For some, naming a company is easy. However, for the majority of us, this comes through a process. The more thought and time you spend on it at the beginning will help you out in the long term.

Personally, I try to think of a few names. Then I give it a few days, or weeks, to make sure I like it. I’ll bounce ideas off of others until I ultimately come to a conclusion.

Naming your Company After Your Name

Many companies start off by naming their company after their first or last name plus their product. “Patty’s Pickles” is a great example of this. “Smith Plumbing” is another example of this. This is a great way to name a company as it’s both descriptive and it says who you are.

A downside to this decision is that down the road, if you want to retire or sell your company, it could be more difficult. One company I’m familiar with named their clothing after themselves, as Calvin Klein did. They were in large department stores and when he was looking to retire and shift to a new passion in life, he had trouble selling his company. They needed a 5-10 year commitment to transition out of his company, so he ended up selling everything off.

Another con could be that if for some reason your company is started with a partner or family, things can change long term. If the partnership doesn’t work out it can put you in an awkward position.

If you’re a photographer, artist, baker, or designer it can be a challenge to name your company anything other than your name.

Don’t Put Your Company in a Corner

Try not to put yourself in a corner as a company. If you name your company Patty’s Peppers and decide to start selling other canned goods, it can be hard to explain why Patty’s Peppers is now selling apple sauce.

Or you may find that people don’t buy your product, but another product is in need due to various reasons. Being flexible and able to expand or shift with consumer interest easily is a great position to be in.

One example of this is Mailchimp. They have been used for email marketing for years. Now they’re trying to get into other areas. They’re going through a huge, expensive evolution to teach people that they are more than just an email marketing company. But mail is in their name! So be careful when you name your company “Suzy’s Cakes” and then, one day cookies take off. You want to be flexible.

One last way you can put yourself in a corner is to name your company after a location if it is something that may have more locations in the future.

An example of this is if a local market or flower nursery names themselves after the town they’re in. It may be hard to expand to other towns and explain why the the “Bakersville Bakery” is now in Fresno.

Do’s and don’ts

  • Don’t Name your company something non sequitur to your product like “We quit our Jobs for this” which sells knick knacks or “You are amazing” which sells sleeping bags.
  • Do Try for something short and descriptive.
  • Do Use use names that are easy to spell, especially over the phone. Avoid silent or odd letters.
  • Do Pick a name with an available Instagram, website, and other account names. I suggest that you don’t put underscores in your username and consider spelling. At most, put a period in the name. Example: @Pattys.Peppers vs @Pattys_Peppers. If for some reason you decide to put your Instagram on a promotional piece it can be hard to read the underscore, especially if there are lines or the sentence is underlined.
  • Do Make sure it is easy to pronounce.
  • Don’t Go too generic. One company chose Continental even when it was the worst name to name a company! She pulled it off, but be aware of search terms. When you Google Continental you’re going to get an airline and you want people to find you easily.
  • Do Look at city names, street names, packaging, and other names for inspiration when you get stuck trying to figure out a name. I saw a product in my shower called Soap for Sinners and I came up with Markets for Makers.

Trademarks

Before you name your company, you may want to look into the US Trademark Database as well as any State Trademark Database. The reason I mention this is sometimes companies will trademark their names. They have the legal right to force you to change your name down the road.

I knew of one company that had a unique name for their candle company. A year or two in, they had to change their name.

The good thing about Trademarks is that someone may only claim a trademark in a certain category, in a certain state. (They’re expensive!) This means you can still have the same name in a separate state in the same category.

The only caution I give on this is that if you Google your business name and find the same name from two different companies, it may get confusing. Luckily, Google will pull up the results to your search with places that are closer to you unless it’s a national brand.

Find more information on this in a separate Trademarks article in this Topic.

Other Resources & Articles

Check out this Shopify business name generator and these tips for naming your business

Have any cool tricks to making a name that sticks? Leave it in the comments below!

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