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Choose a name for your company or business (New Business Checklist)

It may seem like a simple step, but give it some serious thought. Here are some important things to consider while you're trying to come up with the perfect name.

  1. Identify your business' attributes: Begin the naming process by thinking about what you want your name to communicate. Consider who your customers are and what problems you solve for them.

  2. Be distinctive: You want a name that distinguishes you in the marketplace.

  3. Avoid an overly specific name if you intend to change and grow: If you plan on remaining in a narrow niche, you can be very specific with your name. But what if you decide to add new products and services? "Island Fruit" works fine until the business decides to start selling cheese.

  4. Make your name memorable

  5. Make it simple to say and spell

  6. For easier trademarking, go with a name that is fanciful or arbitrary. The Go online United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) categorizes names—ranging from hardest to easiest to protect as trademarks—as "descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary and fanciful."Descriptive names convey a characteristic of the goods or services, such as "No Spot," for a car wash. Suggestive names use a quality in the name, such as "At a Glance Calendars." Even more distinctive are arbitrary names like Blue Diamond Almonds. Fanciful names are made-up words, such as Kodak. These names can be harder to market, but they give you more room to define your business.

  7. Put it to the test: If you can't hire a marketing agency to run a focus group for you, discuss your company's naming possibilities with friends and family.

  8. Consider registering the name as a trademark or service mark. It's costly, but may be worth the trouble.

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