9 Steps to Creating Your Company Name
Your business name should address what you do and the niche market you will be serving. A clever business name can be an excellent marketing tool to help make your company memorable. Try to avoid confusing names or names with negative connotations.
Try to choose a name that is easy to pronounce and won’t be considered dated years from now. Also, keep in mind that you should probably name your company based on the availability of your domain name. If you want to improve your ranking with the search engines, try to use one or more industry keywords in your domain name.
Begin brainstorming business names, looking in dictionaries, books and magazines to generate ideas. Get friends, relatives, and clients to help. Think of as many workable names as you can during this creative phase.
Tip: Some entrepreneurs select their own name as part of the business name. This can become an issue when you want to sell your business five to ten years down the road.
Tip: A good name is often a combination of two to four words. Make sure it's obvious what business you are in by using the right words in your company name. Too often I have met a business owner and have not understood what they do by their company name.
Steps in the creative naming process:
1. Search online for the names of other companies in your field.
2. Brainstorming options:
Compile a list of words that are associated with your target industry.
Compile a list of words that convey strength.
Compile a list of words that convey growth.
Compile a list of words that are motivating.
Advisors can use my brainstorming tool:
3. Circle some of the words on your list that appeal to you and use them in varying combinations. Add additional adjectives to the words you have compiled. Use your thesaurus to find synonyms for some of the words.
4. Try to come up with at least 5-6 names that you feel good about. By the time you scrutinize them from all angles, you'll eliminate at least half. Keep in mind that the optimum number of words in a name is two to three. Athough, it will be difficult to secure a .com domain name these days unless you go to a four word combination.
5. Make sure the name creates a positive image that would interest your target client and that the name is easy to say.
Something to consider: the domain name should be easy to remember when relaying to a target client. Awkward names combined in a domain name are difficult to relay and remember.
Steps in the official naming process:
6. Make sure the name is available by doing a Trademark search on the federal governments web site: http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm
7. Make sure the name is available in your state. Go to your state’s Corporation Commission website to search availability.
8. Make sure the website domain name is available. Try www.godaddy.com. Dot.com is still the best extension, but it is now becoming more common to use others such as .net and .info. Try not to use .biz like I did - this can cause problems when sending your newsletter to an opt in list. Many web email providers view .biz as a spam site.
9. Begin the official process of setting up your legal entity. Seek tax advice from your accountant and/or attorney about how to proceed.
When you've selected a business name, then it's time to brand your business. Here's a great article I wrote about Financial Advisor Branding. It's easy to apply the concepts in the article to any industry.
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