Mistakes to Avoid When Naming Your Business

You have your business plan locked in, but you still haven’t settled on the best name for your latest venture. You can spend all the time in the world brainstorming business name ideas. In the end though, you want to be sure that you have considered all your options. Otherwise, you might misbrand your Limited Liability Company (LLC) and adversely affect your long-term business prospects.

But how do you tell the difference between a good and the bad business name? Let’s examine some mistakes you should avoid before you make your final decision.

Forgetting Your Trademark Search

This should go without saying, but you should always engage in a thorough trademark search before you name a new business. Otherwise, you might later discover that your name is actually already registered with or being used by another company, negating all the effort you’ve spent talking up your new business. To avoid any potential legal issues, just do your homework upfront and, if possible, secure your own trademark ASAP.

Picking a “Bad” Name

You need to watch out for a number of troublesome naming mistakes that could undermine the success of your business. First, avoid any business names that are too complicated or generic. If your name is difficult to say or remember, it’s just not going to make the lasting impression you need it to. Likewise, you don’t want your name to feel so generic that it doesn’t reflect the work you do or the nature of your business. That’s a surefire way to get lost in the shuffle of your competition. Try to strike the right balance.

Skipping the Research

We’ve already pointed out the inherent value in running a trademark search for any names you may be considering. However, that isn’t the end of your research. You also need to find out if any companies bear names similar to yours, or if the name you’re considering has any troubling or problematic associations. Is there any way to misinterpret your business name so that it means something completely unrelated and/or inappropriate? If so, you might want to think about at least tweaking the verbiage a bit.

Neglecting to Consider Branding

No matter what name you select, it will serve as the foundation for all subsequent branding of your business. Keep this in mind throughout the process. For instance, you don’t want a name that is too long, as this makes it difficult to include in social media content or in a domain name. You should aim for something short, catchy and to the point. Think visually as well so you can develop a concept for how to present your name in a logo. You want your business to get noticed.

Missing a Chance to Share Your Mission

Don’t worry: You don’t have to squeeze your entire mission statement into your business name. Still, it’s a valuable opportunity to give potential customers some idea of what you do, what your culture is like and why they should care. This is your chance to get creative and convey your focus. Show off your personality and begin creating an image of your company right from its name.

Forgoing Testing

Much of our advice so far has hinged on in-house brainstorming. But this doesn’t mean you’re off the hook from doing more formal testing. Reach out to people in your target audience and gauge their reactions to your potential business name, perhaps through surveys. What does it make them think of? Does it accurately portray your company and its long-term goals? If not, it might be a good idea to go back to the drawing board.

Hogging the Spotlight

We know that your business is your baby, but that doesn’t mean you need your own name wrapped up in it. Your business should stand alone as its own entity (that’s why you started an LLC, after all). This will perpetuate its chance of enticing customers and ultimately make it easier to sell if that time ever comes. You want your business to be taken seriously and legitimately. Making its name all about you will only make it seem like a vanity project rather than a real contender.

Overthinking It

Choosing a business name is a tremendous opportunity to give your company the boost it needs. But at the same time, you don’t want to spend too long mulling it over. The name is just a starting point — you have many more elements of your business you need to sharpen to really become a success. In addition, we advise not getting the opinion of everyone you meet. This will only keep you fixated on the name instead of the business itself (and they’re probably not all your target customers anyway).

Rolling With Trends

The thing about trends is that they’re always changing. What’s hot now will be passe in a few months. Therefore, your business should absolutely not be beholden to any trends. Developing your company takes long enough that your trendy name will seem dated before you even open. You want your business to have longevity, but a trend-inspired name is like stamping an expiration date on it.

What’s in a Name?

While settling on the perfect name for your business might seem like an arbitrary decision, you’d be surprised just how much a name can impact the fate of your business. Your company’s name is your chance to make a first impression on potential customers and business partners. Your business name is your most basic marketing tool, and it will inevitably trickle down into the rest of your efforts to drum up sales and boost word of mouth. Hopefully, the tips we’ve covered here can help provide you with a bit of direction for the future.

At Incfile, we’re always looking forward. We aim to provide business owners like you with the knowledge and tools you need to face and triumph over the challenges that await you in the current business landscape. With our extensive resources on your side, you’ll be better equipped to build toward sustainable growth from the very beginning. If you have any questions about how to select the best name for your company, reach out so we can help kickstart your business growth strategy. To learn more, check out our website and get started today!

Robert Yaniz Jr.

Robert Yaniz Jr.

Robert Yaniz Jr. has been a professional writer since 2004, including print and online publications. Much of his experience centers on the business world, including work for a major regional business newspaper and a global law firm.
Robert Yaniz Jr.

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