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Choosing The Best Business Name for Your Business

by SanDiegoBizMart.com

Ask 500 people already in business how they decided upon their business name and you will get 500 different answers. Everyone has a story behind how they chose their own business name. Even if the business is named after their own birth name, there's a reason why this was done.

When you open a business, in a sense, you are causing a new birth to begin. This new birth was created from an idea by you or your associates. It will have its own bank account, it's own federal identification number, it's own credit accounts, it's own income and it's own bills. On paper, it is another individual! Just as if you were choosing a name for your own unborn child, you need to spend considerable time in deciding upon your business name.

There are several reasons why a good business name is vitally important to your business. The first obvious reason is because it is the initial identification to your customers. No one would want to do business with someone without a company name. This makes you look like an amateur who is very unreliable. Even if you call your company "Kevin's Lawn Service," a company name has been established and you are indeed a company. Customers will feel more secure in dealing with you.

Secondly, a business name normally is an indication as to the product or service you offer. "Mary's Typing Service," "Karate Club for Men," "Jim Dandy Jack-of-all-Trades," "Laurie and Steve's Laundry," "Misty's Gift Boutique," and "Star 1 Publishers" are all examples of simple business names that immediately tell the customer what product or service you offer.

Most people will choose the simple approach when naming their business. They use their name, their spouse's name, their children's names or a combination of these names when naming a business. The national hamburger restaurant chain "Wendy's" was named after the owner's daughter. However, research has proven that these "cutesy" names are not the best names to use for a business. Many experts claim that it makes the business look too "mom-and-popsie." Of course, this depends on the business. If you are selling something that demands this theme to appeal to your market, then use this approach. Example: a neighborhood restaurant offering home cooking may benefit with a "mom and pop" name. A neighborhood printing service would not.

I completely believe the initial success of Yahoo! and Google had a lot to do with their names, but the best approach to naming a business is a combination name, containing both a "catchy" element, and a "descriptive" name. Catchy names that stick in people's minds after the initial contact, such as "Sound Solutions," "Direct Defenders," and "Strictly Class," are all good examples of catchy names, but tell you nothing about what they do or sell.

Some of the best business names I've seen are "Rent-A-Wreck" and "Two Men Will Move You." These types of names relate to your product or service and also serve as a slogan for your business. This is a big help when marketing. A similar approach is a name like "Domino's Pizza." This is catchy, and tells you exactly what it is.

When you name a child, you may not decide upon a definite name until after they are born. You do this because a name is sometimes associated with a type of personality. If you are planning on starting your own business, but haven't yet nailed down exactly what you will be doing or selling, you may need to wait until you have made that decision, since your business name should give some clue as to what product or service you are selling. If you think you can just name it the Smith Company, to cover anything you might do, you will probably regret it later.

To generate ideas, begin looking at business signs everywhere you go. Notice which ones catch your eye and stick in your mind. Try and figure out "why" they stuck in your mind. Naturally, "Dominos Pizza" sticks in your mind because it is already nationally known. These don't count! Look around and notice the smaller businesses. Take your time. Within a few days you should be able to come up with a few potential business names.

Then, when you finally decide on a few names you really like, try reciting them to other people and get their opinion. And DO recite the name out loud. It should roll easily off the tongue. It won't be long until your business will have the proper name that will carry it through it's life!


Try to avoid very long names so they will fit into small display ads. Amalgamated International Enterprises, seller of imported goods, can be easily presented as AIE - which is easier and shorter to spell, but is cold & uninformative. Try something like Import World.


If you plan on any Internet advertising, free or paid, this is where having a descriptive business name is a MUST. Free listings will allow your business name, but not a business description. So if you want that description, it had better be part of your business name.

If your business name is "Smith & Co.," you won't be allowed "Smith & Co. Antique Furniture Refinishing & Upholstering." You will be better off with "Antique Furniture Restoration" or "The Antique Furniture Doctor." List the latter without "The" as Antique Furniture Doctor.

In addition, if your business has a website, it will be found by keywords, and the most important keywords will be the business name and domain name. Having your keyword in your domain name is an absolute MUST. If your business is auto repair, that must appear in your domain name, and should be in your business name. 5 Star Auto Repair and www.5starautorepair.com

And for alphabetical listings, such as the Yellow Pages (Internet or phone book), having a business name that starts with an A, B, or C, or a number, is an obvious advantage. 5 Star Upholstery will give you a good chance at a top-of-page, or at least a page one listing, and is descriptive of what you do.


If your business will have a physical location, don't name your business by your location. You never know if and/or when you may move. What if you should lose your lease? What if you need larger quarters? You could end up with Third Street Cleaners located on Main Street.

A San Diego BizMart Article
San Diego BizMart, 2005 – All Rights Reserved

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