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Choosing a Business Name: 9 Mistakes to Avoid

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    Your business name makes a huge difference in how you brand yourself. Get it right, and you’ll create a strong identity you can apply to your products and services. Get it wrong, and potential customers might forget it easily or choose not to buy from you.

    So, what mistakes should you avoid when picking the right name for your business? 

    We’re glad you asked. We’re here to answer your questions and share the most common business name mistakes. Let’s get into it.

    1. Avoid Long Business Names 

    Choosing a business name with the right length can mean the difference between being memorable and being forgotten. A long business name can lead to customers forgetting your name or being confused about what you provide. Plus, it's likely that those extra words won't create any additional clarity.

    Consider how the name will look on a website, a URL, and any marketing materials as well. It's recommended that your business name is as short as possible.

    2. Try Not to Use Purely Functional or Generic Business Names

    While a name like “Appliance Repair Shop” or “Quality Picture Framing” may perfectly describe what you do, they lack personality and will be hard for people to remember.

    Choose a name that distinguishes your business from the others and grabs the attention of the audience. If you want a breakthrough business, you cannot afford to have a mediocre name.

    3. Avoid Short-Term Trends

    Trends are always changing. Your business name should not be beholden to any trends. You want your business to have longevity, but a trend-inspired name is like stamping an expiration date on it. An evergreen name will ensure you stay relevant for the long term.

    4. Stay Away From Complex Names

    If your business name causes confusion or people mispronounce the name constantly, then the chances are that your business name isn’t a good one. To establish yourself in the market, you need to make sure to choose a name that conveys what your brand does and is easy to say and understand. Don’t use unusual or overly long words in your business name. Keep things simple and straightforward.

    5. Don’t Tie Your Name to a Specific Location

    A business name tied to your location will never help you to stand out from the competition. In addition, you may not want to mention your city in the name as that might imply it’s the only customer base you serve.

    Plus, if you want to expand into other locations down the line, then choosing a location-specific name can limit your potential.

    6. Refrain From Using Your Personal Name

    A founder-based name may be problematic if your “personal brand” or name isn’t big enough to pull an audience. A customer shouldn’t need to look up your name in order to understand who you are and what you do. You want your business name to be understood immediately and without confusion or the need to use Google. Additionally, having a business named after the founder(s) can cause issues if they decide to leave.

    7. Stay Away From Controversial Language

    Never try to create more friction than necessary. Make sure that controversy is not the focal point of the business. While it’s ok to be a niche business, you don’t want to alienate or offend anyone that could cause conflict or bad press.

    In addition, there are some words not allowed in business names. Check out our post on words to avoid when naming your business to learn more.

    8. Don’t Drop Letters or Use Odd Spelling

    Made-up or odd words often make a brand look silly. And people may have a hard time remembering it when you drop letters or use a spelling that they can't find in search results.

    9. Try to Avoid Acronyms

    Using acronyms is never a good idea. If people don’t know your business, how are they supposed to know the acronym? Go with a full name until your company gets big enough. Think along the lines of International Business Machines changing their name to IBM.

    Why Does My Business Name Matter?

    Your business name matters much more than you might think. Research tells us that:

    Is My Business Name Available?

    You can find out if the name you want for your business is taken by using our Business Name Search Tool. You'll need a unique business name that’s not used by anyone else in your state to form your new company. Simply enter your proposed business name, select the state you want to search and we’ll let you know if it’s available:

    Paul Maplesden

    Paul Maplesden

    Paul is a freelance writer, small business owner, and British expat exploring the U.S. When he’s not politely apologizing, he enjoys hats, hockey, Earl Grey Tea, mountains, and dogs.


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