Choosing the Best Name for Your Small Business Rated:

What's in a name? For business owners, the answer is: a great deal. Prospective customers will look to your business' name to get a sense of who you are and what you represent. They will also include this element as part of their decision-making process when choosing between your firm and a competitor.

Names have the power to inspire strong feelings, attract or repel customers and generate marketing buzz. A good name can lead to more sales to be recorded with your financial software. For these reasons, small business owners are advised to give due attention to choosing the name of their enterprise.

How to choose a name?

There is no one sure-fire way to ensure you are selecting the best name for your business. Some firms choose to hire professionals to do so, but their services can be costly. If your financial software indicates you don't have the extra money in your start-up budget to pay naming consultants, you can test out a variety of options with friends, family or colleagues.

During your brainstorming session, try to think of between 10 and 20 potential names for your company. There are a number of factors to consider. What qualities do you want people to think of when they hear your name? Would you like a name that is fairly broad - in case you expand into other areas in the future - or specific? What types of names are already being used by competitors in your industry?

Here are some qualities that experts say may reflect a good business name:

Descriptive

For small businesses in particular, choosing a name that is descriptive of what your firm does can be a smart move. If you are new on the scene and no one has heard of you, how will people know what you do?

By choosing a descriptive name, customers who are looking for a particular product or service will instantly be able to know what you offer. If you are keen to be known by something more colorful, a descriptive phrase such as "window cleaning" or "web design" can be tacked onto the end of a more unique name.

Simple

Aim to select a name that is easily spelled and pronounced. The idea is to make it as easy as possible for people to find you online, in the phone book and in business listings. Many owners choose to incorporate their last name, but first make sure yours is not too difficult to spell. You don't want potential customers to mistype and accidentally stumble on someone else's website.

Memorable

Choosing a simple name may be one aspect of choosing a memorable name, but you don't want it to be so straightforward it's forgettable. A unique name can help create a strong brand and distinguish you from your competitors. Your name should be easily passed on via word of mouth and should stick in people's minds when they see it advertised. A demonstrably unique name may also be qualified for trademark protection, whereas a more generic name is not.

Positive

People are more likely to place trust in a business whose name has a strong, positive association. You may want to test out a number of different words and phrases with a group of friends or colleagues to judge which is best. Sometimes the right name evokes what the customer imagines a business represents, rather than its actual function. For example, would you rather hire "Shovel and Hoe Landscaping" or "Green Growth Landscaping" to design your garden?

Promotional

One of your main objectives when naming your firm is to stand out from competitors. Therefore, when choosing a name, consider whether your unique selling point can be included. For example, if you are offering lower prices on bicycle tours than your competitors, how about "Thrifty Cycle Tours"? Or, if you plan to provide the fastest janitorial service in town, what about "Super-speedy Cleaners"?

Customer-focused

Small business names are sometimes based on puns - but do these clever jokes really help draw customers in? The answer depends on your audience. Go back to your marketing plan and consider who you are trying to attract. Would it help to have a serious gets-the-job-done type of name, a more playful approach or one that cause people to think? A used bookstore may hit the mark by calling itself "Shakespeare Books" but "Epicurean Pet Foods" may come off as pretentious unless it is catering to a certain customer base who would appreciate the reference.
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Showing 1 - 1 of 1 Comments
RM | May 04, 2009
Good article

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