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10 mistakes to avoid when naming your new business

Posted by Shivali Anand

April 19, 2022    |     4-minute read (674 words)

What's in a name, anyway? A lot, particularly when it comes to a small business's success. The right name for a company can significantly influence its success, because it conveys the brand’s core essence to customers and possible investors by forging an emotional connection with them and communicating how it is perceived. It also has a significant impact on marketing and branding. Meanwhile, a poorly chosen name could lead to a slew of business and legal complications.

Here are 10 common blunders business owners make when naming their company:

1. Not doing a trademark search – Finding a legal name is one of the most difficult challenges for most businesses. Entrepreneurs invest a lot of effort and money in marketing their businesses only to discover that the names they want are already taken. Remember that the other business owner does not need to file a trademark because they were the first to use the name.

While it is feasible to alter a company's name afterward, doing so can be costly, inconvenient and confusing for consumers. As a result, before deciding on a name, conduct a basic Google search and then check the USPTO website to guarantee that the desired name is accessible.

2. Ignoring social media – In the digital age, it's vital to plan out a company's digital marketing strategy before launch. This involves creating the same social media handles across all platforms so that users have no trouble finding a business regardless of platform. Keep in mind that Twitter only permits short handles.

3. Choosing a name that’s hard to spell, pronounce or understand – To appear sophisticated or unique, sometimes business owners adopt a name that is tricky to spell, hear or speak "On average, companies with short, simple names attract more shareholders, generate greater amounts of stock trading and perform better on certain financial measures than companies with hard-to-process names," according to Harvard Business Review.

4. Not studying rival names – Many business owners are unaware of the importance of brand awareness and therefore do not bother to investigate their competitors' names, especially those in the same sector. A company name should be strategic and unique, able to convey what the firm does and what sets it apart from rivals.

5. Not examining the name's digital presence – Before deciding on a business name, many people forget to look for the top online domain name for their chosen business name. Relevancy and consistency of accessible social handles are also sometimes overlooked, as is checking whether a phishing website or spammer is using a similar name.

6. Ignoring the name's associations – When picking a business name, it's easy to overlook its meaning and associations. Consider basic concerns such as how the target customer will perceive the company name and whether there are competitors using a similar name. 

7. Failure to test the name with your target audience – Naming the business can be a strategic decision for a startup owner. Try out your business cards with your target demographic to ensure the name conveys the desired image. This is also an opportune time to make sure target customers can pronounce the name correctly.

8. Assigning the name to an unnecessarily narrow category – While simple names are preferable, failing to consider the future in terms of expansion can be costly. For example, while a name like "Miami Baseball" is straightforward, easy to pronounce and ideal for SEO, if the company intends to expand geographically, the name could lose its efficacy.

9. Not thinking worldwide – If the company seeks to expand internationally, it is critical to consider how the company name will sound — and what it means — in other languages. In this instance, using the help of a translation service to conduct an international brand analysis could be of assistance.

10. Ignoring inclusion – While business owners want their firms to appeal to as many people as possible, they may inadvertently choose a name that narrows their interest. Thinking about how the name will connect with individuals of all origins, ages and life experiences will attract more customers. 

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