How to choose a name for your small business

Editorial Team

4 min read
Man with pen, notepad, and laptop

Offering great products and services at affordable prices is how you generate sales. Customer engagement is how you keep people coming back for more. As much as the product, customer service, and experience you offer is important, it’s your business’s name, along with all the marketing behind it, that ultimately generates interest and helps get customers in the door.

This article explains how to come up with a business name that resonates with your target audience and helps to drive traffic.

Business naming conventions

Although there is no official formula for choosing a name for your business, below are some best practices to guide you.

1. Think about why your business exists

Take some time to brainstorm what problems your business solves – and what types of people might be facing those problems. Whatever name you choose should reflect what your business does.

2. Connect the name to the story

Your business has a story to tell – i.e., some unique twist that makes your store different from every other competitor. This uniqueness should also be reflected in your name. Use your brand name to signal what type of consumers you hope to attract, whether your target audience is budget shoppers looking for a great deal or health-conscious pet owners willing to pay a premium for organic food.

3. Keep it simple yet descriptive

Many people have short attention spans, so avoid choosing a clever name that requires too much thinking.

4. Choose a name that is easy to pronounce

Because word-of-mouth marketing is essential for long-term growth, it’s imperative to choose a business name that anyone can easily pronounce and share. Since many of your future customers might find you via an internet search, it’s also important your business name is easy to spell and type.

5. Pick a name that isn’t already taken

Every state has laws preventing two or more companies in the same niche from using the same or similar names. If there’s already a hardware shop in your state called “Zenith Supplies,” you won’t be able to use any variation of this name for your store.

How do you know whether a business name is already taken? Keep reading to learn the answer.

Marketplace considerations when picking a business name

The whole point of choosing a name is to distinguish your offerings in a crowded marketplace. Even if having a unique name weren’t a legalrequirement, you’d still want to stand out.

Fortunately, there are free online resources to help you quickly check business name availability within each state. The U.S. Patent Office also has a searchable trademark database.

It is recommended not to buy a domain name or set up any social media accounts until you’ve verified whether your desired name is available. Otherwise, you might spend more time undoing your work if your preferred name is already taken.

Why your business name is important

First impressions matter a lot. Choose the right name, and your target audience should instantly understand what you do, why you exist, and the value you deliver. Pick the wrong name, and your ideal clients may bypass your physical or virtual storefront without ever taking notice.

The importance of your business name isn’t limited to garnering interest from casual browsers. It also influences the reach your business enjoys through word-of-mouth marketing, social media engagement, and general press coverage.

Practical aspects of choosing a business name

Assuming you’ve covered all the bases by picking an available and pronounceable name that describes what you do, reflects your brand, and resonates with your core audience, you’re ready to make it official.

This means registering your business name in your home state. We’ve written a dedicated article on how to do that. It’s also common for businesses to use shorter, catchier names for marketing and longer ones for legal purposes. If you plan on doing something similar, read our post on filing a “doing business as” name.

You’ll also need to apply for an employer identification number (EIN) at this stage – using the IRS online application form. In addition to paying taxes, you’ll need this EIN for everything from opening a business banking account to securing a merchant account to accepting payments on your POS system.

Hopefully you have a better understanding of how to come up with a business name. The sooner you officially lock one down, the sooner you can launch your business and start attracting customers.

When you’re finally ready to make that first sale, let us know. At Clover, we specialize in scalable point-of-sale and payment solutions specifically designed for entrepreneurs and startups looking to grow their operations.

To learn more about our approach to fast and convenient business management and payment processing services, contact a Clover Business Consultant today.

This information is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial, or tax advice. Readers should contact their attorneys, financial advisors, or tax professionals to obtain advice with respect to any particular matter.

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