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The Power of a Name: Crafting the Perfect Name for Your Company

Woman brainstorming ideas with sticky-notes on a wood-paneled wall.
PHOTO: Lala Azizli on UNSPLASH

At some point early in your entrepreneurial journey, you contemplated company names. From the cute to the corporate, it’s likely you’ve forgotten more than you’ve seriously considered. Today, branding is more important than ever. It can communicate everything from your actual product, to the company culture, and it’s the first impression you’ll make on any potential customers. Today we’ll consider the power of a name and what goes into naming your company. 


First things first, no matter how perfect your company name is, if it’s already taken, you can’t use it. Once you have that clever moniker picked out, run a cursory internet search. If that gives you the all clear, seek out a trademark or copyright attorney, or even use an online service to secure the rights to your trademark, and prevent someone else from legally using it. Imagine if you’ve sunk thousands into printing, manufacturing, design, and contracts, only to find there’s another org calling themselves the same thing.  Before you land on something you really like, make sure you have your next steps lined out so you aren’t disappointed, or worse- the target of a lawsuit or even a nasty cease-and-desist. 

When brainstorming names, it helps to have your brand identity and audience in mind. First impressions matter, so don’t go too obscure. Evaluate your names for memorability, pronounceability, and scalability. Solicit feedback from trusted advisors or focus groups. It’s important here to remember not to seek advice from friends or family, who may not be as constructive with their criticism for fear of hurting your feelings. Here you need the input of other successful individuals.

Make sure to say the name out loud, and have others do so, too, to avoid any unintended meanings or connotations. Make sure it’s neither overly complicated nor too generic.

Double-check your trademark status.

Buy the domain name as soon as possible, and it might not hurt to buy several variations. You can always direct them to your main site to catch the poor spellers or SIRI mistakes. 

You might also wish to search the main social media sites to see if your name is taken, and whether those that are similar could be problematic. 

Even though you’re just starting out, always consider Future You: Give yourself room to expand internationally if that’s something you might want to do. Conversely, something hyper-local might better suit you, if you are providing a service that is specific to your area. 

Something else to consider is how well your name translates into an effective logo. There are plenty of examples here: McDonalds, Starbucks, most passenger vehicles. A logo is just as important as choosing a name, albeit far more complicated. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you have secured your name before you start paying for logo design. 

When deciding to start a business, naming it can be one of the most fun aspects of the whole process, and the most permanent, so it behooves you to apply due diligence here, to make sure it’s both acceptable and available, and that it’s something you can live with long-term


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