How to Choose the Best Business Name: An 8-Step Guide

choose perfect business name

Choosing a name for your business is an important branding decision that can influence how potential customers perceive your company. The right business name needs to resonate with your target audience, communicate what you do, and stand out from competitors.

Follow this comprehensive, 8-step guide to choosing a catchy, memorable, and legally available business name.

Step 1: Brainstorm Extensive Name Ideas First

Don’t settle on the first business name you think of. Brainstorm a large list of potential names using strategies like:

Describe your business’ purpose or specialty: e.g. Precision Landscaping, Budget Books Accounting, Clearpoint Software Solutions

Incorporate important keywords: e.g. Pacific Northwest Landscaping, Accounting for Small Businesses

Create unique but meaningful words: e.g. Hulu (entertainment streaming), Verizon (plays on horizon)

Use founder names: e.g. Johnson’s Bakery, Wilson’s Grocers, Gates Tech

Add location: e.g. Austin Bikes, Tulsa Clothing Co., Vermont Coffee Roasters

Aim for at least 10-15 contender names to start. Avoid limiting yourself initially.

Step 2: Evaluate Names Against Key Criteria

Once you have a pool of options, it’s time to narrow them down by what makes a good business name:

Easy to remember and spell: Brand recall is important. Names like Slack or Spotify are catchy and memorable.

Relevant to your industry: Your name should fit your brand identity and offerings. “Lipsy” works for a cosmetics company.

Unique but clear in meaning: Create your own distinct name like Hulu or Verizon, but ensure it communicates what you do.

Distinct from competitors: Your name should differentiate you in the marketplace. Ex. Airbnb vs. VRBO.

Step 3: Check Legal Availability

You’ll want to trademark your business name to protect your branding. Use the USPTO’s free TESS search tool to see if a name is legally available for use in commerce.

Also Google the name and look for existing businesses or trademarks using it. The goal is to avoid potential disputes down the road by verifying a name isn’t already taken.

Step 4: Secure Relevant Domain Name

Your business name domain is the foundation of your brand identity online. Once you have a shortlist, see if the .com domain for each name is available for purchase.

The availability of the domain can help decide between top contenders. A rare .com domain can be worth investing in for branding.

Step 5: Check Availability on Social Media

Beyond the domain, search if your potential business names are available as handles on relevant social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Facebook.

Securing active accounts with your business name helps establish your brand.

Step 6: Get Outside Feedback from Target Audience

Get unbiased input on your shortlisted options. Ask friends, mentors, and potential customers which names stand out the most.

See if the name elicits the image of your brand. Great feedback can help resolve any tying options.

Step 7: Decide on The Final Business Name

With extensive brainstorming, vetting, and outside opinions, you can now confidently decide on the business name that ticks all the boxes.

Trust your judgment. The right name will feel aligned with your brand identity and make sense for your audience.

Step 8: Register Your Business Name

The final step is making it official. Register your business name with the proper state authorities. This gives you legal ownership of the business name.

Also buy the domain name and register branded social media accounts. You’re now ready to roll out your new business name!

Choosing a memorable and meaningful business name takes time and creativity. Use this 8-step guide to discover a name that resonates with your customers and establishes your brand vision.

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