Ready to learn about naming your business? I’m walking you through specific mistakes to avoid when naming your business or business program. Whether you have an established business name already or you’re a new business owner trying to figure out what to call yourself, this episode has something for you! If you already have your business name figured out, these same steps can apply to naming your course, podcast, membership site, or really ANYTHING in your business that needs a name! And, you can listen to these 8 mistakes to make sure your current name isn’t making any of them.
Your brand name is just as important as your branding itself. But, most people don’t seek out a professional brand designer or business strategist on this step in the process. Typically as a designer, someone is coming to me with their name or just buying a template with their name already picked out. But, your NAME is so important. It’s worth naming with intention. I have named my business three times (which sounds ridiculous, I know. I’ll explain more in this episode), and I’ve helped many other entrepreneurs hone in on their perfect brand name — both as clients and through my “Name your Business” workbook. In this episode, I’m going to help YOU name your business or program in the same way and avoid all the common pitfalls along the way.
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE NOW:
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Naming Your Business:
1. The business name looks like other words when put together without spaces (such as a domain name or IG handle).
Your business name might sound awesome, but it also needs to LOOK awesome when the spaces between words are removed and there are no capital letters telling you where words are supposed to start and stop. In this age of technology, the way your business name looks on social media or as a domain name is SO important. You want to make sure that the name still reads like it is supposed to with or without spaces. [Tune into the Breakthrough Brand Podcast (episode #50) version of this post to hear me give some specific examples of this!]
2. The name could insinuate something you don’t intend.
When choosing a business name, you want to make sure the name doesn’t have any negative meanings or the possibility of insinuating something you don’t want it to. This is similar to the first point, but sometimes the name can look or seem like something else regardless of how it’s written out. Check out this hilarious article about bad business names for some really great examples of why this is important!
3. The name is culturally offensive or inappropriately used.
In most cases, when choosing English language words, you will automatically know if your business name falls into this category. But, in the case of a made-up word or if you are using a word from another culture or language, make sure to do your research!
You should always know the meaning of something before you use it. A quick Google search will help you here, but sometimes you might need to take your research a little farther. It’s not just about how a word sounds or having a pretty meaning, but it needs to be able to stick.
4. It’s difficult to say, spell, or understand.
Have you ever had someone tell you their business name and you say immediately back “What? What did you say? Can you spell that for me?” This is a bad sign!
Before deciding on a name, test your idea! Do people understand it when you say it out loud to them? If someone read it written down would they be able to pronounce it? Does it sound like something else when it’s said too quickly? How about when it’s said slowly?
While this is super important, sometimes companies do manage to get past this. For example, in the high fashion world, there are so many companies with commonly mispronounced business names, and they make it work. But, for most of us, being easy to pronounce is super important.
5. It’s too generic and/or unavailable.
If your business name is too generic, it won’t be searchable online! When someone types out the full name of your business online, you want to have a chance of showing up in search results eventually if not immediately. If you choose a generic name, you will be competing with too much on the internet to be able to stand out.
It is always a good idea to do a lot of internet searching before choosing a name to know what is already out there and what you will be competing with.
If someone else is already using the name you came up with for anything at all, then you might struggle to get a good domain name and social media handles, which are really important as an online business! You should always look at the United States Patent and Trademark Office to see if your name has already been taken. Also check all social media platforms and Google searches!
6. The full name doesn’t tell us what you do.
On that same note, when someone sees the full name of your business, they should have an idea of what it’s about. If the name is completely unrelated to what you do, then it will be confusing to customers!
If your business name doesn't tell people what you do, an easy way to fix this is to add descriptive words such as “coach, photography, design, etc.” when needed along with your business name. (Plenty examples of this can be heard in the podcast version of this post!)
If you are feeling stuck, go through the “Name your Business” workbook to help you brainstorm and evaluate unique options!
7. It’s too long!
Don’t make your business name crazy long! You want it to fit easily into a domain name and a social media handle because searchability is so important.
Instagram and domain names will restrict you a little bit already, but I’d say go even less than these. You can have 30 characters for your Instagram username, and a domain name can be up to 63 characters. But these are too long and too much for people to remember or type in. Try to make it as short and to the point as possible.
8. There is another business with the exact same name (or something similar).
If another business already has your name, this can be a problem whether they are in your industry or not. It is your responsibility to do your due diligence and search this out. You can Google your name, search on social media and search in trademark directories!
Sometimes it is ok if you have the same name as someone else in another industry, but ideally, you want to be the only one with that name. This is especially true when it’s an online program, shop, or course. Do not choose the same name (or too similar of a name) as your competitors.
Checklist for naming your business:
- The name looks as it should when it’s put into a domain name or Instagram handle.
- The name doesn’t insinuate something I don’t want it to. It means what it’s supposed to mean.
- The name is appropriate in all cultures.
- The name is easy and straightforward as far as how to say it and spell it.
- The name is not overly generic.
- The full name tells the audience exactly what I do.
- The name is pretty short.
- No one in my industry (or similar industries) has the same name.
Learn more about the brand name checklist in the “Name your Business” workbook.
Fast tips for naming your business, course, or program:
1. Ask for feedback!
You don’t have to do this naming thing alone. Brainstorm with other people and ask for their feedback! Talk to people in your industry, outside of your industry, and outside of the business world completely to get a wide perspective.
2. The name you choose matters!
Your name matters because this is how you introduce people to your business, course, podcast, etc. This name is what people will know it as and how they will talk about it as.
Dwell on the names you’re considering. Practice telling people about it and pay attention to how it feels. Whatever you choose, you need to be confident about it.
3. Remember that you actually can change it later!
Sometimes a business name can, unfortunately, be what holds you up from starting something. Choose the name wisely and be smart about it, but don’t make it such a huge deal that you don’t take action with it.
I am a testament to the fact that you can change your business name and survive! I’ve changed mine 3 times. 3 different names. It can work!
4. Your own name vs a made up name?
If you want to be the front-facing person for your company, you should focus on building a personal brand regardless of your company name. To decide if you should use your name for your business, you need to look at your long term business goals. These are sometimes hard to know when you first start but, try to think about how you, as a person, fit into the overall goals of the business.
I hope that knowing these mistakes will help you avoid them! Be sure to access the Naming Your Business Workbook below for even more help with this topic!