So you are now ready to launch that new business or product and you realize that you need a name.
Here are some pointers to ensure that once you’ve chosen a name that it works well for what you’re trying to achieve. Also, we’ll look at a very interesting and unique exercise to help you pick a name.
1. Always check availability by contacting the City/County registrar’s office or your State Controller’s Office to make sure that the name is not already registered. Get it registered as soon as you complete this list of to do’s.
2. Check on trademarks with the US Patent and Trademarks Office at http://www.uspto.gov or the equivalent office in your country. Consider trademarking your name to prevent someone trying to grab it in the future.
3. Check the availability of the corresponding web site or domain name. Make sure that it isn’t in use and doesn’t point to a site whose business you would not want to be associated with (e.g. pornography).
4. If you will be involved in international business make sure that your name when translated does not hold any negative connotations in the foreign language. Chevrolet “NOVA” translated into Spanish means “Won’t Go”…not a great name for a car.
5. Avoid names with multiple meanings; “Natalie’s Body Shop” can mean “Automobile Repair”, “Body Oils” or “A Singles Meeting Place”.
6. Avoid restrictive names that can prevent you from expanding or changing the direction of your business in the future. Example “Pacific Computer Hardware” would have difficulty transforming to selling just software in the future.
7. Avoid words like: “cheap” and “used”. Try instead: “low cost or inexpensive” and “recycled or previously-owned”.
8. Show some creativity. Use something other than your name as all or part of the company.
9. Avoid “AAAA Office Supplies” Very few people use the Yellow Pages these days. They tend to use the search engines on the web (Google) and use the search terms that people use in order to rank businesses in search results pages. Try to use these terms in your company name.
10. Try to include any benefits that your customer derives from your product or service. “Painless Dentistry” sounds very reassuring to me.
Here is a unique way to choose a product or company name and some reading material: Startup Strategy: Picking a Name and Tagline for your Business and also Starting Your Own Business?: 10 Questions to Consider BEFORE You Invest a Dime