How to Choose a Business Name


As far as making first impressions go, it seems like your business name is right up there. So you've spent a lot of time soul-searching, brainstorming, sweating up the perfect business name.


And then, when you do, what happens?

"I'm in a panic. The name I really want for my business is taken! What do I do?" That's what one of my clients wrote to me recently. What should she do?

Sticky, sticky, stuck.

It's our nature as human beings to get attached to things. We like what we like, and that's that.

However, what you get attached to, and what your client gets attached to, are often two separate things. You may sweat, building up calluses on your finger tips, and writing a box of pens dry of ink coming up with your business name.

You print it up on business cards, letterhead, a website. You shave it into the fur of your cat, and tattoo it on your forehead. (Please, don't do that to your cat, or your forehead.)

And then what happens?

Years later, you're still hearing people refer to your business as "Oh yeah, what ... does, you gotta talk to her." (Your name is ... - isn't it?)

Despite all of your hard work, your business name has disappeared up in smoke. Enough to make you want to chew your boots, eh?

IBM. Hewlet-Packard. Laidlaw. 3M.

How boring can you get? These names are dull. There's no amazingness, or specialness about any of them.

Huh? It didn't make a difference? They were able to make an impact on the marketplace anyway?

That's right. I'm not saying that these companies are examples of the highest expressions of human good. I'm just saying that their names didn't slow them down.

What's more important than your business name?

Save your blood, sweat, and ink for how you name your offers.

How your name your offers will have a much bigger impact than how you name your business. And, because your offers will be on a webpage within your business, then you don't have to worry whether the domain name is already taken.

But I still need to name my business!

Well, okay. Let me give you a few tips on picking a name.

Keys to Naming Your Business

• Do you like your name?

There's nothing wrong with naming your business after yourself. (William) Hewlett-(David) Packard is a fine example of that.

That's how your clients are going to think of you, anyway. Smith and Associates. Johansen Consulting.

Similarly, if your business is local (or even if it's not), you can name it after where you are located. Beaumont Health Clinic. Rose City Chiropractic.

Simple. Easy. Memorable.

• Odd couples.

Another way is to pick mismatched, unrelated, or opposing words to go together. Heart of Business. Psychotactics. Monk at Work.

This creates something memorable, hooks up new associations in the listener's mind. And, there's more of a chance that the domain name may be available, simply because it's a weird combination.

• And about those domain names.

Easy-to-spell is better than short. Google, although it's short, too, won the search engine wars in part because it was just easier to type and spell than 'Lycos,' which was shorter, or 'Alta Vista' which was a little confusing.

A website name like 'the_best_consulting_company.com' is going to be easier for someone to remember to type in, than something clever like 'chronicity.com' (Was that, 'chronosity' or 'kronocity' or 'chronisaty?')

Take a load off your shoulders, and don't fret too much about your business name. Have fun, be creative, but keep it simple.




Mark Silver is the author of Unveiling the Heart of Your Business: How Money, Marketing and Sales can Deepen Your Heart, Heal the World, and Still Add to Your Bottom Line. He has helped hundreds of small business owners around the globe succeed in business without lousing their hearts. Get three free chapters of the book online: http://www.heartofbusiness.com