a smiling businesswoman holding empty card

What is the perfect name for my new home business? Is there a reason I should pick a business name carefully? 

When it is time to figure out a name for your new home business sometimes it can be something that you agonize over and wonder am I picking the right name? The idea that once you file the business name with the local government means it is “written in stone” can sometimes hold you back from picking one. 

 

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;  

from Romeo and Juliet

Michael Fortin, in his book “10 Commandments of Power Positioning” says your business name should stick in people’s mind long after they have met you.  Make it unique. Have it reflect what you do in the name, be “Heather’s Wedding Wreaths” not “Heather B. Business”.  A person will remember a unique business name.  At the very least, have what you do in your name,  ABC Cleaners not ABC Enterprise.

With my husband’s Structural Engineering firm, we called it Peak Engineering because Maple Ridge is below Golden Ears which has two peaks.  Also, whenever we tell people our name, we say Peak, as in mountain peaks spelling since peek is another spelling. It seems fairly easy for people to remember the name spelling though Brian is usually called Brain.  Or maybe, he just thinks it is an appropriate name for him.

For my company, JGardnerMarketing, I took a business name that was my name + marketing since our local government registrars have stricter guidelines about business names.  I could not have called it The Business of At Home Business because it used the word business in it was too generic.  So, it is alway good to check with your local authority and see what type of business name they will not approve before you send in names for approval.  With our local government authority, you have to give them three choices for the business name and if they disapprove the first name, you’d better like the second and then third name.  So, don’t start printing up your business cards or letterhead until you get the business name approved by the government.

Also, if you pick a name too close to a trademarked name or  it seems to come close and the other business can sue you and make you change your name.  So, no Burger Queen or Starebucks for you!  You can do a search through local Yellow pages, Google, your local Business registry and domain search.

If you want to go put up a website using your Business Name, you had better check early before registering your business name with your local government.  It is not possible to have the exact same domain name in the internet and when you are looking at the world businesses up on the internet, the odds are good that there would be a ABCCleaner.com up on the internet already!  You don’t want to be known by the website domain of ABCCleaner2.com.

Michael Fortin in 10 Commandments of Power Positioning had another good test for picking a business name that people remember.  Create about 5 business names and tell some of your friends you’d like to know what they think of the names.  Ignore this advice (just kidding).  What is important is to see them or call them up in an hour or two and ask them to recite the names.  See which names stuck in their mind and that will give you some idea on the uniqueness of the business name.

When deciding on a Business Name for your Home Business remember to:

    • pick a business name unique to you
    • pick a business name that has what you do for a living in it as an action word –  Cleaning, Engineering, Marketing, Writing–  somewhere within the business name
    • check that the business name is not already being used on the World Wide Web
    • check with local government authority on their business name rules
    • test some business names by getting friends to remember the most memorable of a list after an hour
    • stay away from other businesses names who are already registered as they can sue you to change it ,if it is too close

In the end, what your business name is will not define your business in your customer’s mind. Who you are and how you deliver the services or product to them  will be the reason customers will return to your business.  Micheal Fortin’s book “10 Commandments of Power Positioning” has some other great ideas about keeping your business name in top of mind of your customers so you receive a copy when you sign up for The Business of At Home Business newsletter.