What’s In a Name?

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You’ve made the exciting decision to start your own business.  You have looked long and hard to recognize the skills that you have, and just as important, the skills that you don’t have.  You know what type of business you want to start.  Now it’s time to choose a name.

Deciding upon your business name (just like picking the names of your children) is very important.  As a small business owner your name-your reputation-will be everything.  Your business name should be one that touches you but it also needs to tell your potential clients exactly what it is you do.  It should also produce a positive response from them.  Keep it simple; it will be easier to remember.  Avoid unusual spellings; you don’t want prospects not to be able to find you on the web because they can’t spell your name.  Some business owners choose to start the name of their business with the letter “A” so that it will appear first on lists.  You might not want to include the name of your hometown unless you are sure you will not move.

Many of us have a good idea what we would name our business, but for those who don’t it might be helpful to check out www.thesaurus.com to look through some starter words.  If you are still stuck there are Business Name Generators on the internet you could review.  Make lists.  Sound the names out. Choose a couple of names that you would be happy with.

Next, take your list of favorites and find out which ones are available.  Be sure to visit the free online resource NOLO for legal information on name and trademark registration.  It is very important that you check with The Thomas Register and the US Patent and Trademark Office to do a trademark search for your list of names.  You want to see if any of them are registered, unregistered, or DBA (doing business as).  If someone else already has the name, you can’t use it.  You also want to look at registered names that are similar to yours.  You would not want your business name to be confused with a business that has an alike name.  Check with your local country clerk’s office to see if your names are registered as another business in your area.  I also did a quick Google search.

After you have decided upon a couple of choices and ensured that they are available to use (not trademarked, registered, or closely associated with another business), ask the opinions of friends, family members, and/or close associates for their opinion of your names.  After I narrowed mine down to 4-5 names, I had family over for dinner.  I provided a “ballot” to each of them with my list of names and asked then to vote for their favorite.  Luckily, the majority chose my favorite name, Another You.

Your business name may be the first impression your potential clients have of you.  People will see it on your business cards, website, and advertising.  A clever name may not tell prospects what you do-which defeats the purpose.  Your goal in naming your small business should be one that you like, one that is easy to remember, and one that tells what you do or the services that you provide.

About the Author:  Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Virtual Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area.  Sheri helps small business owners save time, money and frustration by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks.  Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.    www.anotheryouerrands.com  937-416-2207

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