Given that you are likely to be as emotionally invested in your business as the next entrepreneur, you may be inclined to give it a name after your own heart.
And nobody would blame you.
Your business is an extension of yourself and your ideas about how the world should run. And you may be thinking that at the very least, it should sound cool or make you feel warm inside when you tell your friends about it.
But naming your business after your heart in this manner could backfire since the results are always subjective (holding meaning only to you and a handful of others) and limiting to your business as it grows.
When choosing to name your business, choose a logical approach over the emotional route and you stand a better chance of creating a name that is memorable, serves your business purposes, commands respect, and sends the right message to all who come across it.
Here are a few ways you can go about doing that:
1. Avoid Names that Are Hard to Spell or Spelt Differently From How they Sound
You don’t want your customers having a hard time finding you online because they keep misspelling your name in search engines and address bars. Likewise, you don’t want a name that is spelled differently from how it sounds (case in point: Flickr). Pick a name whose spelling is easy to guess once heard and easy to spell the first time around. Think “Amazon”, “Facebook”, and so on.
2. Don’t Pick a Name that Imposes Limits on Your Business Growth
Imagine if Jeff Bezos had chosen to go with “OnlineBooks” instead of “Amazon”. Yes, it is a good idea to choose a name that fits into your industry; but at the same time, you don’t want a name that stifles the potential growth of your business. So steer clear of ultra-specific names that limit you to a particular product and location like “fishing hooks of Alaska”, for example.
When Eternity was originally founded in 2000, we registered under the trade name Eternity Web Development. However, that really kept us within a closed ecosystem of just web development. And while web design and development is surely our expertise, we also help many of our clients with logo design, digital marketing, content marketing and more. So over the years, we evolved our brand to finally land on just Eternity.
3. Snap Up the .com Domain Name First
People usually think of .com before any other extension when thinking of domain names. So you will do well to get it for your desired business name before someone else does. You can use any of the domain name vendors like GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com to check the availability of your .com domain name to buy it. In case somebody else has already bought the .com extension, you can track them down using tools provided by these domain vendors to enquire if they are willing to sell.
4. Choose a Name that Conveys Meaning
With the right name, people can instantly get an idea of what your business is about. From a branding point of view, this is even more important than choosing a name that is catchy and rolls nicely on the tongue. For example, meaningless names like Yahoo and Google may sound hip, but they cost more to establish as a brand in a particular industry.
5. Make Sure Your Name Is Not Boring, Use Feedback If You Have to
At the same time as choosing a name that is meaningful, you also don’t want a name that is boring or sounds awkward out loud. Use friends and family as a sounding board for your name if you have to, and make sure there are no negative connotations that you might have missed.
6. Carry Out a Trademark Search and a Secretary of State Search
You can search USPTO.gov to find out if you can get a trademark or service mark for your chosen name. Along the same vein, if you intend to register your business as a corporation or LLC, you can conduct a search of the secretary of state’s records to ensure your name does not sound too similar to another business name that is already registered. If your name is too similar to that of an already registered business, then the secretary of state may not allow you to register it. You can task your corporate lawyer to conduct this sort of search for you.
As you can see, choosing a name for your business can grow into a fun adventure. Have fun with it. But keep your eyes open, and avoid paying too much attention to those heartstrings.