“What’s in a name?” Turns out a lot, actually.
One of the most difficult decisions you will make as an entrepreneur is choosing a name for your small business.
This name will serve as the first impression for your business on many occasions. It needs to address what you do, as well as speak to your target market. That is a heavy demand. So how do you choose the right name?
Here are 6 questions to help you choose the perfect name for your small business.
1. Does the name describe your products or services?
It is vital that the name for your small business describe what it does or sells. Otherwise, you could give the wrong impression of your business, frustrating customers and losing you money.
What if you want to be creative? This is alright, as long as you are still being clear. If you are in doubt about clarity, consider a two word name, like “Benchmark Law”. This way, you can have one word that is more creative or that speaks to how you approach your business, and one word that ensures your customers know what type of business you are.
Remember that being creative to the point of confusion defeats the purpose of a business name.
2. Does the name reflect your values?
Studies have shown that names do have an impact on how we perceive businesses. Given this, we suggest approaching your business name as a calling card. Like a calling card, you want to quickly convey a message that is in line with how you want to be seen.
Again, let us take “Benchmark Law” as an example. “Benchmark” immediately tells you the quality level of our work – and how seriously we take it.
3. Is the name distinctive?
You do not want to choose a name that will be easily forgotten or confused. Make sure you avoid:
- Names that sound like major chains. If there is already a large company with a similar name, people are likely to confuse you with them, not vise versa.
- Names that are too generic. For example, you do not want to call your law firm something like “Case Law Firm”.
- Common names that are used by a number of small businesses throughout the country. This can not only lead to confusion, but it can also cause legal issues, as are discussed below.
Focus on a name that speaks to what makes your business and your approach to it special. A word that connects with you and your business will not just be unique, but also meaningful.
4. Is the name memorable?
While this can overlap with the previous question, there are other factors to consider when it comes to a memorable name. For example, is it easy to spell? A name with elaborate spelling can make your business difficult to search online, potentially losing you customers. Similarly, made-up names should be used with caution as they can also be easily forgotten.
If you are not sure if a name is memorable enough, tell it to friends and acquaintances. A few days later, ask them to repeat the name back to you and to guess at the spelling. If they cannot remember or could not pull your business up online, start your name hunt over again.
5. Are you legally allowed to use the name?
You cannot use an existing corporate name or trademark. You also cannot use a name that is so close to another name or trademark that the similarity will cause obvious confusion. If you do so, you open yourself up for legal action, including costly lawsuits. Avoid this by searching potential names for your small business on BC Registry Services.
6. Can you secure the web domain and key social media pages for the name?
In this day and age, internet visibility is key to business success. Therefore, before you choose a name, make sure that the domain name for the website and the appropriate social media handles are available.
Once you have chosen the name for your small business…
Remember that this journey does not end with picking a name for your small business. You also need to register the name to ensure it is protect. You may also want to trademark the name, which you can easily do with the help of a small business lawyer.
The name for your small business is not the only intellectual property you have. Make sure you understand what other intellectual property you have – and why it is important to protect it.