One of the hardest tasks for anyone starting a business is choosing a suitable name for their fledgling company. Ultimately, the name of a business can have a significant impact on people’s first impressions of it, so it’s essential that any business owner spends an ample amount of time finding a name that resonates well with customers.
While it is important to know the basics of choosing a name for your business – it should be short, simple, memorable and appropriate – learning from the mistakes of others should also stand you in good stead. With that in mind, here are the business name mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
Splashing the cash on a ‘.com’ domain
Many businesses try to match their business name with the domain name that they are planning to purchase. While it is helpful to have similar names for your domain and your business, some businesses tend to choose a name with an ‘alternative’ spelling, just to obtain a domain that’s available and cheap.
However, it’s worth remembering that there are now cheaper options than a .com, including .shop, .London, .me, and many others. This means you don’t necessarily have to choose a name that is difficult to spell, or spelt incorrectly, just to match your business name with a .com domain name. You can simply pick one of the other options to avoid the higher costs that come with a .com, or simply choose a domain name that’s related to your business, instead of matching it directly with your business name.
Choosing a name that you can’t spell
Sometimes, business owners want their business names to be unique and creative, leading them to choose something that’s out of the ordinary and difficult to spell. Although it might paint your business as ‘unique’, having a name that’s difficult to spell could see you missing out on referrals from one customer to another.
If you cannot relay your business name without writing it on a piece of paper, then scratch it from your options. Being unique and creative is great, but uniqueness and creativity don’t go hand-in-hand with names that are too difficult to spell or pronounce. Remember the basics: make it simple and memorable.
Limiting your business name
Identifying a target market for your product or service is one of the first steps to building a successful business. However, if you target your business name at a niche audience, it might limit your ability to expand into new markets in the future.
Of course, if you don’t have any plans to extend your range of products or broaden your target market, there is no problem having a narrower, more focused business name. On the other hand, if you have your eyes set firmly on expansion, pick a name that will stand the test of time.
Not testing the market
Amid the excitement of starting a business, an entrepreneur can sometimes forget to test their company name with the people who matter most: their customers. You might think you’ve already chosen the best name for your company, product or service, but your target market might think otherwise. The last thing you want to do is register a business name and spend a fortune, just to change your business name later, so create a survey online to see if the name appeals to your target customers.
Choosing the most appropriate and effective name for your business can be tough. You can always hire a marketing expert or connect with a branding or naming professional, but if your budget is limited, you could also engage with freelancers and creatives through crowdsourcing websites such as Squadhelp.
Whatever route you go down, always remember that choosing a name for your business is just the beginning. You may have picked the best name and enticed customers to buy your product or service, but you need to maintain the quality of your offering to retain their custom for the long-term.
About the author
Dan Taylor is responsible for content marketing and branding at Squadhelp, a crowdsourcing platform that lets companies host competitions to find a name and logo. He writes about topics related to startup naming, branding and entrepreneurship.