Selecting A Business Name

STEP 1) CREATING A BUSINESS NAME:

So you’ve made the decision. You’ve got that great idea. You’re ready to leave work and pursue your dream. Your one step away from creating a business. One step away from being your own boss. One step away from becoming an entrepreneur, but you desperately need to create a business name…

A Business Name Should Never Be Taken Lightly.

There are many different things you should consider when creating a name for your business. Depending on what you want to do, where you want to do business, what industry you’re getting into, is the business local, national, or international. Does your company build something, make something, sell something, buy something, trade something, or give something? Each one of these factors can effect what your name should be. Is your business for non-profit? Does your business belong part of a group? Is it a family run business?

Before I get into some samples, I want you to break out a piece of paper and pen. Write down some examples of names that are fitting for your business. Keep all of the names close together so that you can compare, and revisit them often.

Let’s look into some samples affected by the above statements:

Using Your Personal Name:

Within these examples, I will use my name (Martin Lemieux) as an example.

  • Service Based: – Real Estate (Ex. Lemieux Realtor) – Mortgage Broker (The Lemieux Mortgage Group) – Law Firm (Lemieux Law Firm) – Design (Martin’s Design Concepts) – Writing (Lemieux Writing Services) – Corporate (Lemieux Enterprises) – Contractors (Lemieux Building Group) – Renovators (Martin’s Reno Services) – Printing (Lemieux Print Shop)
  • Product Based: – Pizza Place (Martin’s Pizza Delight) – Clothing (Lemieux Fashion) – Toys (Martin’s Toy Shop) – Appliances (Lemieux Appliances)

As you can see, these business name examples all give reference to two things; a) My name, b) What I do. The idea is to personalize your business name with your personal name, and industry. Using your first name or last name doesn’t necessarily matter.

What matters is the fact that you like your name. A business name can be with you until you die, it has the potential to stay in your family for 100’s of years.

Creative Names:

These illustrations will be something off the top of my head just to give you an idea. Each name will be accompanied by a slogan to explain the meaning of the name.

  • Service Based: – Online Promotion (“eMarket Promo” – Internet Marketing Promotion For Your Business) – Graphic Design (“Crystal Graphics Firm” – Graphics that wow people) – Barber Shop (“Clean Cut Barbers” – Haircuts that clean up your style) – Business Networking (“NETeGroup” – Entrepreneurs Grouping For More Business Leads)
  • Product Based: – Hydraulic Systems (“ProHyd Systems” – Professional hydraulics that last) – Pool Cues (“StickBall Cues” – A pool cue that sticks to its game) – Power Bars (“SafeBars” – A power bar safe for the whole family)

A small little play on words, with the combination of small descriptions of your product or service can help you to come up with something a little more creative. Although these names were created within about 10 minutes, take your time, you should never rush these things. A company name should never come to you within minutes. You should let the ideas brew for a while. Even after you think you got the right name, let it sit there, and look at it often. Ask your friends, family, and co-working what they think of your choices.

Local Business Names:

Services that are locally based should carry a name that spells out what they do. It should be simple, and catchy. With these examples, I will use my own location (Hamilton, Ontario) to illustrate what I mean.

  • City Wide: – Lawn Care (Hamilton Lawn Care) – Mortgage Brokers (Hamilton Mortgage Group) – Real Estate (Greater-Hamilton Homes) – Employment Agency (Hamilton Employers)
  • Provincial Wide: – Insurance Brokers (Ontario Insurance Specialists) – Parcel Delivery (Ontario Mailing Systems) – Apple Farm (Apple Trees of Ontario) – Movers (Relocators of Ontario)
  • National Wide: – Baby Clothing (Canadian Baby Wear) – Computers (Computers Made in Canada) – Consultants (Canadian Consulting Group) – Printing (PrintCanada)

Creating a business name to target your local area is a little easier for ideas. Always try to make sure you incorporate your city, province/state, or country into the equation to tell people the exact service area that you provide. Make sure to search online for other companies with the same name. Many local companies opt for this method of choosing a great name, this happens often because of how easy it can become for people to remember your name.

This concludes my business name creating tips. I still have a great deal to teach you about creating a name, but that would require I write a novel, and for this tutorial I want to cover all of the basics, not just one area.

STEP 2) SEARCHING FOR DUPLICATE NAMES:

Once you’ve narrowed your business name list down to 1-5 names, it’s now time to research online to check whether or not someone has taken your name.

Searching online will be different for everyone. There are different ways to search for duplicate business names depending on the type of business you want.

When searching online, you need to determine:

  • 1) Is you business local, provincial/state wide, national, or international???
  • 2) Are you going to trademark / copyright your name? Also…
  • A) Are there other competitors who have the same name?
  • B) Do one of your competitors own a trademark / copyright similar to your name?

1.1) Local:

This is probably the easiest one to find. Usually, you can perform a search within Google/Yahoo/MSN with your business name in quotes like “My Name” in “My City”, “Province/State”, “Country” (Ex. Search for something like “Lawn Care Guys in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada”) to see whether or not you get exact results found for that name. Try the same thing without quotes to get different results. If you do get results found, check within the website to see if these results were “fabricated” by search engines for their results, or if they are actually a real business name.

Don’t forget to look and see if the results match the type of business you want to get into.

The industry you want to get into has an effect on the availability for your name as well. For instance, you could choose “Hamilton Lawn Maintenance” for your business name. After performing a search, I guarantee you that search engines will combine the words “Hamilton”-and-“Lawn”-and-“Maintenance” together to form their results. I’m sure there is a lawn maintenance company from Hamilton. See how that could mix your search results? Searching online is just the start of the game, don’t get discouraged if you initially find some matches.

1.2) Provincial / State Wide:

For this search, you’ll want to perform the same style of searching like I mention within “1.1) Local”, but now you want to remove the “City” within your searches to determine right away if you find a name similar to yours. Again, if you do find results within your search, investigate further by visiting the website(s) found.

If a potential competitor has the exact name you want, scratch the name and forget it. You don’t want to have a legal battle later on for something that can be prevented right now.

1.3) National:

Same thing but only include your “Country” within your searches.

1.4) International:

Simply search for your business name in “Quotes”. Don’t use a country specific search engine like Google.ca, instead use Google.com to perform your searches. By adding the quotes, search engines will be able to give you an exact match for your business name. If other companies have your name, it really won’t matter unless; you’re directly related in the same industry, and whether or not they own copyright to that name.

1.5) Trademark / Copyright:

“A trademark or trade mark[1] is a distinctive sign of some kind which is used by an individual, business organization or other legal entity to uniquely identify the source of its products and/or services to consumers, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.”