What’s in a Business Name?

confused man with question marks over head

Choosing a name is a crucial step when starting your business – the right name can grow your business quickly, but the wrong name can lead to obscurity.

Your name should reflect your business. Most consumers will probably hear your name before they know anything about your business. So, it’s vital that the business name makes a strong impression and reflects your values and brand.

When you’re choosing your business name, decide whether you want something that signifies what you do or something that generates interest so that customers want to learn more. Deciding which route to take will help you determine whether you want a descriptive name or something unique.

Choosing a descriptive name

Descriptive names are easy to think up and advertise. For example, if your business name is “Jane’s Donuts,” you don’t have to spend time or energy explaining that you sell donuts.

If you ever choose to expand outside of donuts, you might run into some problems because your name no longer reflects the full range of your business. Burlington, for example, ran into this problem because they sell more than just coats. They eventually changed their name from “Burlington Coat Factory” to “Burlington.”

It can also be tough to establish a competitive advantage through a descriptive business name. If a customer searches for donuts in their area, they might find Jane’s Donuts, Steve’s Donuts, and Mary’s Donuts. How will customers know which one is best? You can add a tagline to help establish that competitive advantage.

Choosing a unique name

Using a unique made-up name, as Zappos did, can easily set you apart from your competitors.

Unique names will help you secure an easy to remember domain for your company’s website. And, you’ll be more likely to successfully trademark your name because the chances that someone else has the same or similar name are smaller. Learn how to register a trademark.

A unique name doesn’t always convey the purpose of your business, so you will have to spend time and energy advertising what your company does. Once you’ve established your brand, however, customers will hear the name and immediately think of you. For example, when you hear “Google,” you probably immediately think of the search engine.

If you want your business to describe what you do but also be unique, consider morphing words together – as Instagram or Netflix did.

Read also: 5 Tips for Attracting New Customers

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