A business name isn’t carved in stone, you can change it whenever you like. However, choosing the wrong business name can cost you time and money. Your company name will appear on everything from a domain name to a business card. Because the business name is central to a company’s marketing and reputation building efforts, you should put some effort into starting with the right one.
The easiest way to come up with a name is to use a free business name generator to find several choices and then narrow down the contenders. When considering your options, keep the following criteria in mind.
Five Common Mistakes When Selecting a Business Name
Here are five common mistakes that many business owners make when choosing their business name.
Not considering acronyms
It is important to consider what the acronym, or the shortened version, of your company name, will be. For instance “Fabulous Athletic Teamwear” seems like a pretty good name for an athletic clothing company until the realization that the first initials spell out “FAT”. A moment of thought about acronyms can save you from frustration in the future.
On the flip side, an acronym can be a clever way to name a business. For example, did you know the name SPAM is taken from the phrase Shoulder of Pork and Ham? Many famous companies use acronyms as names, and it continues to a useful method for determining a good business name.
Especially in situations where you are not clear on what your business is going to sell or what services it is going to provide, make sure to keep your business name general. For example, if you name your company “Glam Candles” and then later decide to sell pet food; you will have to change the name or start over. Having to start fresh will not only waste time and money but will squander any progress you have made in developing name recognition for your brand.
Just as a name can be too specialized, it can also be too broad. When choosing a name, your audience is the most important factor. You want your clients and customers to be able to recognize and remember your business. It is also helpful if consumers who are new to your brand can immediately get an impression of what your company’s purpose is.
If you choose a similar company name to that of an already existing competitor, you may end up regretting it. Some people do this purposefully to try to capitalize on another venture’s success or reputation. However, this will cause customers of both companies to become confused, and, more seriously, could even result in legal action from the competing company.
Hometown pride is great. However, if you want your company to have a large geographical reach, do not put a location name in it. For example, the name “Indiana Trucking Company”, might lead customers to think it only operated in one state. You want to be careful not to miss opportunities because, based on your name, potential customers have assumed that your service area is limited.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. The business New York Fries being one of them. If your location is famous for your product, it may make sense to use the location in a business name after all.
If you don’t get your business name right the first time, you will be in good company. Many well-known businesses have changed their names and continued to grow and prosper.
The key takeaway here is to think carefully from different angles about how your brand will be perceived by your target audience before deciding to move forward.