What’s in a name? 6 tips for choosing the right company name

Evelyn Senyi

Choosing your organization’s name is probably one of the most important decisions you will make when starting your business. The identity you choose will be the public face of the company and your primary marketing tool. Choose correctly and your company will prosper. Choose incorrectly and you may lose valuable time and energy in your marketing efforts.


The name of your business should convey what you do or sell, the culture of the company and what makes it unique. With all this is mind, choosing the right name can be a daunting task.


30 years ago naming your business was as complicated as checking with your local business bureau to see if the name already existed and searching the federal trademark database. Now you have to take into consideration web domains, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. There are millions of small businesses across the internet that you have to contend with for web addresses, search rankings and social media clout. It’s not easy to find unclaimed digital real estate.


To succeed in choosing the right name that is unique and available, you need to think outside the box.


  • Do your research – first, see what else is out there in your industry. What types of names do the industry leaders have? Are they fun, serious or quirky? This will let you know what is accepted and expected in your field. Second, make sure that you don’t choose something that is already taken or very popular. This will make securing a domain name and search rankings in Google difficult.


  • Keep it simple – creativity is great, but make sure that your potential customers can pronounce and spell your name. Using long words from languages other than that of our business can cause confusion and make you hard to find (for example Abrakebabra). Simple names are easy to market and easy to remember.


  • Stick to real words – with so few original names left out there, marketers have taken to creating their own words. While for some (Instagram) this has worked, chances are it will backfire for most. Stick to real, traditionally spelled words when thinking of your name. Names that have no meaning are difficult to market without a lot of paid advertising and are hard to search for.


  • Don’t limit yourself – if you own a cafe on St. Peter’s Street it might be tempting to call yourself St. Peter’s Cafe, but what if you move? Alternatively calling yourself Bob’s Door Repair might limit you if you were ever to expand your business to more than just door repair. Be sure to choose a name that can withstand change and growth.


  • Use keywords – using keywords makes your business easier to find and more marketable online. It also helps customers determine what it is that you offer. East Coffee Company clearly sells coffee or coffee products, so it will be easier for their name to pop up when customers search for “coffee”.
  • Get input – you might think your name is great but you may not have looked at it from every angle. Words that have one meaning for you might mean something very different to someone else. Take the word dog. To some it might mean that cute little puppy down the street. To others it might be a derogatory word for a person they don’t like. Talking to people about your name will allow you to test how it may be received by the general public.

Whatever name you choose, make sure that YOU like it because hopefully you will be using it for a very long time. Make sure to do your homework and check your local business registry to see if the name is already taken.

Evelyn Senyi is a Toronto-based freelance writer, blogger and digital marketer. Through her passion for technology, solid writing skills and creative flare, Evelyn helps individuals, small businesses and not-for-profits share their stories. Visit her website at http://www.evelynsenyi.com to learn more about her services or follow her on Twitter @evelynsenyi

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