You have an outstanding business idea, and all the models you have made are pointing toward success. There is just one thing standing between you and your business launch: a name.
Your business name is one of the most important decisions you can make, which is why so many entrepreneurs put this vital task off until the last minute. As you race to find a name that fits your business concept, you should avoid making the following mistakes that could doom you to business failure.
Stealing Another Brand’s Name
As of March 2021, there were over 31.7 million small businesses across the United States — and after the Great Resignation, that number has likely skyrocketed. It is becoming more and more difficult for entrepreneurs to think of creative and catchy company names that are not already taken by some other business elsewhere in the country, but it is nonetheless critical that you invest in a name used only by your brand. Once you have a few name options, you should investigate how to trademark a name to determine that you are the only business interested in operating under that moniker.
Being Too Descriptive
A descriptive name might perfectly fit your business products and values today — but it might not come close to describing your business operations in the future. Many highly descriptive organizations must endure rebranding at some point to better align their name and logos with their current services and philosophies, but rebranding is expensive and risky. It is far safer to be less descriptive in your name from the start, so your name can continue to cover your company no matter what changes occur.
Being Too Generic
Generic names can effortlessly communicate what a company does — like Cars.com or Hotels.com. However, names that are too generic tend to turn consumers off, as they are not catchy enough to pique consumer interest. You want your company name to garner attention from your target audience, so you should try to add some creativity into the generic names you are considering.
Failing to Research Competing Names
Often, consumers come to associate a certain industry with a certain company naming convention. If your brand name does not adhere to this convention, you might lose customers who do not expect a business to break the naming norm. Thus, you should spend some time analyzing the names of various competitors in your marketplace to determine whether there is a pattern you should follow — and to better identify ways to differentiate your company from the pack.
Using a Creative Spelling or Pronunciation
It might feel edgy to spell your company name in an unexpected way, with dropped vowels or eccentric letters like z, q and y. However, especially creative spellings and pronunciations are almost always a bad idea as they make it much more difficult for consumers to communicate to and about your business. You want your brand name to be effortless for both you and your customers, so you should try to avoid strange and irregular spellings and pronunciations as much as possible.
Making the Name Too Long
The human attention span is short (and getting shorter), and few consumers have patience for reading, reciting and remembering a long business name. The best business names are two words or less, with three syllables total or fewer. Even more importantly, your business name needs to fit into the space allocated for usernames and handles across social media, so you should be careful to select a name that is no longer than 15 characters.
Allowing Domain Availability to Decide
In the Digital Age, your business cannot operate without a digital address, which means you will need to buy a domain to house your company website. A large number of domains have already been taken, and many domains that remain available are exceedingly expensive. Thus, some entrepreneurs opt to name their business based on the domain they can acquire quickly and cheaply. This is a mistake because it takes away your agency as a business leader. You should consciously choose a name that you believe will effectively define your organization into the future.
A name is so much more than a name. The more careful you are in choosing your business name, the greater success you will enjoy into the future.