Choosing A Company Name

In starting a new company, deciding on a company name is the most important thing you will do to establish your brand, its identity and everything the company stands for. Don’t be careless in choosing a company name; the name will convey the story that differentiates you from competitors and will be the emotional pull that customers feel about you and your product. 

Your company name signifies everything your company stands for and your brand strategy. Does it reflect your playfulness? Or should it be serious? Is it a tongue twister? A great company name forces people to pause and it should be memorable. For instance, is it a name that people remember a day later or ponder its origins throughout the day because it was a play on words?

To come up with your company name, start brainstorming by listing the emotions you want people to feel when hearing your name. From there, pull out related words and phrases, say them out loud, and write them in different variations to test them out. Check a thesaurus for similar words. Play around with your ideas. Walk away from the project for a little bit and see if anything else pops into your head. Eliminate the names you don’t love or that don’t stir an emotion from you. Then share your short list with a friend or colleague that you respect to get their honest feedback.

Once you have narrowed down the company name to two or three options, you will need to do some research. Check the internet to make sure there is not another company out there with the same name. Do a search for URLs to see if your company name is available, preferably with a .com ending. Investigate the trademark to make sure nobody else has your name. If you are in the US, check with the United States Patent and Trade Office or go to http://www.uspto.gov. All of these preliminary moves take a little bit of time, but are critical steps to take. Your company will lose time, money, and brand identity if another company pops out of nowhere with the same name.

Many entrepreneurs will go with the name that feels right. Some entrepreneurs will conduct a survey or have friends or colleagues do informal voting. Whichever name you decide to go with, start promoting it with gusto. This is the first step in building your brand’s identity.

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