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Choosing the Right Business Name

May 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Business Strategy

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When you first start out in business, the name you choose for your company usually is not all that hard to determine. It’s easy, in fact, to launch your business simply using your own name. What happens, though, when your business expands? Many times operating under …


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When you first start out in business, the name you choose for your company usually is not all that hard to determine. It’s easy, in fact, to launch your business simply using your own name. What happens, though, when your business expands? Many times operating under your own name is not the best choice for targeting certain markets.

Your own good name
There is nothing wrong with starting out using your own name. It’s a good idea, in fact, because it helps build name recognition and familiarity with you. Plus it’s easy to expand your company by adding new associates and revising the practice name to include ‘and Associates’ in it.

As time goes on, however, and your business continues to grow and serve new markets, there are some disadvantages (and advantages, of course) to maintaining your name as the business name. Some examples of this include:

Disadvantages:

  • Your name does not reflect the focus of your business
  • Your name may not be as attractive to corporate markets
  • Your name makes it hard to divest yourself or adjust the extent of your role within the company

Advantages:

  • Your name is recognizable and well known
  • Your name is a source of pride to you
  • Your name is simple, straightforward, and easy to use

In most cases, as your company grows and changes the business name should grow and change as well. This is not as easy as it sounds, however, as we will discuss in the next section.

Selecting the right name for your expanded business

When the time comes to select a different name for your company, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind. Whatever name you choose, it will become your brand and your image so it’s important to think carefully about the brand and image you want to project.

Is it unique? – Coming up with a unique name can be very hard. You not only have to be aware of trademarks and other business names, but you also have to ensure the name you select accurately portrays your brand and image. For instance, a name like ‘Successful Accounting’ certainly portrays a distinct image, but is it unique enough to stand out in the market place? On the other hand, a made-up name like is certainly unique but does not do much to support a specific brand or image.

Is it too specific? – The business name must be specific enough to portray your brand, but not so specific that potential customers see it and automatically assume you can’t provide them with the services they need. For instance, if you include your local town in your name or they fact you work with small businesses, corporate clients might not consider you for their needs. Going too corporate, though, might cause smaller clients to view your company as not appropriate for their needs.

Is it easy to find? – Your web site is integral to your business and naturally you have done your best to optimize it for search engines. When you change your business name, though, you need to revisit the SEO of the site in terms of the new name. Choose a name that is too obscure and people will have a difficult time finding you on the web.

Tips and practical advice
There are many different ways to go about choosing a new name for your business, ranging from brainstorming with your associates to hiring professional consultants to make suggestions. Between these two ends of the spectrum there are any number of other processes you might choose to pursue.

Whatever approach you choose, remember that choosing a name is not something you can do overnight, or even in a week or two. It requires time, careful thought, and thorough consideration. It’s much like making a pot of coffee; you put all the ingredients together and start the brewing process, but it takes some time for everything to percolate and turn into a finished pot of coffee.

Choosing the right business name for your company may seem like a lot of work, but in the end it can be well worth the effort. So what do you think? Is it time to think about revising your business name?
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