Experts and business owners explain the most common mistakes people make when naming a business so you can avoid them. Looking back at naming near misses is funny. It also shows how important it is to pick the right name for your business. As well as how easy it is for even smart entrepreneurs to almost go horribly, hilariously wrong. For instance if a company is designing signage just like custom neon signs it will create the name accordingly.
That’s why we gathered the best piece of advice from top branding experts and real-world stories from entrepreneurs to guide you through the most common mistakes founders make when selecting a title for their new startup.
One of the very first things new customers notice about your business is its name. It’s your 1st opportunity to make them happy and interested, and to tell them what the most important thing about the service or product you sell is. And because people make long-term decisions about brands so quickly, the name of your business is a good step towards creating customer loyalty that will last.
1. They don’t do their research about the law.
Let’s start with what you already know. Almost every business owner and expert I talked to about naming a business told me the same thing: don’t get too attached to a name before you know it can be trademarked and that someone else hasn’t already used it.
“The biggest mistake that a lot of businesses make is trying to come up with a name that they can use legally. There are so many trademarks in the world that it’s very hard to find one that you can use “Tim Calkins, an expert on branding at the Kellogg School of Management, says this. Most identifying projects land on a checklist of absolute favorites only to find none of the ideas seem to be available.
“You need to find out about the problems there as soon as possible. Nothing is more annoying than having to change a name after the fact. It makes people confused.
They don’t check to see if the name is online.
Can you get the best domain name for the name of your business? Are relevant, consistent social handles available? Is a spammer already using a similar name, so that when customers try to find you, they end up with a “Nigerian prince” or the wrong product? In the digital world we live in now, it’s almost as important to check if a name is online as it is to make sure it’s available legally.
Experts say that you shouldn’t worry excessively about domain names. “No one expects a business to have a domain name that is the same as its business name. It’s fine to use a word to describe something else.
2. They put their business in a box.
Businesses have always done better with clear names. For example, a sign that says “Dentist” will bring in more customers with toothaches than one that says “Smith Corp.” Thanks to Google’s popularity, clear names are even more appealing now.
But while a name like “Springfield Roofing” might be good for SEO, it can make it hard to grow if you ever want to add more services or locations.
Just ask Joey Randazzo, who started the Portland SEO Growth marketing company. “My company has grown quickly, and we are now opening offices in other cities. It would be weird for a business called “Portland SEO Growth” to be in Las Vegas “he said to Inc.com. “The idea of transforming my name to SEO Growth Partners is painful, takes a lot of time, and costs a lot of money.”
The same principle still applies with business names that are overly specific about the services you offer. You might think that calling yourself “Main Street Math Tutoring” is a good way to let people know what you do, but that name will hurt you if you ever decide to offer SAT prep or French as well.
3. They picked a name that doesn’t mean anything.
Names that say too much can be limiting, but so can names that don’t say anything. The best naming agency, Lexicon, says that a company’s name should say something about its values or attitude, even if it doesn’t describe what the business does directly.
“The name needs to be meaningful in some way. But this is tricky and can be misleading because most people think of names that are informative or strongly suggestive when they hear the word “relevant.” In some cases, this is true, but relevance can also be shown by how someone acts or who they are connected to. Consider Google. Consider Apple. These names don’t mean anything, but they show important attitudes, “the company says.
4. They come up with a difficult phrase to say.
Centralized Corporate Interests isn’t just incredibly dull. It commits another ultimate sin of business naming—long.
Investors like companies with names that are short and easy to say. Customers do too. “We are inclined to dislike things, or view them as less good or riskier, if they are tougher to mentally process,” Green explains. “It’s not on purpose.” So, if you have to choose between a word with a lot of syllables and one that is easy to say, don’t choose the word with a lot of syllables.
5. They don’t care about everyone.
Entrepreneurs want as many people as possible to be interested in their businesses, but Watkins says that sometimes they choose a name that makes it harder for people to be interested.
Don’t just think about how a business name will make you and people like you feel. Think about the way the name will sound to people of different ages, orientations, and personal experiences. Before you make a decision, find out what other people think.
Similar to what was said above, if there is any chance you will ever sell in international markets, you ought to believe how your name sounds in other languages as well as English. It might be a good idea to have a translation agency do a global product name study for you. sign shop Birmingham experts can give you guidance on this.
This is particularly important if you do all of your business online, since your customers could be anywhere in the world. The top business names are easy to understand, easy to remember, and leave room for growth. They also set you apart from your competitors and make sense to you. After all, it’s your business.
Because naming a company depends so much on your own ideas and tastes, we thought the best way to demonstrate how to name a business was to show you how to avoid making eight common mistakes. Once you know what they are and how to prevent unnecessary them, you can let your imagination run wild and come up with a name that you and your customers will love.