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naming your business

Naming Your Business

Company names

fascinate me. Some are so creative and some are just plain annoying.

I saw my all-time favorite on an old, rundown looking building in Kentucky when I was traveling to a BBQ competition…“Dehart Bible & Tire”. I should have gone in and looked around!

So, besides Mr. Dehart’s odd combo, can you spot the potential problems with any of these?

-Kids-Kutz
-Market Here
-Nike WordPress Themes
-Xzolxer
-Los Angeles Web Designs
-Idesignandsellbirdhouses.com

Here are some basics to think about when naming your business. Your mileage may vary.

1. Should your TYPE of business be in the NAME of your business?
There is a lot of debate on this one…like www.usedbookstore.com. That sure tells you what they do, and that can be an advantage. Is it unique enough? What if they started selling movies? Is the name too restrictive to just books? What if they changed it to www.zoobly.com. It would take a lot of “educating the masses” to get them to know that Zoobly had anything to do with books. Find the right feel for your type of business.

2. Should you misspell your business name?
My pet peeve (ok, so it’s really just ONE of MANY) is misspelled words. How would you know to spell Kidz Kutz with “K”s and “Z”s?

And when you say your name, what do you hear? Is it Market Here, Market Hear or Marketeer? Does the spelling or phonetic sound of your name distract from remembering it or finding it? If you do misspell a word, do it in a way that does not affect the pronunciation and is easy to remember…like www.digg.com. Oh, and a hyphen in the domain name is generally a no-no, too.

3. Have you twisted a popular existing company’s name?
If your company name is “Nike WP Themes” does that pose a legal issue? I’m not an attorney, but I do know I don’t even want to go down that road. Be original.

4. Is your name non-sensical?
If my company was Xzolxer I would spend half my day explaining it to customers…assuming they could even remember how to spell it to find me in the first place. On the other hand, Google is easy to say and spell even if it wasn’t in the dictionary before 1998!

5. Does your name limit where you can do business?
If you are “Los Angeles Web Design” would that limit WHERE you might be able to do business? What if you wanted to open another shop in Springfield…what would you call it then? Drop the locater part of your name unless it is imperative to how you will operate.

6. Is your name too long?
Long names are generally harder to remember and easier to misspelling. www.IDesignAndSellBirdhouses.com may be descriptive…but can you imagine associating an email address with that one? customerservice@idesignandsellbirdhouses.com. Wow, I made three spelling mistakes on that one when I first typed it. Look for ways to shorten it. (try www.leandomainsearch.com or https://domai.nr or http://wordoid.com)

7. Don’t be too close to an original or you will loose out on traffic.
Similar to #6 above…if www.entrepreneur.com is taken, don’t force fit www.entrepreneurS.com just because you want that name. Everyone will go to the original first. Even a simple Google search using your company name in different ways will help you determine if it’s in use. (ex: launch jockey, launchjockey, “launch jockey” or “launchjockey”).

And check out your Secretary of State’s site to search for incorporated names to make sure it has not been used there either. Here is Indiana’s site https://secure.in.gov/sos/online_corps/name_search.aspx

Realize that there are exceptions to just about anything. Just be intentional with your choices. Run ideas past an array of respected friends or people in your sphere of influence. Get thoughts from tech people, entrepreneurs, consumers, marketing types etc to get a lot of perspective.


Bottom Line:
Your name is important. Be memorable, easy to remember, short and unique.

 

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About Brian Richardson

Entrepreneur, father, grandfather, Christian, start-up fanatic