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The Name Game: How to Name your Business

Business, BrandingBridgette BurtonComment

Naming your business can be nerve wracking. The right name can move mountains and open doors for you. The wrong name can doom your business. Choosing a name takes time, effort, and lots of brainstorming. Can you name ten businesses that have now become adjectives? How about Google? Xerox? 

There are several different ways to name your business:

1.  Abstract

You can choose a name that has no meaning. Think of Google or Bebo. Abstract names tend to be more imaginative and short. Haagen Dazs anyone?

2.  Mashing Two Words Together

You can choose two names and mix them together. Like Bennifer. Need I say more?

3.  Compound Words

You can choose a name by putting two words together into one. Some examples are Firefox or Microsoft. Choose two words that describe your business and combine.

4.  People or Place Names

Use a family name or your own. These types of names give familiarity to your business. Ray Smith named his business Smith's Automotive. Be careful when naming your business after a location. If you decide to expand your business beyond the place, it may no longer work as you intended. Sedona Tours may not work if you expand into San Jose. Another thing to think about:  If you decide to sell your business in the future, how would that work?

5.  Use Letters, Initials, or Acronyms 

ZZ Top, GMC, AOL are good examples of this. If you choose to go this route make sure that it makes sense. Ashby's Sales and Service may not want to be known as "ASS" on their uniforms.

6.  Reference Names

Reference your favorite novel a mythical story, or a superhero. Apollo's chicken references Apollo, the god of light and truth.

7.  Misspelled Words

You can omit letters, re-arrange them, or substitute them. Think of Flickr, Digg, Dunkin Donuts or Kraft.

8.  Real Words

You can just be simple and name your business after a real word like Adobe or Indeed.



When choosing a name make it memorable. It needs to carry a meaning that your customers can relate to. You will be stuck with it until you close up shop or sell it to make millions. I suggest the make-fun-of test. Try to make fun of the name.You don't want a mascot named Sparky for your electrical business. It may not make your customers feel safe. No one wants their electrician creating sparks!

Don't choose a name that is close to your competitors. You will confuse the market. Which means less sales for you in the long run.

Ask friends or family their opinion. If you want, of course. Sometimes you can have too many opinions. And we all know what opinions are like. Everyone has one.

After you brainstorm names. you have research to do! Conduct a business name search. If you plan on expanding nationwide conduct your research further than your hometown. Nothing could be worse than being forced to re-brand because there is already a business in that market with your same name.

Check for trademarks through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The effort you put into your name now could save your moola for trademark infringement.

Start reserving your social media accounts. If there is already a twitter account with your business name you will have to choose another or become creative by adding a dash or number. Will your customers still be able to find you? 

Buy your domain name as soon as possible. If you have to add "design" to the end of the business name, you will want to do this across the board. That means adding it to your business name and social media accounts.

How Do You Plan on Naming Your Business?