Start A Home Base Business - Naming Your Business

When many people start a home base business, they put a lot of effort into their idea for a home business, but not into naming the business. You probably drive by businesses everyday with names that don’t give a clue what they do. And that’s a shame - especially businesses who depend on drive buy traffic for business.

There are a lot of consultants who assist new businesses in naming and branding their business. Most small people who start a home base business don’t have the capital to invest in these types of services as they can cost thousands of dollars. Plus as a new business owner naming your business is very personal - kind of like naming your child. There’s all kinds of advice and mindsets on business naming; funky, word combinations, abstract and mysterious, etc.

A good place to start is to consider what you want your business name to convey. If you are in retail you want your name to quickly tell what you sell. Sometimes the logo along with the name jointly communicate this. It’s best to have a name you don’t have to explain to customers or clients.

Take your time and put a lot of effort into naming your business as you did developing your idea. Your name should convey quality, be in sync with you niche, be unique, and memorable. You want to create a memorable positive business image. This can be a challenging task these days. So many good names have already been trademarked.

When you start a home base business and name it, you also probably want to stay away from quirky words and use words that people are comfortable with, can relate to, and understand.

What’s In A Name?
If the name is too specific it can prove to limiting. For example if you name your business “Birmingham Industrial Nut & Bolt” it pretty much limits you to selling nuts and bolts (or hardware) to industrial customers in the Birmingham area. If your long term goal is to sell nuts and bolts in the southeast then maybe “Southeastern Nut & Bolt” is a better choice.

Or if you wish to diversify into other areas in the Birmingham area. So “Birmingham Industrial Hardware” might be a better name in that situation.

What are called “coined” names are becoming popular due to the limitations to conventional names. These are names that aren’t defined yet. This can be a name like Google - which didn’t really mean anything before Google got started. But the very nature of the name does convey the process of looking something up or searching. But coined names can be risky and potentially alienate potential customers. When in doubt and without the services of a professional, it’s best to keep it simple.

Some good guidelines when selecting a name to start a home base business:

  • Choose a name that’s easy to pronounce.
  • Stay away from cute or “inside” names that only mean something to you and your friends/family.
  • Don’t use “Enterprise” or “Inc.” at the end of the business name.
  • Think about the type of customers you want to attract and use a name that will captivate them.
  • Consider names your customers can relate to and are comfortable with.

A good place to brainstorm and find different words with the same meaning is Thesaurus.com.

Check For Trademarks
You also want to research the name and make sure its not trademarked. The U. S. Patent and Trademark Office has an online search of their database here.

Once you do settle on a name, it’s good practice to protect it via the appropriate trademark. You also may want to reserve any domain names you think you may want. You can search and buy domain names for typically less than $20 a year at places like GoDaddy.com or WebSitePalace.com - there’s a bunch of places to get them.

I speak from experience with regard to trademarks. When we first started this site, we chose another domain name. We spent a significant amount of time creating web pages for about 3 months. After reading something about trademark infringement I checked the domain name on the U. S. Patent & Trademark Office site.

Sure enough someone had trademarked the phrase we were using as our domain name. Ad it turns out with domains if you reserve a domain before someone trademarks the phrase your OK because you can establish that your website existed before they trademarked the term. But if it’s the other way around you can be vulnerable to litigation and accused of trademark infringement. While you may be able to prevail, we had no desire to set ourselves up for the potential legal hassles.

So at considerable cost and effort, we changed to a new domain name, the one we have now, and converted all the web pages to the new domain. It was a very labor intensive process as our host couldn't just move the existing pages over.

It’s advisable to use a trademark attorney to search you name. You can obtain a trademark for about $275 to $375 but it can be a complex process. The trademark application page recommends you hire an attorney before you start the process.

Start A Home Base Business Cheesecake Business Example
Lets go back to my mom’s fictional Cheesecake business. We want a name that tells the customer its about cheesecakes - so I think its important to include in the name. We also want to convey familiarity, comfort, quality - those kinds of thoughts. We may even want to consider including a name for the personal slant

  • Lee’s Cheesecakes - has a personal connection
  • Grandma’s Cheesecakes - the comfort of Grandma
  • Authentic Bavarian Cheesecakes - emphasizes the German heritage
  • Smoky Mountain Cheesecakes - the familiarity and comfort of the Smoky Mountains
  • Volunteer Cheesecakes - Appeals to locals and University of Tennessee fans in the area
  • Big Orange Cheesecakes - nah - the image of an orange cheesecake is not very appealing
  • Lee’s Decadent Cheesecakes - conveys the indulgence of a good dessert and the familiarity of the creator.

So I would favor the last name as it creates a favorable image in the customers mind.

Selecting a business name is kind of a brainstorming process. When you start a home base business, write several names down, say them aloud, think them over, and ask family and friends their opinion.




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