A Rose by Any Other Name: The Importance of a Good Business Name

Image of two young businessmen using touchpad at meetingThe name of your business is the first impression potential customers will get, and we all know how important first impressions are. A good business name is the difference between a successful business and a business that successfully drives customers to competitors. Building a business takes a lot of time, money, and effort, so it is crucial that you get the name right the first time. It will be very difficult and probably expensive to change it later.

What to Look for in a Name

Ask yourself the following questions to gauge the strength of any potential names you’re thinking about.

  • Is the name unique? If your name is not unique, or is too close to another businesses name, then it will likely get confused for something else. In some cases, you may even be open to lawsuits if your business name makes you guilty of trademark infringement.
  • Is the name memorable? A good business name is easy to remember and will leave an impression on customers. When customers have trouble remembering the name of your business, they may end up remembering a competitor’s name instead.
  • Does the name describe what your business does? Your business’s name should describe what your company does. Customers that can’t guess what you do by looking at your business name could very well go somewhere else.
  • Could the business or the market outgrow the name? It’s hard to know how much a business or market will change in the future, but try to fashion a business name that will outlast any changes. It could be costly to change it down the line.
  • Can the name be trademarked? Look into the possibility of trademarking a name if you think you’ve got a winner. The Unites States Patent and Trademark Office can help you protect the name of your business from being stolen by competitors.
  • Can the name be branded? Building a brand can be hard work and often takes a lot of cash, but once you’ve got a brand, the momentum of your business name alone can almost guarantee profit. Think about Apple, McDonald’s, Xerox, Microsoft, Nike, etc.


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