The Passionate Entrepreneur - Making a Name in Business

Rhonda Abrams

You're launching your new business and want to find a cute and memorable name. But before you call your car muffler business "I'm Exhausting," consider the following factors that contribute to making a name effective.

A successful business name:

* Conveys the correct information

Make sure your potential customers aren't confused about what you do. A very clear company name, such as Rhonda's Business Plan Writing Services, immediately lets customers know what to expect -- but watch out if your services later change.
* Won't get dated quickly

Avoid names too closely identified with recent trends or which too severely limit the products or services you'll offer. You're likely to change the scope of your products or services over time.
* Conveys the right feeling

Ideally, you should choose a name with positive connotations. For instance, a day spa called Haven or Oasis transmits the sense that the customer is going to escape the stresses of his or her life.
* Is easy to spell

This becomes particularly important when you need customers to remember your Internet domain name or when clients will have to spell your company's name often.
* Is easy to pronounce

People have a hard time remembering names they can't say easily. That's why on the back of their chocolate bar wrappers, Ghirardelli used to print how to pronounce their name.
* Is memorable

This isn't always possible, of course, or even necessary. A company with a straightforward name like Des Moines Chiropractic Clinic may develop a better business than a company with a cute name like Oh My Aching Back. Names don't determine success.
* Is pleasing to the ear

If you have a sufficient advertising budget, you can make even a "bad" name work. For instance, most of us remember the tagline "With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good." But generally, a pleasant-sounding name is preferable to an awkward one.
* Has an available domain name

Ideally, it's best if your web site has the same name as your business or something closely related. Before finalizing your business name, check to see what Internet domain names are available.
* Doesn't violate trademarks

You don't want to spend thousands of dollars building your brand only to discover that someone else has the trademark rights. Do a quick trademark search online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. If necessary, check with an attorney, too.

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