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Choosing a Company Name — 5 Tips

One of the first steps in establishing a company is choosing a name. This is a critical step, greatly impacting marketing, operations, and ultimately, success.

Unique and memorable

It doesn't need to be anything fancy, but it needs to be unique. Do a Google search on the name you choose. Ideally, nothing should show up. For example, I just looked up Mary's Cleaning Service, and all of the entries on the first page of Google were for different businesses. If you chose that name, someone looking for your business online may have a hard time finding it.

Easy to spell and pronounce

When talking on the phone, it's much easier to just tell someone a name than to have to spell it for them. The spelling problem applies to pleural words and punctuations too. Jose Espinosa Graphics 'n Design might seem like a nice graphic design place, but it might run into some problems. Is Jose with an accent or not? Is is spelled Hosay or Jose? Is is Espinoza or Espinosa? Is there an "s" at the end of Graphics or not? Is the "'n" spelled with the "'" or "and"? Can you even put an apostrophe on a credit card, and do you have to spell it out for the state registration?

Ranks low in the alphabet

You'd be surprised how many lists are alphabetized. If you are listed near the top, you would have a better chance of being seen. If I'm going through a phone book, and there are 50 auto detailing places, I might only call the first 5 places.

Domain name is available in .com

Even if you plan to be a local business, you need to have a .com presence. That means your company name needs to be available as a domain name. You don't want to have to be the company that puts a hyphen in their name because someone else has it. You don't want to be the one with the .net or .biz name because someone else has the .com. Once you buy the .com, you may also want to buy the .net, .biz, and .co. Plus, you will also want to buy any potential misspellings of your name. We have all of the following, for example, and they all redirect to the same place: sleepphones.com sleephones.com sheepphones.com sleepphone.com

Descriptive of your brand

The bulk of what you do needs to be in the name. If you provide sewing services and alterations, you can't name your place Martha Baker Services, even if your last name is Baker. People will expect you to bake pies for them. If what you do is in the name, it would be much easier for people to remember you and what you do. In retrospect, could we have chosen a better name for AcousticSheep, LLC? Probably. But we were new to this whole thing. I don't think we did too badly with the name. It's unique, memorable, tells people that we deal with acoustics, and invokes an image of our cute sheep. However, is it hard to spell. People try to spell it with two Cs and separate the words frequently. It is at the top of many lists because it starts with "a," and we definitely have the unique domain name. Be sure to do research online for other company naming tips. I only listed the ones I feel are most important, but there are many other potential pitfalls and advice on brainstorming.

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