IS THE NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS REALLY THAT IMPORTANT?

Interesting question! I love working with students and clients of the SBDC (Small Business Development Centers) to come up with great names for their businesses. To some people the name is very important and to some it doesn’t mean much. As a BizOwner the best advice is to think of your customers and especially your target customers. Not only do you need to decide what name you like the best, but what name is most meaningful to them! When you are trying to name a business make sure you test the names with people you trust and with potential customers. Other people’s feedback is really important here because they may see things in the name that you don’t. In addition other people’s perception of words might be different than yours. It always pays to “test before you invest”! One mechanic I know had the nickname of “Stretch” because he was very tall. When he tested the names for his business the word “stretch” was in all of them. Feedback from friends, family, and potential customers made him aware that the word “stretch” made people think he was a limousine business. Because of this feedback he changed the name of his business to one that gives a clear meaning to what he really does. He did keep “stretch” on his business card however!

Never fall in love with a name until you have checked it out properly. One area that needs to be checked is with the Secretary of State of the state your business is going to be registered in. The second place to check is with a reputable domain name company to make sure you can get the domain name you want for your website. I use Godaddy.com to buy all my domain names. This is a great place to search names and they are pretty easy to work with. Another consideration about domain names is how people will search for your business on the internet. Having a name with the proper “keywords” is a great starting point for having people find you on the web. Before falling “in love” with names check the domain name and the Secretary of State. If both of those areas are “clean” you may be ready to name your business. One last check you might need to make is if the name of your business is also a product name or a service name. If this is the case you may want to Trademark the name as well. You can search trademarks on the government website www.uspto.gov. The “uspto” stands for the United States Patent and Trademark Office”.

In you have any questions about business names, don’t hesitate to e-mail me at bob@21questionbusinessplan.com. One last thing, people have asked me what I think is the best business name ever. In my mind the best business name is 1-800-Got Junk! The name is also how you contact the company, and it really sticks in your mind!