Team of three coworkers in a brainstorm meeting with one person writing on a whiteboard.
From a name that's easy to search for to one that translates well across languages, there are several key traits to keep in mind when choosing your business name. — Getty Images/Luis Alvarez

When you’re starting a business, your company’s name is one of the foundational elements. A great business name will stand out to potential customers and help you build a strong brand identity. Here are eight traits to keep in mind if you’re trying to name your business.

It's simple

You want to pick a business name that’s simple and easy for customers to search for. If you think of many of the world’s most popular brands — Apple, Nike, and Target, for example — you’ll notice that these companies have very simple names.

When you pick a business name, don’t try to get creative with the spelling or come up with a name that’s too clever. By doing this, you could get penalized by Google’s algorithm and lose out on potential customers.

If you’re unsure whether your business name is simple enough, consider whether you find yourself explaining it to people. Your company’s name should require very little thought or explanation.

It's memorable

Most businesses have multiple touchpoints with potential customers before a sale finally happens. A customer may stumble upon your website and be interested in what you have to offer, but not be ready to purchase just yet.

That’s why it’s crucial to have a memorable business name. You want your business name to stand out in their minds so they can easily find you again when they’re ready to buy.

[Read more: 10 Examples of Famous Businesses That Changed Their Names]

It's linguistically clean

When choosing a business name, you want to consider how it will translate into other languages. The last thing you want to do is pick a business name with an inappropriate meaning or connotation in another language.

It's scalable

You don’t want to be short-sighted when choosing a business name or pick something that will limit your business in the long run. Avoid picking trendy words that sound good today but could quickly become outdated.

And you want to look for a business name that will still work even if you expand your products and services. If you name your business based on your current services, customers may assume that’s all they can get from you.

You also want to avoid tying your business to a particular city or state. This can cause problems down the road if you're going to expand.

According to one Harvard professor, 95% of all sales are made subconsciously. So, you want a business name that creates an emotional response with potential customers.

It's authentic

Customers value authenticity, so you should look for a name that represents your company’s values and vision. It doesn’t necessarily have to describe what you do, but it should give customers a sense of who you are. It can also provide insight into your brand’s personality and what makes you different from your competitors.

It's emotional

According to one Harvard professor, 95% of all sales are made subconsciously. So, you want a business name that creates an emotional response with potential customers.

Of course, you need to understand your target audience to achieve this. Creating buyer personas and understanding your customers’ pain points will help you find words that create an emotional connection with your audience.

[Read more: How to Find Your Target Audience on TikTok]

It's available

You want to ensure your business name is available and you can obtain full legal rights to it. Many businesses operate under the same name, but you want to ensure that no other companies in your industry have the same name.

You can do a business name search in your state to see if any other companies are operating under that name. And it’s a good idea to do a trademark search with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

[Read more: How to Register a Business Name: 6 Steps to Get Started]

It's unique

You don’t want to pick a business name that’s too "out there," but it should be unique. If you choose a name that’s too generic or similar to many of your competitors, you could end up getting lost in the crowd. For instance, Starbucks is a unique name and easily sets the company apart from other coffee shops.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

To stay on top of all the news impacting your small business, go here for all of our latest small business news and updates.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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Published September 26, 2022