This is a guest post from James of BizzMark Blog who blogs about the latest trends in business management, economy, small business strategies, finances and employment.
If one was to analyze the names of the world’s oldest and/or most successful companies, they would probably not find out too much. Some companies still hold the names of their founders (Ford, Mitsubishi), others feature generic-sounding names (General Electric) while others ‘made a name for themselves’ with some truly attention-catching and inventive names (Google).
It may therefore seem that there are no rules to naming one’s company and that you never know what will work. However, there are some smart practices that will maximize your chances of giving your new company a great name and they will be the subject of this article.
Be Creative but Smart
At first glance, most people think that a superbly inventive name is the way to go and that it should always be something that stands out. After all, you want your company name to catch people’s attention and cause them to research your company more. And while this approach definitely has its merits, it should be pointed out that creativity has its limits and that it can become counterproductive if you don’t mind those limits.
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For instance, there are certain industries in which a name that is too inventive can be a detriment. If you are starting an accounting agency, for example, people expect a name that is solid and trustworthy and they might feel that a jokey name denotes a less-than-responsible approach to serious work.
Using puns and similar concepts to name a business is also inventive but mostly counterproductive. Puns are generally difficult to gauge correctly (dancing between funny and lame) and this is the overly complex kind of nuancing that you will want to avoid when naming your business. There is also a chance that you might offend someone with risky puns and alienate that customer segment.
In short, there is nothing wrong with being creative when thinking up your company name, just don’t overdo it.
Look to the Future
To someone who is starting a business, the concept of future is relatively limited. They understand how difficult it is to get a company on its feet and ensure its survival for more than a few months. While most business owners believe their company will eventually succeed and continue to exist for years to come, they tend to concentrate on the very near future.
The reason we are mentioning this is that this can result in some very short-sighted names. For example, a business owner might decide to name their company after themselves, especially in certain industries. And while this does provide a certain sense of security and even intimacy to the company’s initial customers, down the line it can present a problem. What if you, for example, decide to sell your company? With your name attached to it, the list of potential buyers will almost certainly be shorter.
Another future development business owners forget about when naming their company is the fact that their company might expand into other areas in years. For instance, a software company might start with a product for email marketing and it’s name might clearly denote this. Then, after a few years, that same company might decide to make a more comprehensive piece of digital marketing software. In such a situation, the initial name might be somewhat limiting.
When naming your company, you always have to consider the various paths it might go down in the future. Try to think of a name that will not constrict you or become misleading after a few years.
Consider Your Online Presence
Regardless of the industry, most companies are online these days and business founders have to consider their online presence too when naming their company. Domain names, especially shorter ones, are becoming less and less available, meaning that a company with a nice, to-the-point name might find it difficult to secure a domain name for their website.
You should also consider the fact that overly long brand names look unwieldy in the address bar, with an URL that looks like a gigantic jumble of letters more than anything else.
The good news is that there are always workarounds for your domain name if you are really set on a certain name for your business. For example, you can go for a descriptive domain name which tells people what your business is about.
Another way to get a great domain name is to use a top level domain other than .com. There used to be a time when customers were distrusting of websites that ended in other TLDs, but this is no longer the case.
Be Careful about Legal Stuff
Of course, when coming up with a name for your company, you should always consider the legal implications and the possible issues that might arise from a poor choice of a name.
For one, you will have to register the business name of your new company and you might find out that a company with a similar name exists in your industry and/or your part of the world.
You should also consider trademark registration, depending on where your company will be based and whether you will be concentrating on your area or if you will go national or even global. It is essential to research this well so as you do not get into trademark issues down the line because of a company with a similar trademarked name. This may even entail going to court where they will determine how likely it is for customers to distinguish your brand from an existing one.
If you are not sure about the legal implications of the naming process for your future business, make sure to talk to someone who will help you with this. It is better to be safe than sorry.
There are a number of ways to approach coming up with a name for your company. This name will be the cornerstone of your brand and you need to make sure it describes your business well without causing any problems that we discussed.