A memorable business identity is critical if you want to compete in your industry. Larger corporations spend untold dollars on research and design for business names, logos, and trademarks because they separate them from their competitors. An effective business identity is more than just a good name, logo, and business cards. Your company’s identity is also defined by how you market products or services and deal with your clients.
When you hear of some entrepreneurs obsessing for hours, even days or weeks about their business name, it may seem like a waste of time. But the truth is, a successful business is going to be known by that name for a long time. What’s in a name? A lot! Your business name is possibly the first thing a potential customer learns about you. Before you meet a customer for the first time, an impression has already been made, so selecting the right business name is actually a very important decision. Think about it as a customer. If you’re looking for a company to work on your computer, would you rather call on “Bob’s Computer Consulting” or “CompFast Solutions Corporation”? Most consumers compare business names and choose the one whose name identifies most closely with their needs. You wouldn’t think your electronics could be repaired by “Larry’s Auto World”, right? Or if you’re looking for a business supplier, you might go with “Bloomberg Data Solutions Inc.” over “Mike’s Computer Service”. Your business name is worth taking the time and research to make a choice you can live with and will fairly represent your organization.
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Choosing a business name can be fun! Follow the steps below and you’ll be on your way to a memorable business name:
You’ll want your business name to be shared easily by word-of-mouth, so make sure it is easy to understand and repeat. You can test the name by saying it out loud and asking family and friends to say it too. It’s good to hear how other people would say your business name. Unusual names can be a challenge, but may also become a vital part of your marketing strategy if it’s easy to remember. Shorter names are easier to remember and less likely to be confusing to your market.
As in the example above, if you start out as a VCR repair company and eventually broaden out to repair DVD players, sell DVD’s or offer upgrades; then the name VCR World Inc. won’t do you any good. Choose a name that is broad enough to give your business growing room and narrow enough to retain the power to communicate its focus. Also, make sure the name will outlast current fads or trends. What will happen to “Jan’s Radical Clothing Design” in 5-10 years? It’s likely that radical will either have changed meanings or will sound
As a business owner, you’ll be required to file legal forms indicating your business intent and the fictitious name you’ve chosen. Your name must also be unique since two businesses in the same geographic area cannot legally operate under the same name. It’s a good idea to prepare a list of three or four alternate business names when you go to file locally or incorporate your business.
Test it: Try it out with potential customers, friends, neighbors, or whomever. Say it out loud, act like you have to answer the phone saying “Thanks for calling COMPANYNAME”. Does it sound right? Does it make sense? Does it convey what you do or want to impress upon people?
TIP: Searching for domain names also helps identify general business name availability.
Along with a timeless and memorable business name, an effective logo can do wonders to brand your company in the minds of your customers. The right professional logo design can leave an impression even when a customer doesn’t remember your company’s name. Some businesses are known only by their logos, like the McDonald’s “Golden Arches” or the Nike “Swoosh”.
Many first-time entrepreneurs make the mistake of either having no logo at all, or have a logo, but it isn’t professionally designed and looks homemade. Customers are drawn to products and services that are well-presented by an established brand. It’s a very small investment in any highly successful business, and it’s worth hiring a pro if you don’t know someone who can design a logo for you.
A Trademark is important for protecting your company name and logo and distinguishing your products and services from other providers’ products and services. Registering for a Trademark offers federal protection, as opposed to local and state registrations which only protect you in the state where you register. Click here to learn more about protecting your business name or logo with a Federal Trademark.
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