Selecting a new business name that’s short, descriptive, and easy to remember can be a real challenge. Or, you may want to start a new branch of an existing business, but that new branch needs a separate name. Where do these names come from? Who thinks of them? Large corporations hire agencies to name new ventures— for this, they spend more money than you want to know. But a small-business owner can easily save that money and name the business himself or herself.
Start by writing down words or phrases that define your products or services. Check a thesaurus to find more words related the ones you come up with. From this list, start combining the words until you see a word or phrase you like. But don’t stop there; you need several choices before you can make a final selection. If you can combine words, then try to use the acronym to make another word, and you’ve got a real winner. For example, what about Real Insurance Specialized Knowledge, or RISK. Have friends and associates look at your final list and give their opinions.
After you select one or more names you’re happy with, conduct a search on your computer to see whether the name is being used by anyone else. You should also check the online yellow pages. If the name is too similar to that of another company, you’ll need to change part or all of it.
Your final step before you start using your new name is to have your lawyer do a complete name search—this can be done on a state or national level. This will keep you from having to change your business name later if a business with a similar name threatens you with a lawsuit.
Above all, make sure you’re really happy with your new business name, because you don’t want to have to change it later. As the business grows, you may want to consider getting a trademark or service mark to protect it. Most of the time a small TM or SM after the name will deter others from using it, and after several years it may hold up in court because of continual use. But you could also have your lawyer file the papers to make it official if your business is growing rapidly.