Surprisingly, many business owners put too little thought into the element that generally makes the first impression on potential customers—the name of the company.
When it comes to naming a business, there is no shortage of opinions on effective strategies. Some experts believe that a business name should be abstract. Others believe it should clearly state what the company does.
That's not the only business name controversy. Here are a few tips to help you sort out the options and choose an effective name.
Abstract vs. descriptive
Some of the most successful businesses have names that don't give an obvious clue about what the company does—Nike, for example. Unless you're a fan of Greek mythology, you probably didn't know that "Nike" is the Greek goddess of victory. But despite the relative obscurity of the reference, the company went on to achieve incredible success.
However, most small business owners don't have the resources to make their brand a household name. When customers are searching for a particular service or product, a simple descriptive name might be the best bet. Try to choose a name that conveys the unique service or product your company offers. Try it out on family and friends to see if it resonates with them.
Almost every business these days has an online presence—a website that provides information about the company or a full-blown e-commerce strategy that allows shoppers to buy directly from the site. Many business owners eschew brick-and-mortar stores altogether and concentrate all their marketing efforts online.
One of the first things when thinking about business names is to check to see if the domain, or url, for that name is available. There are many domain name registration service providers that can assist you with checking availability and securing the name you wish to use.
Lock down your name with the state
Once you settle on a name, you'll need to secure the rights to it. That takes more than just registering a domain and printing up letterhead with your new business name on it.
Will you create a corporation or LLC? Or operate as a sole proprietor or general partnership? These decisions have many implications, including how you'll protect your business name and whether or not you'll be required to register a fictional name under which to conduct business.
There are many factors that go into choosing a business name. The process has far-reaching implications. It pays to take the time to choose a strong name and make sure you protect it. After all, your company's name is a unique asset.
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