Updated: Mar 15, 2019
Your business is your baby. You've done all the hard work of researching and creating a valuable product or service or a strong business plan and now you are ready to bring your product to market but you are struggling to find a catchy name. Or, you may want to make sure your business name is just right before you purchase that domain, build that website, register your business and/or file for a trademark.
Don't just pick a name out of thin air. Your business name can help you or hurt you depending on how much research you do. Put in some careful consideration and you can make sure you steer clear of potential pitfalls that are common for new business owners.
Brainstorm - According to Forbes.com contributor, Richard Harroch, there are a few quick ways to narrow down your choices in business names by avoiding "hard-to-spell names" and keeping your name broad so as not to limit your business options down the road. Harroch explains:
"Picking too narrow of a name may cause you problems down the road. Imagine if Jeff Bezos had picked the name 'OnlineBooks' instead of 'Amazon"...You don't want to limit your business to a particular product or a specific city."
Research - Once you have a few ideas make sure to do some research. First, check and make sure there aren't well known or large businesses already using your desired business name. Then, the Small Business Administration site allows you to ensure you'll be able to register and/or trademark your chosen business name.
Finally, don't forget to research to make sure you'll be able to acquire the best domain for your chosen business name. You can use a domain search like Name.com to find out which domains are available. Marty Zwilling of Fortune has advice:
"Your company name and internet domain name should probably be the same so check out preferred names...everyone will assume that your company name is your domain name minus the suffix '.com' or '.info.' Get all three suffixes if you can."
Test - Once you know what names you will be able to get and use with your preferred domain, you should work to get some opinions about your business name. Have your friends say it out load and write it down. Is it easy to pronounce and to spell? Ask them what they think they would type into their web address bar to navigate to your website. Does it match what you had researched for your domain?
According to Zwilling,"you want to pick a name that is "sticky" in that it is both "unique and unforgettable." Check your name against other languages. Nothing can disrupt your plans more than finding out your business name is a terribly offensive word in another language.
Finally, for some fun, read about these businesses that didn't do all their research from Mental Floss.