So you have decided to start your own business and now you need to come up with a name for it. Choosing an appropriate name for your business is an important decision and may affect whether your business is successful. Your business name should not only reflect who you are (your type of business, service, brand or merchandise, etc), but also be unique, memorable and marketable. You want a name that people will easily remember and identify with your business. Consequently, choosing a business name is a decision that warrants much attention.

What Makes a Good Business Name?

While there is no straightforward answer to this question, there are a number of different types of business names that you should consider before deciding on a name. For example, you may may want to use your family’s name. The effectiveness of this strategy generally hinges on the reputation of the family’s name in the community and is often used to convey warmth, freshness, hospitality, and a homegrown atmosphere.

You may also want to create a completely new or abstract name for your business. The benefits of creating an abstract name are that consumers will not have any preconceived thoughts or ideas about your business.  By creating an abstract name for your business, you are essentially creating a blank slate from which consumers will be able to fill in the blank with their own impressions and observations of their experiences.  On the other hand, if your name is too abstract, consumers may not know what your business is and may instead opt for a business they recognize.

The solution to this problem is to create a name that is informative of your business. An informative name tells the consumer what your business is or does, and immediately establishes an identifiable product for the consumer. The benefit of an informative name is that the more your name communicates to consumers what your product is, the less explaining you will have to do.

The reality is any type of name can be effective as long as you choose a name that will reinforece the key elements of your business.

What Other Factors Should I Consider in Choosing a Business Name?

Before finalizing a name for your business, there are a some additional factors that you need to keep in mind. First, you may want to consider applying for trademark protection for your business name. A trademark is used to distinguish one product and its manufacturer from another, and will prevent another business from confusing consumers by using your name.

You should also know if your proposed business name is available or if it has already received trademark protection by another business.  To do this, you will need to conduct a trademark search.  Similarly, if you intend on creating a website for your business, you will want to conduct a search of available domain names. In general, the closer your domain name is to your business name, the easier it will be remembered and later found by consumers. If a similar domain name is unavailable and you plan on creating a website that will serve an important function in your business, you may want to chose a different name.

Should I Speak with an Attorney Before Selecting a Business Name?

Yes. Before you make your decision final, you should speak with an experienced business attorney who can inform you of the availability of your proposed name, and help you through the process of registering and receiving trademark protection. Once you have secured protection, an attorney can help notify you if another business is using or diluting your trademark without your permission and inform you of your remedies.

Remember, choosing the right name for your business is an important decision that will have many implications, and an experienced attorney can help you make your name your most valuable asset.