Shakespeare once stated, “A rose by any other name would not sell as well.” Finding the perfect name for your company—one that will appeal to clients and speak to the brand identity you want to establish—is one of the most important tasks in beginning a small business. Choose well, and you’ll gain clients and influence your industry like Dale Carnegie. Furthermore, you will avoid the costly process of rebranding in the future.
Why Your Business Name Is So Important
Your business name plays an important role in quickly conveying your offer to potential customers in just a few words. Whether you sell a product or a service, the business name you choose needs to quickly describe what you provide. And when done well, it can help you stand out from your competitors.
Types Of Business Names
There are various distinct naming schemes available. It could be worth experimenting with a couple of different approaches to see what you come up with.
- Descriptive names – These are simple names that convey to your audience who you are and what you do (for example, Bank of America).
- Acronyms or initials – Using your initials or another form of initial makes it simple to remember. However, securing a proper trademark for an acronym business name may be difficult.
- Suggestions for names – This is a novel method that may be easier to copyright than others. Salesforce, for example, implies that you’ll get assistance with your sales without being absolutely literal.
- Arbitrary names – While this technique is risky, you can pick a completely unrelated name for your business (think Apple or Google).
How To Name Your Business
There are no poor ideas when brainstorming. The greatest strategy to choose the proper business name is to consider as many options as you can. Make a list. Create word clouds. Ask your friends and family what words come to mind when you describe your business. Say yes to everything, then write it down to see what stays.
2. Confirm availability
Before proceeding, ensure that your top business name ideas are accessible for usage. There are several areas to look:
- Federal trademarks
- Secretary of State in the state you’re incorporated
- Domains to ensure you can get an affordable website address
3. Test with audiences
Next, run a few different scenarios by your target audience. You may conduct a poll on social media or in any business networking groups to which you belong. It’s useful to acquire some outside opinions to adjust for any inadvertent blindspots.
4. Check naming rules for your business structure
Your legal business name may be influenced by your business structure. A limited liability company, for example, must normally end with “LLC.” A C-corp must normally include the phrase “corporation.” A sole proprietor, on the other hand, can simply use their own name for their company.
Navigating Trademark Law When Naming Your Business
Trademarks, which are legal protections for business and product names, prevent other companies from using the same business name as you, presuming it isn’t already in use by someone else. Follow these two simple steps to make use of trademark law when naming your new small business.
1. Search for Existing Trademarks
Once you’ve decided on a name for your company, the first thing you should do is check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark search database. There are several ways to search the database. For our money, the new user function is the most basic and will fulfill the majority of small business requirements.
Simply search the name you’re considering for your brand to confirm it isn’t already in use by another company. If a search indicates that someone in your industry is already using the name, you should choose another option. Using the same or similar name as an existing brand may, at best, prohibit you from obtaining a trademark and protecting your firm. At worst, it may result in legal action being taken against you.
The loophole: even if a name or word mark is already trademarked in a different field, you may still be permitted to use it and get a trademark. Even if it is legal, it may not make good commercial sense. Consider the confusion this may give your potential customers, as well as the problems it may bring to marketing your company.
2. Avoid Generic Terms and Geographically Misleading Names
There are two types of names you should avoid. The US Patent and Trademark Office will not authorize trademarks for generic words, which means you can’t name your company after your product. So, as much as you may be amused by the meta-humor of naming your construction company “Construction,” your restaurant “Restaurant,” or your healthcare facility “Healthcare,” it is recommended to steer clear of these names.
The second type of un-trademarkable name is a “geographically misdescriptive” name. While this term can undoubtedly amaze people when thrown out at a cocktail party (believe us, we’ve done it), it can also be a bit of a mouthful, so let’s break it down. Geographically misleading names are those in which a locality has a special meaning for a product class, such as Champagne for sparkling wine or Italian for shoes. The use of these locales in product names is prohibited by the United States Trademark and Patent Office when the product does not originate in that region.
Searching For Other Uses Of Your Business Name
Trademark searches are a vital step in determining whether your proposed business name is already in use, but you shouldn’t stop at “legally in the clear” when naming your company—or, for that matter, ever.
Google Your Potential Business Name
Unless your company name is really difficult to find, search engine marketing is a valuable tool for most firms. Try searching your company name to see what comes up. If there are currently other businesses, a historical event, or something else with the same name, marketing your firm may be more difficult. This matter is significant since it will make it more difficult for your clients to find you, hurting your business.
Search Local Listings
Is there already a business with a similar name in your area? Check the yellow pages to ensure that your business name is as distinct as the services you intend to provide.
Check If the Domain is Available
While you may not have immediate plans to build a website, example, if you are beginning a food truck, you should be aware that you have the choice. Check domain registrars such as GoDaddy or Google Domains to see if the URL for your company’s name is still accessible. If so, that’s a fantastic indication! And make sure you get it right away. You’ll want it even if you don’t intend to use it right soon. And, once you’ve established a valued brand with that name, which we’re confident you will, the domain may become more expensive.
Research Social Media Handles
Whether you like it or not, social media is here to stay. Staying consistent with naming is the greatest method to spread the message across channels. Look up your company name on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any other social media channels you utilize. If the company name is still available, secure it. If not, choose a username that works across all channels so that your devoted followers can quickly locate you on all platforms.
Other Guidelines For Naming A Business
Use these principles to ensure the success of your business name procedure.
- Think forward – Don’t be too constrained, or you’ll have trouble turning or taking on new chances later on.
- Research – Check out what other brands are utilizing similar phrasing as your new company name. Investigate using a search engine and social networking networks.
- Keep it simple – Choose words that are easy to speak or spell as little as possible. Consider all of the ways your company’s name could be used, including speech, text, and abbreviations.
Naming your business is the first step to launching and growing a company of your own. When you’re ready to scale to the next level, XOA TAX can help you build your road map to #Success.