You’ve decided to start your own company. One of the first and most important decisions will be to come up with a name for your company. When my business partner and I started our photography business we thought it was important to create a name that provided an idea of what our business did and one that was catchy. Fast forward three years later and we realized our original name was limiting. The business name we chose was too specific and we’ve since renamed our business to be more encompassing of some of the other aspects of our evolving business.
Here are some tips we learned and would give to others in the process of naming their company:
1. Think twice about using catchy and hard-to-spell names. They may seem fun at first but often get out-dated or frustrating for someone to search for on the internet or yellow pages. You want to have a name that can stand the test of time. It’s rare to find another “Google” or “Facebook” company name. But it is definitely possible to come up with a winner. Decide how important this is to your company, brand and ‘stickiness’ (how well people remember it).
2. Avoid using punctuation in your business name. Using “!” exclamation marks or “?” question marks is confusing especially for your website address. Technically the company “Yahoo!” has an exclamation point.
3. Consider using your name. If you use your own name for the business, it often eliminates the step of having to do a name search. Using your own name can often avoid costly name searches and can distinguish your name as a brand. Many companies such as Hewlett-Packard used the last names of their founders and have endured for years.
4. Think five years from now. The original idea for your business will evolve overtime. My business partner and I started out as bloggers and school photographers but our business morphed. Now we are work as social media consultants, are freelance writers and take a variety of photos not just school portraits. So our original business name did not match how our company evolved. We’ve renamed our company using a combination of our last names. We also avoided having to do a company name search because our combined names are unique.
5. Trademark search. You can check if a name is already being used by clicking on this site to begin with. Even if it is not used a trademark lawyer may still be necessary to ensure you have full rights to the name you choose.
6. Does your acronym or “Doing Business As” spell a bad word? The acronym or DBA (Doing Business As) for our company helps simplify what customers have to write on the checks they make out to us. You want to be sure your acronym or DBA does not spell an inappropriate word. You might want to consider using your DBA as your company name. Take IBM for example, people forget it stands for International Business Machines. In fact that name is rather outdated now, but IBM is so recognizable and has evolved with the company.
These are a few things to consider when you are coming up with a company name. What other tips do you have for devising a company name?