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You’ve done it. You’ve come up with the perfect business idea.

It’ll change lives and make you big bucks in the process. 

Everything’s looking great… until you hit a roadblock. What are you going to name your new business?

Coming up with a catchy company name that suits your field and works for your brand is a challenging yet essential step. We’re here to help with handy name ideation tips to ensure the right legal status and marketing strategy.

Business name search entrepreneurs guide

What You Need to Know Before Naming a Business

Before you name a business you need to:

  • Be open-minded. Brainstorm many names and don’t wait for everyone to agree on one you like.
  • Know your target market. You can cater your name based on who you’re selling to. A younger market will want a more fun name, but older markets will want something a little more practical.
  • Define your business objectives. What’s the ultimate goal of your business?

It’s important you get these steps right because having a good and well-researched business name is one of the most important ingredients for a successful business.

However, even if you do come up with a name, remember, legal matters also play a part. If you get legality wrong (picking a trademarked name), you could end up in a lengthy and expensive legal battle that you’ll likely lose. 

So, let’s explore the science and legal requirements behind a carefully crafted business name.

What’s in a Business Name?

On the surface, a business name establishes the identity of a business. However, it also carries a meaning that leaves an impression on your potential customers. 

What’s most important is that the meaning your business name conveys aligns with your brand and target audience. Get this right and marketing goes much smoother. Not only does your business become easy to remember, but it evokes an emotional reaction from your target market that draws them in. 

Since your business name is the first aspect your customers see, it should speak of the business mission and identity. 

The name should also:

  • Make sense for your business. For instance, Brident has a warm welcoming tone, but it’s clear what they do through their use of “dent” (being short for denture)
  • Be attention-grabbing but sensical. There’s no question what Bantam Tools do. But why Bantam? Such a question grabs the attention of your audience and makes it easy for your business to be remembered.
  • Be timeless as opposed to trendy. Puron’s original business name Freon wasn’t timeless. They named the business after the Freon CFC in their air conditioners. This CFC was later removed due to health concerns, and so Freon was forced to change their name.

Ultimately, a business name helps you target the right audiences and communicate your values. Think about these four factors:

  • Purpose. Why is your company meaningful in the world?
  • Mission. What do you want to provide to your customers? What issues are you solving?
  • Values. What principles guide the decision-making of your company?
  • Vision. What is the long-term outlook for your company?

These factors inform everything from the business plan to the visuals in your advertisement. 

Encompassing these traits of the business in the title is a vital communication tool. It might sound like a tall order for a small word or phrase, but it’s the first aspect of your company that potential customers encounter. Use that effectiveness. 

Can I Use This Business Name?

Creativity meets legalities during a business name search. If your business shares a name with another business in your industry, it’s likely you can’t use it.

So, before registering a business name, check federal trademark records to see whether another entity is already registered under your desired name. 

The business filing agency in your state should offer a basic tool for browsing trademarked business titles, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can quickly get confusing. Databases tend to only offer exact name matches, and so you’ll remain liable to businesses with similar-sounding names, or anything that can lead to a potential conflict.

Pro-Tip: The exact basis of trademark infringement is the likelihood of confusion, not simply having the same name as another company.

However, NameStormers does more than simply look through public databases. Our process includes screening each of our business name ideas using the same software and databases trademark attorneys use. This allows us to pitch low-risk names that are unlikely to cause any trademark infringement issues.

Case study Choice Hotel

Domain Name and Social Media Screening

Modern businesses need an online presence, and you can’t develop it without a domain name.

The domain is your URL, or how Internet users locate you. It should match the business name, or at least be as close as possible. 

Domains also discuss the purpose of your business. These three are the most prominent for company websites:

.com For commercial organizations
.org For non-profits
.net For web hosting and databases

Tip: If possible, always choose a domain name that has a .com extension available.

You can’t stop at the website. Social media profiles boost brand awareness and do wonders for your business. Browse popular networks for companies with monikers identical or similar to yours.

If another business is already operating an extensive social presence under the name you’d like to use, it’s always better to find an alternative. Otherwise, you might send unwitting customers to competitors. 

Creating a Future-Proof Business Name

It’s tempting to limit your name to a specific product that’s the center of your business, but doing so isn’t ideal. 

Focusing on general beliefs, not particular products and services, ensures that your company doesn’t remain limited in scope. 

After all, your values are a part of your business plan, wherever it may go. You might not be selling only wooden chairs in five years, but if “made by hand” is your principle, then it stays, no matter where you decide to expand. 

Another point of consideration is how your current business name relates to your company’s vision. 

For instance, using geographic locations in your name is excellent to target the local audience. However, it stops you from going state or countrywide. “Austin Office Supplies” works for Austin residents, but people from other parts of Texas might assume you won’t provide services to them. 

Other approaches with a similar tendency include:

  • Pop culture references. Your business name might subtly reference something that’s popular and easily recognized, for example “World of Woolcraft” for a knitting shop. But will that still be the case in 10 years? 
  • Event references. You want to avoid business names that refer to specific events. For example, you don’t want to open a media business and call it “COVID-19 News.” Where will your business have to go under that name in ten years?

Being super specific might sound like an excellent marketing idea for the short term, but your company shouldn’t stagnate. 

Tip: Scalability works best when you don’t tie yourself to a particular moment in time or space.

Key Takeaways

Keeping these aspects in mind is challenging, but doing so ensures that your business starts on a solid foundation and continues building excellence from day one. 

Remember these three foundational principles of business name searching:

  • Keep your company principles at the forefront.
  • Communicate purpose to your customers. 
  • Focus on values, not specific commodities.

Why go at it solo when you can get help from experts with 30 years of experience? We’ve worked with clients across various industries, ensuring that their values shine through in each product or service they’ve put out.

Are you preparing to launch your business? We can assist you. We at NameStormers have cracked the code already. Three decades of experience in the industry has earned us many accolades. Among other awards, we’ve been dubbed the “Top Branding Agency” by DesignRush and “Top Naming Agency” by Clutch.

Hermes creative awards