Key Considerations in Selecting a Business Name

You’ve got a brilliant business idea, a solid execution plan, and an unbeatable drive. But wait! There’s one thing missing in your entrepreneurial puzzle — a perfect business name!

A business name is just like the title of your favorite song, film, or book: It has to resonate, strike a cord, and stick around.

We’ve teamed up with seasoned entrepreneurs who all have something useful to say about picking the best name for your business. Without further ado, here is the wisdom!

1. Craft a Name that Tells Your Business’s Story

Take “Survicate,” for instance. This name cleverly combines “survey” with “navigate,” instantly conveying the company’s focus on guiding through customer feedback. It’s a shining example of how a name can encapsulate your business’s essence while maintaining uniqueness.

My advice? Aim for a name that’s a window into your business soul. It should be a beacon, guiding potential customers to your doorstep, not just a label. Remember, in a sea of competition, a name that tells your story can be your lighthouse.

Kamil Rejent, CEO of Survicate

2. Create a Lasting Impression

I approach naming from a different angle. To me, it’s less about literal representation and more about creating a memorable impact. Think “Apple” or “Google.” These names initially didn’t suggest anything about their products, yet they’re iconic.

I advocate for names that are short, snappy, and evoke curiosity. They should be a blank canvas, allowing your brand to paint its story over time. My advice is not to box yourself with a descriptive name. Instead, choose a name that leaves room for growth and evolution. After all, a name should be a launchpad– not a leash.

Aaron Kennedy, owner of aaronkennedymarketing.com & director of marketing at Braiones LTD

3. Keep It Simple & Memorable

Choosing our company name was like solving an enjoyable puzzle. We wanted something catchy and memorable that conveyed our expertise in finance and media without being too lengthy. That’s how we landed on “The Money Mongers” — it’s succinct, distinctive, and evokes the right image.

For those trying to name a business, here’s my advice: Ensure the name reflects your core mission and values. If you focus on eco-friendly goods, for example, let that green ethos come through in the name. Keep it simple to pronounce and recollect, and do a quick online search to confirm your brilliant idea isn’t already taken —  it prevents headaches down the road.

The naming process requires creativity and strategic thinking. The end result should feel authentic to your brand and easy for clients to embrace. With the right name, you’re off to a great start.

Nathan Jacobs, senior researcher at The Money Mongers

4. Find Inspiration in Industry Jargon

I’d say naming a business is a strategic art, especially these days when it’s crucial to stand out and be remembered.

When I named my company, I sought a name that resonated with both innovation and trust.

It needed to be distinct yet relatable to stand out in the competitive event planning sector.

I leaned towards a name that hinted at technology and modernity, reflecting our focus on giving a breath of fresh air (or breeze) into how complicated organizing could sometimes feel.

I found inspiration in industry jargon, blending terms to create something unique yet familiar. The process was meticulous, involving checking for domain availability and ensuring the name was culturally sensitive across markets.

For me, the perfect name is a balance of creativity, market appeal, and legal prudence. But also… 😉 My best piece of advice would be not to overcomplicate the name. Keep it simple!

Artūras Asakavičius, co-founder and CEO of Breezit

5. Consider Alternate Spelling

When we named our business Automat, we chose to use an alternate spelling strategy. Automate with AUTOMAT! 

Actually, using alternate spellings is a great trick for making brand names stand out. Just think about names like “Tumblr” or “Reddit.” My advice — if you’re going to get creative with the spelling of a common word or phrase, make sure it’s still easy for people to say the first time they see it. If it’s not, you might be making it harder for people to talk about your brand, whether they’re recommending you to a friend, mentioning you in a presentation, or just trying to remember your name.

Honestly, the way we picked our business name worked out great because it’s short, simple, and memorable. I think if your customers struggle to recall your business name, can’t spell it, or find it hard to say it correctly to others, it becomes a lot harder for them to spread the word about your business.

Lucas Ochoa, founder & CEO of Automat

6. Abide by Your State’s Name Regulations 

Be sure to adhere to the name regulations of the state in which you live. In my opinion, if you want to establish a business entity in your state (such as a corporation or limited liability company), the rules of your state will prevent you from using a name that is currently being used by another business organization in your state.

In some states, you also can’t use a name that is deceptively similar to another business entity’s name. On the website of the state department that is responsible for handling company filings, you will be able to locate the naming criteria for your state.

You can look for registered company names online in the majority of states to determine whether or not the name you desire is accessible. There are virtually all states that let you reserve a name, and if you are not yet ready to organize your company, you could be able to register your business name as a trade name or a company name.

Kartik Ahuja, marketing manager at The Happy Trunk

7. Choose a Non-restrictive Name

In no way should you restrict yourself. There are occasions when a company decides to give itself a name that corresponds to the location in which it is situated (such as “Cleveland Garden Care”). Nevertheless, what takes place when the company chooses to expand to Akron? I believe that the term cheated city, which was formerly considered so ideal, no longer seems appropriate and may even cause customers to leave.

The same is true for labels that are used for the services you provide. If you are very particular, you can discover that you are stuck with an unsuitable name as soon as you extend the range of services you want. You need to make sure that your company’s name allows for extension and transformation.

Marom Anaky, marketing manager at Coinscipher

8. Align Your Business Name with Brand Identity

Choose a name that is in line with the identity of your brand. What makes your company stand out among companies that are similar to it? Is the location handy for anyone? Do you have a selection? Superb service to the customer? Expertise and knowledge are you? Do you have a perfect client or consumer in mind? Before deciding on a name for your company, you should first determine what you want to be acknowledged for.

Then, I think it is important to select a name that reflects that trait. Even though “Speedy Car Wash” and “Velvet Touching Car Wash” are both names that refer to the same kind of business, they pass on distinct impressions and appeal among various types of people.

John Smith, founder of pcbitalian

9. Balance Uniqueness and Trademark Viability

Be noticeable without being overly distinctive. In an ideal scenario, I believe that you will be able to get trademark protection for the name of the business you own. Still, this can pose a challenge for smaller enterprises. It is possible that generic or geographical company names, such as “Best Plumbers” or “Chicago Pizza,” are excellent for attracting clients. Nevertheless, trademark protection cannot be obtained for these names.

Alternatively, the names used to develop the most powerful trademarks are made up of names such as “Xerox,” which might cause potential clients of a small firm to be baffled and bewildered. Make an effort to find a happy medium by selecting a name for your company that is original and imaginative and conveys a characteristic of the business itself.

Joe Cronin, president of International Insurance

10. Get a Matching Domain & Set up Social Media Handles

A website and a Facebook page to feed your company are certainly going to be open for you. There is a possibility that your company is also active on other digital networks. My opinion is that you have to conduct some research and find out if it is possible to get a web address that matches the name of the business you own, in addition to setting social media profiles in your own name.

Simple and easy to remember are the ideal qualities for websites. The fact that you have a name that is long or has an uncommon spelling may seem appealing to you, but it may make it challenging for your potential customers to locate you on the internet or to enter your name correctly in an email message.

Hayley Goldman, athletic trainer at SportsDegreeOnline

11. Be Different From the Competition

My recommendation is that you should avoid selecting a name that is too close to the name of a rival. In addition, when you are searching for a name that is unique, you should keep an eye out for rivals that are using names that are similar to the one you desire. It is crucial to steer clear of business names that might lead to confusion between your company and another sort of business operating in the same geographic region.

For instance, if there is already a Blue Horizon Hair Care in your neighborhood, you shouldn’t advertise your business as the Blue Horizon Nail Spa. In the worst-case scenario, the other company can accuse you of infringing upon their trademark, and you might find yourself in the thick of a legal battle.

On the other hand, even if that does not occur, you still want your company to have its own brand and sense of self since it is almost never desirable to be confused as a rival.

Bob Smith, founder of Starlinkzone

12. Difficult vs. Unique Spelling

A brand should be easy to remember and spell. In my view, the name of your company should be something that your potential consumers can readily recollect in order for them to be able to locate it efficiently when they are searching for it online. For example, selecting a name for your company like “Crychalwellyn” is not a good choice.

According to the findings of academics T. Clifton Green and Russell Jame, decision-making and fluency are both affected by the ease with which a word is spoken. Spellings that are difficult are not excellent, but unique spellings are.

Ethan Keller, president of Dominion (Company LinkedIn)

13. Keep it Brief and Distinctive

I would suggest that you forget about names that are descriptive. When it comes to social media and search engine optimization, names that are short and unique are simpler to recall. The number of characters that may be used on Twitter is limited, and the majority of names that are descriptive will already be taken as handles; nevertheless, a fresh and distinctive name will be available.

In addition, descriptive names will bury you in Google searches since they will already be using the same keywords as your rivals. Be a bit strange, or at the very least, a little quirky.

Usama Khan, manager at Justreply

14. Keep a Positive Connotation

The majority of words, in my opinion, have meanings that are both literal and emotive, and I would suggest that this is the case. The connotation of a word can be positive, neutral, or negative, based on the emotional connections that people often form with the subject matter of the term.

The phrase “Rocky Mountain Cafe” may have a favorable connotation for people in the United States since it conjures up images of tranquil mountain vistas, pure water, and an atmosphere that is conducive to good health.

Although “Eat Here” is a plain call to action, it does not have much of a connotative significance beyond the fact that it is so straightforward.

Due to the fact that the term sludge is used and implies that it is filthy, the brand name “Sludge Town Deli” conjures up a radically distinct connotative brand.

Jack William, founder of GreatLakesTinyHome

15. Shorter Domain Name Increases Traffic

It is my opinion that a name that is not only short but also simple is beneficial for promotional purposes. This is because you want your clients to be able to remember the name of your company, correctly spell it, and tell others about it.

Additionally, you should go for a brand name that may also function effectively as a web domain. In the study report that Karan Girotra and Karl Ulrich wrote, they found that shorter domain names result in higher traffic and that the incorporation of a number into a domain name is connected with an increase in the website rank of 8.19%.

Anila Lahiri, chief marketing officer at EINSearch

16. Take a Strategic Approach

I would like to suggest that whenever you are in the process of naming your brand, you should always begin with a naming brief, even if it is a casual one. This brief should clarify the strategy that lies behind the specific company, product, or service that is being called.

It is important to make sure that your brief includes a description of what is being named, concepts that you hope to express through the name, a description of your target audience, and the names of your rivals. As you evaluate the numerous possibilities available to you, this will serve as a helpful guide.

By incorporating strategy into the naming process, you can guarantee that your name will convey the appropriate signals to the appropriate individuals, match your brand and company plan, and take into consideration the cultural and competitive context.

Vicky Cano, chef & recipe developer at Mealfan

17. Consider Target Audience and Brand Identity

In naming PRM, we aimed for simplicity and a direct connection to our industry. PRM stands for “Premium,” reflecting our focus on high-quality, exclusive fashion.

When choosing a name, it’s crucial to consider your target audience and brand identity. If your company offers premium fashion products, going with GoDaddy is not a great idea.

Your business name should resonate with your audience and hint at the experience they can expect.

My tip is to avoid following trends blindly. What works today might feel outdated tomorrow. Instead, opt for a timeless name that grows with your brand.

Also, a name that’s easily adaptable across different cultures can be a significant asset.

Kamil Bajołek, brand director at PRM

18. Ensure Global Appeal

A crucial consideration in naming our business was ensuring simplicity and global appeal. The name needed to transcend language barriers and cultural differences, resonating with a diverse clientele worldwide.

A clear and straightforward name facilitates brand recognition and ease of communication, fostering trust among our international customers. This strategic approach ensures that our business name is accessible and memorable, contributing to the establishment of a strong and reputable presence in the dynamic and expansive shipping industry.

Wayne Mills, Head of Operations for the UK & Ireland at Seven Seas Worldwide

19. Consult With a Brand Agency

Many SMBs choose a name before writing their business plan. I think you should do the opposite. During business planning, an entrepreneur’s initial vision may change based on market research, changes in their intended industry, or new ideas as they dive into planning. Additionally, partners may join and add their opinions.

I strongly urge SMBs to consult with a brand agency if the budget for this step exists. Agencies will coach on branding, name selection, and logo development. These are increasingly important as Google alters its algorithm to prefer big or recognizable brands. Finally, I always suggest owners choose a name they and their audience will associate with their products or services easily.

Deven D. Bhagwandin, managing editor, SEO content strategist, writer

20. Incorporate Marketing Insights & “Say It Out Loud” Test

Since all the common and not-so-common marketing terms were already being used, I listed out mistakes people make when it comes to marketing. And what I felt was a solution. I then searched for words that captured each of those ideas. Combining the two led me to name my company “FiddleSmart” or mess with marketing strategically (which makes you smart).

Finally, when you have a short list, say it out loud as if answering the phone and see if you’d like saying it over and over again.

Mike Schuster, founder & chief strategist of FiddleSmart Marketing (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram)

21. Add Your Name

When it comes to coming up with your business name, you can consider mixing words related to your business to make it unique or consider adding your name. You can check other companies’ names to get inspiration or ideas.

Also, you can add a keyword to the name related to your business to make it SEO-friendly and it will be easy for your potential customer to find you online (ex. Name + Ice Cream Shop, Name + Cleaning Services, Name + Home Decor).

Chi Ip, owner of Tidy Here Cleaning Service Boston

22. Choose an Identifiable Name

Much of creating a business name is about conveying to the public what your entity is about, that is why we made sure ours had readily identifiable meaning. Just because a name means something to you does not necessarily mean that it holds the same definition for others, so a nickname you like or some other term you may be familiar with could go over the heads of your intended audience, and this will lead to confusion on what your business is all about.

Therefore, we looked for readily identifiable terms, making sure that the first thing that came to mind was what we hoped for, and asked others if they had the same reaction and could easily match our name to our service. By making certain that our name was readily identifiable with what we do, we believed we had settled on a successful label that went perfectly with our brand.

Daniel Kroytor, founder of Tailored Pay

23. Be Keyword Search-Friendly

Choose a name that is keyword search-friendly! Research now shows that 87% of shoppers start their search for products online, 77% of diners visit a restaurant website before eating there, and 97% of Internet users search online to find a local business. And they’re not searching for cute, known, or family business names. They’re searching for the end result they want and the solution to the problem they need to solve.

So, to choose a name that will get your new business in front of people who are searching for what you have to offer, use Google Keyword Planner to find a combination of keywords that people are searching for in your niche. Then, name your business using those keywords in order to place your business smack dab in the middle of their search path.

One of my (many) businesses that demonstrates this advice is WebBizBooster, which was created after consulting Google Keyword Planner and discovering that “boost web business” was a popular search phrase.

Barbara Farfan, small business and AI automation consultant, International Petsitter Enterprises

24. Craft Brand Identity Through Phonetic Pairings

Use phonosemantics, the theory that suggests certain sounds evoke particular meanings when coming up with a name for your company. Choose phonologically appealing pairings that are consistent with the offerings or ideals of your brand. For example, use futuristic noises to represent your company’s innovation and state-of-the-art solutions.

This strategy makes use of phonetics’ psychological effects to establish an audio bond consistent with the identity of your brand. Your company name can be a subtle yet effective strategy for communicating desirable features and creating emotions by intentionally choosing phonetic elements. With this subtle approach to phonosemantic branding, you may help your audience remember and associate your company name with something more than just words.

Brad Russell, SEO expert & founder of Digital Hitmen (Facebook, Instagram)

25. Use a Name Generator

I came up with the name “YOGI TIMES” for my website by using a name generator. The name generator suggests a list of potential names based on a few keywords. These generators also check for domain availability so that you don’t end up choosing a name that isn’t available for you to register.

To generate a name, you can specify certain keywords such as your industry, products, and services, and some additional filters like the tone and length of the name.

Jean Christophe Gabler, founder of Yogi Times

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Key Considerations in Selecting a Business Name