Choosing a strong business name is a key to the success of your company. If you have a compelling name that’s easy to connect with, customers are more likely to consider your products or services. However, it can be challenging to find a great name that no one else has used. In order to help you out, here are five things to consider when naming your business.

1. Consider how the name reflects on your product

The more meaning you can pack into your company name, the less energy you’ll spend convincing consumers to pay attention to you. Consider carefully what you want your name to communicate, writes Entrepreneur. A good name should reinforce the worth of your business. 

The more meaning you can pack into the name, the less energy you’ll spend convincing consumers to pay attention.

If you’re having trouble deciding which elements of your business you want to emphasize, turn to your business plan for ideas. If you’ve identified your niche markets and written a powerful mission statement, you should be able to use that work to determine what your name should communicate in order to be effective. (Check out our post on writing a business plan for tips on conducting market research and developing a mission statement.)

Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne recommends sticking to two syllables.

“There are always exceptions to any rule, but I find it much harder to think of many successful startups which have names with more than two syllables than those with names with two syllables,” he writes. Plus, two-syllable names are easier to pronounce and read. Think of Google, Twitter, Facebook and Apple.

2. Check if the name is already in use

The last thing you want is to put in a lot of work into naming a business — making logos, printing business cards — only to find out too late that someone else is using the same name.

If you’re having trouble deciding on a name, turn to your business plan for inspiration.

So before naming a business, check to make sure the name isn’t already in use. Some states allow you to do this online, some require you to mail in requests. Check your state website (usually the Secretary of State website) for more information.

Our blog post on avoiding trademark infringement has more tips on how to determine if a name is already in use.

3. Check if the most relevant domain name is taken

A company website is a great tool to grow your business, so you want your customers to be able to find it easily. Make sure the most obvious domain name associated with your company name isn’t being used on a service like GoDaddy.com.

If the dot-com domain name you want isn’t available, you might consider a different domain name ending – called generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

In 2013, ICANN launched a domain name system (DNS) project that expanded upon the familiar .com, .org and .net to make available domains that end with almost any word in any language.

4. Factor in the name’s social media presence

Applicants that use an attorney are 50% more likely to get their trademarks approved by the USPTO.

An active social media presence is also key to building a customer base, ssays Entry Level Escapades founder Natalie Bounassar. Thus, make sure to research which social media platforms your customers are on and if the name you’d like is available. Again, your company name is most likely more crucial than your social media handles, so consider slightly altering your handles if your top choices aren’t available.

5. Register your trademark

Once you’ve decided on a name, the final step is to register the name as a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Data from 25 years of trademark applications shows that applicants that used a lawyer were 50 percent more likely to get their trademarks approved by the USPTO than those who didn’t.

If your application is denied, you will end up paying even more to respond to a USPTO refusal than if you had hired an attorney to file the paperwork at the beginning. An attorney can also make sure your name is properly registered with state and local authorities.

It might seem like a lot of time, money and energy upfront, but if done right, picking an effective business name and registering a trademark pays off in the long run. Just ask Peeple.

About the author

Alex Liu

Alex Liu

Alex began his career as a scientific legal consultant and then as a journalist researching and reporting on health policy and health sciences. At UpCounsel, he enjoys researching and analyzing data to help businesses make informed decisions. In his free time, Alex is working on a documentary.

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