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How To Choose A Unique Name For Your New Business

Starting a business is an adventure and a challenge. But there are few aspects more headache-inducing than picking the perfect name for your venture. 

It needs to be unique, catchy, captivating, instantly recognizable. You’ll be looking at it every single day for years. It’ll be on your products, your letterhead, and your merchandise. And lastly, you need a .com domain

So how do you go about choosing it? Here’s how! 

Brainstorm Meaningful Names 

To start with, it’s time for an epic brainstorming session. Use pencil and paper, or your laptop and a spreadsheet. 

And give yourself time. 

Picking a business name is a crucial decision. You don’t want to hurry it. 

Assemble ideas for names based on your niche, your products, or your services. Play with syllables, acronyms, and synonyms. 

Try to avoid names that are cryptic or hard to spell. They might be intriguing, but can cause considerable administrative nightmares down the line. 

If you feel like you’ve hit a wall in terms of creativity, consider using a business name generator

Check to See if the .com Domain is Available 

Once you’ve got a list of ideas, it’s time to start winnowing them down to a few prime candidates.

The first step in that is to do a thorough internet research.

See if any companies already exist with the same name you thought of, and if they provide the same kinds of services. 

Also check if the .com domain name for each name is still available. While alternatives (.biz, .net etc.) exist, customers tend to trust websites with a .com domain more. 

You can check which domains are still available using tools such as GoDaddy or Network Solutions.

Similarly, check on social media channels that you’re planning to use for your business if the required handles (or usable variations) are still available. 

Conduct a Trademark and Secretary of State Research 

As a next step, see if any companies are already registered under the same name you’re thinking about – or similar ones. 

In the US, you can conduct a search on USPTO.gov. This will let you know if you can get a trademark or service mark for the name you’re considering. 

Furthermore, if you’re in the US, you’ll probably also want to structure your business as an LLC or a corporation. 

If that’s the case, you should do a search in the records of the Secretary of State to make sure that no similarly-named businesses are already registered. Often, this can make it impossible to register your business under your chosen name. 

Get Feedback from Friends, Family, and Potential Customers 

Finally, once you’ve narrowed down your list of candidates to a select few, it’s time to get feedback from others. 

Start with your trusted circle of friends and family and ask what they think about the different names you’ve picked. 

Getting an outside perspective like this is invaluable. Names that sound fantastic to you might seem bland or overly complicated to someone else. 

In addition, getting feedback like this can help you check that there are no unpleasant associations with the different names that you might not know about. 

Similarly, try to ask people who speak different languages what they think. 

In many cases, business names that sound fancy in one language can have a completely different meaning – and embarrassing meaning – in another. Just ask the makers of the “prostitute” smartphones, “fart” candy bars, “barf” detergent, and “pee” cola. 

The Bottom Line 

Picking a business name is no easy task. But with some extensive brainstorming, followed by methodical research and outside feedback, you’ll be able to pinpoint a name that’s both memorable and unique – and a solid foundation for success.