10 Jun Tips to Name Your Business – 6 Must-Do Steps
Launching a new business is exciting! And one of the first tasks that owners like to check off their to-do lists is a name. There is a lot that goes into naming a business, well beyond what looks or sounds catchy. What you name your business can make all the difference. Powerful and propelling you to success or lacking and lost between the competition. To help you launch a business that leaves a lasting impression, here are 6 must-do steps when naming your business.
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1. Consider your Long-Term Goals
Catchy & clever aside, you need to consider the long-term goals of your business when choosing a name. It is common for service-based businesses to name the company after the owner. While this can make a business more memorable, naming a company after yourself will make it harder to sell. Scaling your business can be harder with a personal moniker. Clients will expect to work with the person whose name is reflected in the company. In contrast, if you select a name that is too vague, clients may not understand how you can serve them. And business names that are especially market-specific – can be confusing should your offerings or niche change. This can happen with a location-specific name that later decides to expand.
While you can always rename your company should your goals change (Path & Compass was previously another name), it is costly to rebrand. Thinking through your long-term goals and how they influence the business name you choose is a better first step in choosing the right business name.
2. Research Your Market
Once you have a clear idea of your goals, one of the first steps to take when creating a name is performing market research. This will help you understand what consumers are used to interacting with when seeking the services you’ll offer. You will identify potential problems with a name (another company is already using something similar) and determine the likelihood that it will be accepted by consumers before it is introduced. Regardless of how passionate you may be about a specific name, it doesn’t matter unless consumers like it, resonate with it, and will buy into it.
3. Check the Trademark Office
Business names, product names, logos/marks, and event labels can all be trademarks. But what is it for? It protects your sales by preventing consumer confusion – only you can operate under your name and mark. For larger companies with well-known and valuable brands, trademarks also give the owner legal avenues to protect their brand assets. When researching your preferred business name, you should avoid those that already have an existing trademark – unless it belongs to a business in a totally unrelated field. Trademarks are managed by the U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office and vary by state. It is less necessary for small businesses with modest goals to get a trademark (in our humble opinion) – your market reach and company value doesn’t always warrant it. If your long-term goals are more aspirational, a trademark is a good investment For more information visit the USPTO website or get in touch with a local trademark attorney.
4. Check Google Results
When we say check Google results, we want you to determine the amount and what kind of competition a specific name has in search. When you name your business you will inevitably be competing with the SEO that already exists. Some names and keywords may already be dominated by well-established businesses or other search terms. Bands or musicians, for example, often come up in search results. A better name is unique and therefore has less competition, meaning your business and content will be much easier to find.
5. Confirm Domain Availability
Your domain name is the online home of your business. Crucial real estate you should own in today’s digital world. Ideally, the domain you choose should mirror your business name, be short and easy to remember. You want to avoid anything that is too different from your business’ name, difficult to spell, or uses an unusual extension. A .com is still the gold standard. Use a name search tool like GoDaddy to search available domains. Even if a domain name isn’t being used, it’s a no-go if it’s been claimed – unless it’s available for purchase. ICANN is another resource for determining domain ownership if you want to buy the domain.
6. Confirm Social Media Handles
In addition to your website, you are likely to have social media feeds promoting your business. Ideally, your social media handles are the same as your business domain. This makes it easier for clients to find you. A name that is available across a variety of platforms will create a more cohesive online presence. For this reason, aim to secure your social media handles at the same time that you purchase your domain. Specifically Instagram as your handle will be how users find you on that platform.
Need help getting started? Shortcut your path to launching a business with our digital New Business Launch Kit. Ideal for newbie owners looking to build an intentional business, it contains basic guidance on the key first steps. Grab yours today or, for more tailored guidance, schedule a FREE 30 min business evaluation & discovery call.