Your business name could be the first impression that potential customers have of your company. A strong, memorable name can help to establish your brand and set you apart from your competitors. Conversely, a poorly chosen name can be confusing, hard to remember, or even offensive, making it difficult for customers to connect with your brand.
Here are some common mistakes to avoid when naming your business so you get it right the first time.
Adding Too Much Complexity
Your business name should be simple, pronounceable, and easy to spell. Adding complexity for complexity’s sake is a mistake that could cost you potential revenue dollars.
This consideration is especially important as voice search and podcast advertising becomes more prevalent. If a customer can’t pronounce your brand name correctly or sound it out phonetically, you may lose out on their business. Consider using a business name generator to help you choose a name that conveys your branding without confusing potential customers.
Choosing Something Similar
Searching the state and federal business name registries and trademarks is an integral step of the business registration process. The flaw with this approach is that the process typically restricts you from choosing something the same, not something similar. Additionally, you could use the same name as another business if it’s only registered in the state, not federally.
Not only does having a similar name to another brand make it difficult to stand out and market your business, but it also creates the potential for legal trouble. If you share a name with a sandwich stand on the other coast and they decide to franchise and register federally, they could legally force you to change your business name.
Avoid this potential complication by differentiating yourself from other businesses and registering federally as soon as possible.
Choosing Something Irrelevant
Some brand names are so well-known and impactful that the relevance to their product seems irrelevant. When you hear the brand name “Apple,” you know it’s referring to computers and smartphones, not fruit.
The world has evolved tremendously since many well-known brands have come to fruition. Furthermore, it takes years to generate brand awareness and become a household name. As such, it’s important to choose a name that’s relevant to your brand’s offering.
Keep in mind that you can register a formal business name and a Doing Business As (DBA) name. For example, Apple’s formal company name is Apple Computers Inc.
Failing to Consider Negative Connotations
Take a close look at your proposed business name and consider how it could be abbreviated, shortened, or rhymed to create a negative connotation.
Many companies in the US touted the name “Isis” either within the business name or as an abbreviation, primarily referencing the Egyptian deity. It’s a solid strategy — for context, Nike is named after the Greek goddess of victory. The problems arose when the name became associated with a terrorist group.
Of course, you can’t prevent negative connotations from developing in the future. However, you can set yourself up for success now and avoid anything that could force a name change later.
A business name should be relevant, simple, and unique. Avoid these common naming mistakes to set your brand up for success.