Anyone can choose a name. Anything will get you by.
But the way I see it . . . why not find the very best name you can that will give value and meaning to your business?
Sure it will take a little bit of effort and some time to come up with the perfect name, but I can tell you that finding it will pay you great dividends over time.
Especially on the Internet, your business name sets you apart, defines your niche, and is the address that customers will be hunting for if your marketing reaches them.
So what’s in a name?
What considerations are important as you mull over the choices that you have?
How do you find the best alternative available?
Regarding business names and the Internet . . . you need to carefully consider and decide what you will be called because the virtual landscape is already gobbled up and your options diminish each day.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. If possible, find a name that describes your business, your products, your services, etc.
I am against names like “The Jones Company,” “Triangle Services,” and “Big Blue.”
What do they tell you?
What do they describe?
What business are these companies in?
How does one relate to a business or remember a name that doesn’t say a thing about the niche or product line of the business?
2. Avoid regional phrases, dating your company, fads, and industry jargon.
All these things are fleeting – they’re here today and gone tomorrow.
You want your business name to endure and stay relevant over time.
Look at these names and avoid similar examples: Ames Creek Publishing, Mountain Climbers 2003, Tie Dye Tees, and Harry’s Hacks.
3. Do your homework and make certain the name is available.
You don’t want to register a name that duplicates one already registered.
I’m speaking of both domain name registration as well as federal trademark protection.
Owning a trademark and tradename will prevent other businesses from using your name and logo.
Why does that matter?
It’s a marketing protection that will allow you to build your brand and name without others’ stealing your recognition and applying it to their business.
4. Since you’re going to conduct business on the Internet, you may as well make the name as search engine friendly as possible.
Granted, search engine rules and strategies constantly change and are a mystery sometimes to even those in the SEO business (SEO = search engine optimization).
But you can still make an attempt to include your best keyword(s) into your business name.
5. Can you find a name that is short, provokes interest or excitement, and still describes your business in an important way?
Yes, I know that’s a tall order.
It may take a lot of brainstorming and the help and ideas of colleagues, friends, and family.
But you might just find that perfect name that no one else has thought about or registered yet.
Short is preferable to long.
Short is memorable, easier to promote, and less trouble to type into a browser window.
Also, there is less chance to mess up or misspell a short name than a long one.
But the very shortest, best names will almost certainly be taken.
Get out your thesaurus (book of synonyms) and find equivalent words for those that are already taken.
6. Avoid “cute” names, worn out expressions, or those that try too hard to incorporate clever phrases or titles.
“Susie’s Yummy for the Tummy Recipes” makes me want to vomit – maybe you’re not quite so unforgiving.
“DVDs R Us” type names are worn out, in my opinion.
“Jean’s Zippers on the Fly” may at first seem clever, but I think there are better names for your custom sewing business.
Using “play on words” names is dangerous because many people won’t see through the cleverness and those outside the niche may not “get it” as you intend.
7. I would suggest getting some feedback on your chosen name before you register it.
Maybe you have picked a name that has dual meaning to some people, or that is negative sounding, or it’s too close to something else that you hadn’t thought about.
The more eyes that see your chosen name, the better chance you’ll have of catching any problem names that may have escaped you.
8. Don’t be fooled into accepting just any old name with the thought that you will change it later after you’ve had some time in the business.
Online, at least, branding your company is critically important.
Changing company names midstream could just confuse your suppliers and customers, cost you a great deal of money and time in developing new registrations, logos, etc, and eventually sink your business!
You don’t want to abandon all the time and effort you’ve already invested in your original name.
Many of your off-site links will no longer work if you change your company name mid-stream.
9. Your business name alone could be worth millions!
I would choose a name that could be sold, taken over by, or assumed by anyone.
If you are successful and your business is able to dominate your niche, you will become a prime candidate for someone else’s ownership.
So rather than calling your business “Flora’s Fine Figurines” I would seriously consider a name that could be purchased by another owner and kept going without change, maybe like “Classic Collectibles.”
In other words, choose a name with an exit strategy in mind.
10. Keep it simple.
In my opinion, the very best names are memorable because they don’t take a lot of thinking to “figure out.”
Master Cuts, Hollywood Video, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Ace Hardware, Thrifty Rental Cars . . . these businesses are immediately recognizable, partly because their names tell you instantly what the business is about.
Try to follow their example.
Hopefully these tips will get you started on the discovery of the perfect business name.
Both sites feature domain name generators. You pick a keyword to begin with, then set a few parameters, and the software will provide quite a few domain names (which include your keyword) which are not yet registered. So it’s easy to find two word dot com domains that you could register today for your business.
To your online business success,