Your business needs to have a name, and this can be the make or break factor for your business. It’s a small thing, but it’s worldwide; your name is how the rest of the world sees you – customers, competitors and investors.
The name you choose says so much about how business savvy you are, and how you understand the world you’re going to enter. So here we’ve laid out a few tips to help you stay on the right path and tell you what you should be working towards.
Legal vs trade name
When you name your business legally you’ll need to have a name that fits all the requirements for your chosen business structure. For instance, if you are choosing to have a sole proprietorship, you’ll need to have your full name included in part of your business name. This might mean your name can’t be as catchy as you want to – after all, you’re going to sound pretty basic if your name sounds like ‘John Smith Carpenters’. So depending on the flexibility you’re allowed for your business structure, you might choose to get a trade name too. This is a name that your company operates under in the public eye, and you have much more freedom to name yourself as you wish, with your only limitation being names that have already been taken or trademarked.
Test your name out on Google AdWords
AdWords has a great ‘find keywords’ tool, that lists similar search phrases to any words that you search up, as well as telling you how many global and local monthly searches each search phrase is getting. Some searches with the name you’re considering can ensure that there isn’t a slightly different name out there that’s getting more hits on the Internet. If so, you can consider using that one instead. This is a great way to build a popular presence online.
Use a business name generator
Nowadays there are so many sites that can help you create a name if you’re completely stuck, with a tool that can generate names for you. All sites vary, but the general gist is that you enter a keyword or a phrase that you want your name to be centred on, and hundreds of results appear as names for you. While looking through, even if none of the names stand out to you, you will most certainly get inspiration from all of the names listed, and be able to come up with one based on ones you’ve seen, or take snippets from a few of the names and use them to make your own.
TRUiC has a great brand name generator, that works even better than you just entering a main keyword. You can even refine your search by entering the state you’ll be working in and your specific industry.
Make some sense about what you do
Sometimes business owners choose names that make no sense at all – like Yahoo or Fogdog. These may seem cool-sounding and successful, because we have heard of completely random names like such. But, they are a big risk as you aren’t giving clients a single clue as to what your business is about. You want to try and adopt a name that provides some simple information about what your business is about, to remind your customers of what services you can provide – at least, hold off on the quirky names until you get famous.
It’s also a good idea to check international implications of your quirky name too. Too many times can a name sound great in your language but be considered rude and embarrassing in another, potentially closing off a huge market for you – all because people are put off by your name.
Check name availability
This seems obvious but is a commonly made mistake that can cost you a lot. You want your name to be available not only in your state but also as a domain name, so you can have an online presence. If you weren’t even considering a domain name before, you definitely should be now.