More difficult than choosing a name for your child is choosing a name for your business
For one thing, when choosing your child’s name, you don’t have to make sure no one else is already using or claiming the name you want. You don’t have to do a search to see if .com is available or if your child will have to settle for .info or .biz or the wildly expensive .co. Your child’s name only has to withstand the rigors of childhood, teenage years, and becoming an adult it doesn’t have to navigate turbulent business environments, changes to the marketplace, terrors the economy can bring, and finicky clientele.
There is not a magic formula for choosing the right name. Dick and Mac McDonald could just as easily have been Dick and Mac Smith or Dick and Mac Funkelstein. McDonald’s didn’t become an institution because it had the right name. Nonetheless, there are some things to think about when choosing a name for your business and since you did all that Thinking about Branding and you are now very confident about what you do, who your customers are, and why they choose you this is a very good time to think about your business name.
A few things to consider:
You want it to be easy to remember.
You want it to be easy to pronounce and spell and be text-correct proof.
You want it to be a name that can grow with your business.
You want it to be a name that reflects the personality of your brand.
You don’t want it to have to explain it.
If you are in your 20s you don’t want to be embarrassed by it when you are in your 30s.
If you are in the cannabis business, you might want to resist the temptation to incorporate pot or weed or marijuana or cannabis or 420.
An exercise to try:
Take a bunch of half-sheets of plain white paper and using a fat, dark marker brainstorm names for your business. Put them all up on a wall and live with them for a while. Re-arrange them, say them out loud, type them into your phone, Google them, ask a few people whose perspective and opinion you value to contribute and comment. Then narrow your proposed names down to three choices. Don’t fall head over heels in love with just one because you might not get to have that name.
Check each of your three names:
- Do an internet search to make sure nothing “icky” is associated with your potential name and to make sure it is not already in use or is similar to a trademarked name. For example, if you chose a name that is even remotely similar, meaning similar in the smallest measurement to McDonalds they will send their attorneys after you with a hatchet. To avoid this, visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website and search for your names using their database of registered trademarks.
- Do a domain name search to make sure you can get the domain name or phrase you want or something close to the name or phrase you want. Also check Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, whichever social media sites you plan to use.
- Do a business name search with the state where you will do business and where you will incorporate (if they are two different states). Your state should have a website where you can type in your proposed name to make sure it is available. If they don’t have a website with this functionality you should be able to call or mail something in. Having the same name as another business may not preclude you from using that name (if the other name is not Trademarked), just make sure you follow your state’s rules regarding same names.
These searches are just searches. Registering your business, obtaining licenses and trademarks are all separate processes. These searches are for the purpose of determining the best name to chose of your top three. Once you’ve completed these searches you should be able to choose a name.
Now…Do you love it? Yes! Great! Now, it’s time to start thinking about a logo.