How to Choose a Business Name

Lucy Lazarony
November 24, 2020

Got a great business idea and the passion to follow through? You’ll need an excellent business name to go with your excellent business idea. You’ll want something easy to remember and easy to understand. One word names work well. Think Amazon and Google. Or you may want to describe what your business does. Netflix tells the world the company is about bringing movies to the Internet. What is your business about? What are you most trying to convey to customers? It can all be in a business name.

Make your business name easy to spell. Avoid confusing spellings such as when a “ph” is swapped out for an “f.” The iPhone kept the “ph” and so can you. But they did bring down the letter “i” at the start of the word so don’t give up all your creativity because some out-of-the-box ideas take off. And you may want to go by a clever acronym. We don’t think of Home Box Office, we think of HBO. Your three-word name could describe what you do and the catchy acronym could be what you go by.

Are you getting a clearer idea for the name you are seeking for your business? You might want to use your personal or family name. For example, Barker’s Baking House describes what the business does and the business can also go by BBH if they wish. And it is not too narrow. Barker’s Bagels sounds great. But it limits the company to bagels. If that is the company’s sole purpose of business then the name may work just fine. But it may be difficult to expand to other types of food items in the future if you go only by Barker’s Bagels. So consider where you want your business to be in the future when choosing your business name.

Ready for more? Here are some more tips for choosing a business name.

Use the Local Area in Your Business Name

Where do you live? You may want to incorporate the local area into your business name. A realtor in Denver may wish to launch Rocky Mountain Realty. A pizza owner in Brooklyn may wish to open Brooklyn Bridge Pizza.

Use a Nickname

Do you or someone you love have an endearing nickname? It could be the perfect name for your business. A nickname makes the business name personal for you and your family.

Be Descriptive

Try to be as descriptive as possible with your business name. Think of 7-Eleven. They stay open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. What can you convey about your business in your business name?

Think Outside the Box

Take a close look at your business and business products. What do they remind you of? Be creative. You may just discover the perfect business name. So don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Choose a Favorite Word or Phrase

Is there a word or phrase that you love? Why not use it for your business? You could break it down to a smaller word if you wish, distilling the meaning even further.

Tell a Business Story

Do you have a particular business story that you are proud of? Incorporate that story into the business name. It will make your business name meaningful from the start.

Emphasize What Sets Your Business Apart

Why do you want to open a business? What sets you apart from your competitors? Think long and hard about this one. And incorporate those words into your business name.

Zero in on Customer Benefits

How do customers benefit from using your company’s goods and services? Describe this in detail. Now use some of those words in your business name.

Think About Customer Feelings

How do you want customers to feel when they come to your business? How do you evoke those feelings into a business name? Do some soul-searching with this one.

Be Open to Foreign Words

Think of positive, powerful words for the business and then see how they sound in Latin or Greek. You may just find your business name. Not keen on Latin or Greek? Choose another foreign language that you love and find a word that works for your business. There are lots of French words, like “oui”, that are familiar to most Americans.

Share With Family and Friends

Test out your business name with family and friends for feedback and support. They know you and they may be able to offer valuable advice. But don’t forget you get the final say on your business name.

Choose the Name that Fits for You

After all the tips and advice is done, you’ve got to choose the business name that is right for your business. So take some time, mull over the possibilities and choose the name that most says what your business is all about.

Register and Protect Your Business Name

Once you choose a business name, you’ll want to register and protect it. Registering an entity name can protect your business at the state level. And depending on your business structure and location, your state may require you to register a legal entity name. This legal entity is how the state identifies your business.

A trademark can protect the name of a business and of products and services at the national level. Trademarks prevent other companies in the same industry from using trademarked names. So it is a good idea to trademark company and product names.

If you want to build an online presence for your business, register a domain name, which is also known as your website address. Once you register your domain name, it cannot be used by anyone else as long as you continue to own it.

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