Five Characteristics of Great Business Names and Five Popular Trends to Avoid
Deciding on a name is one of the most exciting parts of
starting up a business.
The only problem with choosing the name of your business is
that so much rides on your business name. It's a little
like choosing a name for your baby. A little like? Make
that a lot like! It's no easier choosing a name for your
business than it is choosing a name for your baby.
What's in a business name? You want it to be everything.
Sadly, many business names are nothing. Deciding on a great
business name takes time. It takes thought. Moreover,
getting it wrong could spell disaster for your business.
Getting it right, however, will give customers a reason to
hire you, connect you to your niche market, and save you
thousands of marketing dollars.
You want your business name to have a big impact on people.
This, in turn, will have a big effect on your market. A
name that's too far out may make it difficult to brand. A
name that's too generic and common is easily ignored.
Naming your business "Sarah's Cookies" may make all the
sense in the world to you. In most cases, however, your own
name means very little to your customers because it says
nothing memorable or of distinction.
The key to picking a great name for your business is to
make it memorable. Make it distinctive. Don't make it silly
or cute. Your name should reflect your market niche and
identity and be able to reach your customer base easily. So
don't mess it up!
Top Five Characteristics of a Great Business Name
1. It's short.
2. It's specific and reflects a specialized business: Jiffy
Lube, Home Depot.
3. It's unique. Consider using words that are not in the
dictionary: Alkamae, Google, Squidoo.
4. It's creative. Don't copy, borrow, or modify existing
famous brand names. Got Milk? has its own branding. Leave
Victoria's Secret to Victoria.
5. It's an easy name to say, spell, and remember. Use
proper English construction so that when put in a sentence,
it will work: "I just purchased a book from Amazon."
Five Popular Business Naming Trends to Avoid
1. Don't abbreviate your business name. Though it may make
communication and correspondence easier, acronyms are
2. Avoid anything that ends in "global", enterprise", or
"Inc." They're passé.
3. Avoid using your own name. Build your brand on your
company, not on your name. That way, if you decide to sell
your company one day, it will be easier to sell.
4. Don't hyphenate your business name. It makes remembering
and writing it difficult. Plus, a hyphenated web name is
hard to read.
5. Avoid geographical names unless you're trying to create
a strong local affinity. The name "Willow Oak Center for
Arts and Learning at Robertson County" works because this
is a business targeted specifically for Robertson County in
Once you've found your name, consider trademarking it
through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and
registering it through the Secretary of State offices. If
your business operates on the Internet, be aware that
domain names are not registered through state or local
government, so just registering them at domain registration
sites is not enough to protect your great business name.
There is more to naming your business than just coming up
with something that sounds good, is clever, or you just
happen to like. Naming your business is a serious matter.
Your business name reflects your image, your brand, and
your position in the marketplace. Because your business
name is crucial to your overall branding success and
marketing efforts, make your business name count.
Make it great!
About the Author:
Susan L Reid, DMA, Small Business Start Up Coach &
Consultant is the author of Discovering Your Inner Samurai:
The Entrepreneurial Woman's Journey to Business Success.
Hailed as The Secret for business, Susan is known for
taking the fear out of small business start-ups for
entrepreneurial women. For
intuitive small business solutions, powerful attraction
marketing tools, inspiration and direction, visit