11 Pitfalls to Avoid When Choosing a Business Name

How many businesses do you see with unfortunate names, ones you can’t pronounce or that spell out vulgar words?

How can you avoid such pitfalls?

How to Choose a Business Name

Your perfect business name:

  • Must not be too long
  • Has the identical URL available
  • Shows what your business is about
  • Is unique so it can be branded
  • Is easy to say
  • Has no hyphens
  • Avoids hyperbole
  • Avoids trademark confusion
  • Does not use technical terms
  • Is not too local
  • Is attractive to anyone who wants to buy your company

Online business name generators will help you draw up your shortlist, but you still need to apply the criteria above to any suggestion.

Avoid Long Names

Google could have been, ‘Simple Search Facility.’ Google is the perfect example of the power of a one-word company name: even to the extent of becoming a verb in the same way ‘to hoover’ became synonymous with ‘to use the vacuum cleaner.’

Is Your Business Name URL Available?

Every one-word URL in the dictionary has been bought up by ‘investors’ who will sell their single-word domain names for thousands of dollars. When you choose a company name, buy the domain name before you register the company because they must match perfectly, so clients aren’t confused.

Is What You Do Obvious from Your Name?

If you use your name as your company name, nobody searching on Google will know what you do. Choose ‘Jan Johnson Plumbing’ rather than ‘Jan Johnson.’ You are more likely to find the matching web address to be available, too.

Can Others Steal Your Brand?

Your name IS your brand. Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google all OWN their names. Try to think of a one-word name that is a simple variation of one in the dictionary. Think creatively ‘Eelectrics’ or ‘plumbzone.’ Those are words you can make your brand, and no competitor will ever be able to use your name in their marketing.

Can Customers Pronounce Your Company Name?

People must be confident in pronouncing your name. Huawei is a prime example of a name no-one outside China has any idea how to pronounce. If people can’t say your brand, they are never going to ask for it in a store.

What’s Wrong with Hyphens?

Nobody remembers hyphens.

Why Should You Avoid Hyperbole?

Hype doesn’t cut it. Would you buy from WorldsBest Carpenter.com? Me neither.

Does Your Business Name Include a Trademark?

Companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing their brand and protecting it. Never use a name that contains part of a trademark, nor one that could be confused with another brand. Nikkon Cameras would be a no-no.

Is Your Company Name Overly Technical?

Clients don’t want to know the technical details behind your brand; they just want their problems solved.

Is Your Name Too Localized?

If you name your company after your locality, it might give you a boost in business initially, but when you want to expand, an expensive rebranding campaign becomes necessary.

Is Your Name an Attractive Part of Your Exit Strategy?

Ensure the name you choose is attractive to someone who might want to buy your business.

Long Story Short

Your name needs to be catchy, easy to say and spell, and unique. It’s a tall order. Business name generators can help in brainstorming and will broaden your list of possibilities.

Ask independent parties for their opinions, but never make your business name a democratic decision, or you end up with a farce like the Boaty McBoatface ship-naming episode of 2016.

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.