Naming a New Business

Naming a new business is a big decision. When naming your business keep in mind that you want your business name to be a positive reflection of your business. Once you have chosen a business name you will have to register the business name with the state to make sure it is not already taken.

Tips for Naming a Small Business

  • Keep it short and simple-When naming your business try to keep the name simple and memorable such as Nike, Starbucks, Wal-Mart (All short and simple). Your business name should be short enough to fit on marketing materials.
  • Easy to pronounce– When naming your business be sure you choose a name that is easy to pronounce and easily understood over the phone. Not so long ago there was a store in which I was never able to pronounce their name. All I remember is that it started with an E and had some Xs in the name. It was a new store which had taken the place of a Gordon’s Store that went out of business. My friends and I would always refer to that store as “The store where Gordon’s use to be” since we could not pronounce the name! This can be very destructive to your small business since word-of-mouth is the most effective form of advertising. Well that store didn’t last long since it went out of business a few months afterwards.
  • Memorable– Having a business name that is easy to remember can come in handy. Just imagine how much word-of-mouth publicity you can loose out on if people don’t remember your business name! When naming your business try to avoid those boring, generic names that are not at all memorable.
  • Reflects your brand– Your business name should match your business brand. It should be consistent with the overall look and feel of your business.
  • Appeals to your target Market-When naming a new business make sure your business name is appealing to your target market. For example if you own a store that sells gardening tools and your target market is retired women in their 50s, you wouldn’t want to name your store “Dark side Gardening Weapons”. This will probably scare your target market instead of attracting them.
  • Growing Potential– Think ahead when naming your business. Your business name should be able to grow with your business. For example naming a business “Tasty Soups” can prevent your business from selling other types of foods.

There are two methods of naming a new business you can choose from:

  • Non-conventional: Many of the big businesses such as Starbucks and Nike use non-conventional names. If you just landed on Earth from another planet and never heard of these businesses before, you wouldn’t guess that Starbucks sold coffee or Nike sold sneakers by looking at their names. Their names give no indications of their business, however their business has grown so much in popularity we now associate those names with their product. When you think of Starbucks you think of coffee. When you think of Nike you think of sneakers. The advantage of non-conventional business names is that since the name is so rare the domain name and trademark is easily assessable. The disadvantage of these business names is that you will have to invest heavily in marketing so consumers know what your business is about.
  • Conventional:Conventional names are straight to the point; they provide a hint of what their business is about such as Dunkin Donuts and Toys R Us. There are many conventional small business names such as Silvana’s Cleaning Service or Henry’s Auto Shop. This can be helpful strategy for naming your business if you’re just starting your small business, it is not well known and you have limited marketing funds. Below is an overview of different types of conventional names you can consider when naming a business.
    1. Owner’s Name– This is an easy approach to naming a new business; in fact many small businesses are named after the owner’s name. However if you plan on growing your business nationwide you should consider a different approach since these businesses hardly develop widespread awareness.
    2. Geographic Name– NewYork’s Maids, Jacksonville’s Grocery Store, and Central Park Coffee Shop are all named after their geographic location. The disadvantage of this is that you limit your business’ growing potential to that specific location. What if you decide to grow your business and open up new stores in other locations? Then you would have to change your business name. Only choose this method of naming if you are sure you will always do business in that location.
    3. Descriptive Names– Descriptive names describe what your business is about. Names such as DieHard Batteries and Toys r Us gives consumers an idea of what to expect from your business. However be careful when using descriptive names. For example if you decide to open a soup business called “Tasty Soups”, what will happen when you decide to add other foods to the menu? Don’t let your business name inhibit your growth potential.

When naming a new business be sure to ask friends and family what they think of your business name ideas. You can even decide to consult with an expert to help you in the process of naming your business. Which ever method you choose just keep in mind that your business name is a vital part of your small business brand, so it takes careful thought and consideration.