Small Business Names: Dos and Don’ts

What’s in a name? Oh, just about everything! Naming a small business may seem initially pretty easy. However, there’s a lot that goes into the process for small business names. Everything about the new trademark, from its name availability to its spelling, needs to be taken into consideration.

Ready to begin naming a small business? Before you get started, you’ll want to avoid making rookie mistakes. Follow these helpful dos and don’ts for small business names to ensure your name fits the business.

DO… Say small business names out loud.

How does the name of your business sound when you say it out loud? How about if you ask a friend to say it out loud? Is it easy to say? Does it sound aesthetically pleasing? Is it meaningful? Can you tell after you have heard the name what your business does? Small business names are used on tons of marketing and advertising materials for the startup, ranging from business cards to social media handles. It’s important that the name is easy to pronounce and associate with your offerings and services.

DON’T… Overcomplicate the process.

Sometimes the quest to create a unique business name becomes too complicated. A rookie mistake made with small business names are names that are too long and difficult to spell. The name may be unique, but will consumers still remember it’s the name of your business or get confused?

Keep small business names simple. Make it easy to spell out, short, and consistent. Remember that simple doesn’t mean generic either. Small business names should not be created solely with search engines in mind. The name should be memorable and creatively express what your company does in its industry.

Not every entrepreneur thinks to research small business names and verify their existence. This name is now a trademark for your brand. As a result, you need to conduct a trademark name search.

Conducting a name search provides several benefits to small business owners. It gives them the peace of mind in knowing, after they look up the name in the United States Patent and Trademark Office database, what its availability looks like. If there’s a pending application for that mark or another brand is currently using it, they will not be able to file for a trademark. That’s important to know, too. Once you know the mark isn’t available, you don’t need to worry that your business name will infringe on someone’s existing mark. Instead, you may go back to the drawing board and brainstorm new small business names.

What happens if the name is currently available for use? Then, you may file a trademark application. This allows you to federally register the mark and claim the name for your own usage. Guess what happens when your business name is available, and you file to trademark it? You, and only you, have exclusive rights to the mark. That means no other business may use your business name, or a copycat version of it, for their own personal use.

DO… Take care of your online presence.

Once your business name has received its trademark registration, you’ll need to put the wheels in motion for your online presence. Register for a domain name (ideally, in a “dot com” format) as soon as possible so you may set up your company website. Additionally, make sure the social media handles for your business are available. Some of these may require slight variations, depending on availability, so make sure the changes are subtle.

For instance, let’s say you own a bakery called “Bake Place.” If the Instagram handle for @bakeplace is already taken, you may try @thebakeplace instead. It’s a subtle variation that allows you to establish and use these social handles under a name that’s close to your business.

DON’T… Rush through it.

Naming your company is one of the most important first steps for any business. Small business names set the foundation for establishing a brand. This is a company that consumers may trust in and advocate for its mission and values. Take your time naming a business. Don’t rush through it or dismiss its importance. When in doubt, go back to the startup’s roots. Remember what you’re doing and why it matters to consumers and create a business name that reflects it.