Small Business Advice: How To Come Up With A Great Business Name



You have a business idea. Now, you're scratching your head wondering what you should name your small business.

It's easy to come up with a business name. I know someone who can spit out business names like a machine gun. Great business names on the other hand? Much harder. There are a lot of factors to consider.

Here are some tips on how to come up with a company name for a small business.


1. Resist the urge to go for a trendy business name.

When the movie Kill Bill just came out, I had a friend who thought "Chill Bill" was a splendid idea for a martial arts-themed fruit shake stand. Admit it. You cringed. Might have been really cool back in the day, but trends don't stay very long. The lesson? Choose a business name that will last the test of time. Hitch your wagon to a star--not something trendy for 15 minutes.


2. Think long-term for your small business.

Don't limit your small business with its name. Think of the possible areas that you can expand to naturally as you grow bigger. Obviously, if you're offering health & wellness seminars, we won't expect you to start manufacturing toothpaste. But if your long-term goals include owning a spa, don't limit yourself by appending "Workshops" to your small business name.

If you intend on expanding to other states, don't append your location. For IT companies especially, don't be too specific with what you are offering. Technologies change and you have to make sure that your name can adapt with the times.


3. Keep the small business name simple and memorable.

Is it easy to spell? Is it something that your target audience will remember? More importantly, will they remember it for the right reasons? Young entrepreneurs sometimes go for shock value when choosing their business names. It's definitely memorable but does it reflect the image you want to project for your business? Will it turn potential clients away? Going back to the Chill Bill fruit shake stand, ever consider that it may be not so appealing to women? Cool name. But how cool is a business name that alienates potential customers?


4. Let your small business name reflect what you do.

Make sure that it is related to your business. If a potential customer skims through papers and sees your name, he should have some idea of what you do. Because of the barrage of advertisement competing for your attention, today's consumers have extremely short attention spans. So use that 10-second recall to your advantage by already explaining what you do in your name. And a piece of advice. Don't use your last name or name your fruit shake business, "Jill's Fruit Shakes." Simple and straight to the point, yes. But may pose problems when someone decides to buy you out.


5. Check availability of the shortlisted small business name.

Domain name. Trademark. Business registration. Check everything. And don't spend a cent on marketing unless everything is clear. You don't want to redo your calling cards, letterheads, and logos especially when you find out that someone's already taken it. Not just that all the money you put in building brand recall may very well get flushed down the toilet if you change your name. Do you really want to risk starting from square one all over again just because you flub your name?


Image Credit: Jacob Botter