The Dont’s and Do’s of Naming a Business

Photo Credit: Flickr photo by bruce grant

Dont use a generic name. Generic names equal generic brands. Advanced Glass & Mirror is just another place that installs glass.
Do use unexpected names. The most famous example is Starbucks, which took it’s name from a character in Moby Dick.

Don’t use initials. JWT could be grain and feed store, or it could be a famous advertising agency. It has no meaning. Business names that use initials are less memorable.
Do use your name. It’s ok to use your name. It puts your personal stamp of approval on the business. Butler Graphic Design is the place that’s owned by…yep Butler. Just make sure you have an easy name to pronounce.

Don’t be too literal. The Ultra Fit Gym.
Do use synonyms and metaphors. Iron Hammer Gym.

Don’t involve too many people. You are not going to find a name that everyone likes. The more people you try to please, the less interesting your name will be. It’s called compromise. Keep the committee small, or better yet, just you.
Do test the name. However, don’t go to the expense of naming your business without running it by some people. Remember the Chevy Nova? No va means “will not go” in Spanish. Also, sometimes people just don’t get what you get.

Don’t name your business too soon. It’s exciting to name your business. It’s more important to get it right. Take your time.
Do create your brand promise before you name your business. Your business name should be representative of your brand. If your brand promise is based on speedy response, you can use the above techniques to create a name that says speed.

What would you add? How did you name your business?

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