Naming a New Small Business: Tips and Techniques to Finding Business Names

Naming a New Small Business

What’s in a business name? Oft times the very future success of the business depends on the name. There are many dimensions to achieving success when launching a new small business. Quality products and services, a detailed business plan, the effective use of public relations, and marketing that begins with naming the company are just a few must haves.

Below are several helpful tips to determining a new business name as well as a few pitfalls to sidestep.

Business Naming Tips

Deciding to start a new small business is a big decision – one of those life changing decisions. Most small businesses are built upon a particular expertise, service or a particular product. Before setting up the business or marketing plans, use the tips below to help determine a great business name.

  1. A business name should tell the consumer what the business is about. Is the company a manufacturer, a computer service firm, or a marketing consulting company? Use the purpose in the name.
  2. Use the name to convey the qualities or the personality of the business. For example, if the new business sells handmade wood furniture, let the name of the company tell the consumer right up front as in Amish Country Handmade Outdoor Furniture.
  3. Make the name concise so that it communicates the message of the business. Use a name that is distinctive so that it sets the company apart from competitors. And, use a name that those involved with the company will be able to stand behind.
  4. Think about how the name will look on a business card, in a web site address, on marketing materials, in print ads, or on an outdoor sign.
  5. Select a name that is easy to spell, pronounce and sounds good to the ear when consumers hear it on the radio or when they hear it from other customers.
  6. To find effective names, look for descriptive words or phrases that portray the purpose in dictionaries, trade magazines, or business directories.
  7. If an owner’s name is recognizable and respected by the industry, use the name in the small business name.

What Not to Do When Naming a Business

There are a few pitfalls that are easy to fall into when naming a new business including:

  • Using embarrassing spellings or abbreviations.
  • Selecting a name that could be made into a joke or that could be made into an embarrassing acronym.
  • Using a name that is a trademark infringement.

Legal Side of Naming a Business

There are several legal issues involved with establishing a new business name. New business owners need to research and understand trademarks and avoid using names that represent the business as being associated with an already established company. is a web site that provides new startup business owners with definitions and resources that are helpful in researching trademarks, filing, and registering business names on both state and federal levels.

If the business will become a corporation, Limited Liability Company, or a limited partnership, it is best to consult with an attorney that specializes in small business setup.

Marketing Begins with the Business Name

Successful small businesses start marketing as soon as they can. The first step – often the most important step – is in naming the business. What’s in a small business name? If the name is selected based on a specific set of criteria – success.