Choosing A Great Business Name
Your business name is the most important factor to building your image. This is why many large companies devote a lot of time and expense in coming up with the ideal business name. A memorable business name with pleasing connotations is an enormous asset in marketing your company’s products and services.
It is not only business start-ups that should pick a new business name; many established companies would be well-advised to get another business or trade name. There are many reasons why this should be done. It may be that the line of business of the company has changed and its name is no longer relevant. It may also be that the company has been receiving massive negative publicity and wants to start afresh.
Note that a trade name is different from your legal business name. The legal name is harder to change since it is the one used in communicating with different government agencies. The trade name must be renewed every 10 years. Besides this, you must file a declaration of actual use and evidence of this within one year from the fifth anniversary of the date of registration of the trade name.
Building Your Brand
Treat your business name as a brand. A good business name or trade name may be worth millions if it has already established a loyal market. In fact, there are several companies whose names are valued at billions of dollars. Knowing the importance of business name selection, here are some basic guidelines that can help when choosing your business or trade name:
•It should indicate what your business is. A common violation of this rule is the tendency to use the founder’s name or the name of his/her children without an accompanying word that describes the business.
Another frequent mistake is to use acronyms that tell people nothing about your business. It is obviously easier to sell your goods if customers can tell at once what business you are in.
•It should be short and easy to spell and pronounce. There are many advantages to having a short name. People could easily remember your business name. A brief name is also easier to fit into promotional materials, signage, business cards, etc. Also, a business name that is easy to spell and pronounce would more likely be patronized and referred.
•It should not have negative connotations. This is one of the hardest things to avoid because there are an infinite variety of possible negatives. A perfect sounding name may unwittingly have a damaging meaning. I suggest that you have several people check out the name for harmful connotations. Be careful, too, that the initials of your company do not form something funny or undesirable.
•Avoid giving your business a name confusingly similar to another business. Although similar looking names are normally not allowed to be registered, it is possible for a similar name to get past the computer. Getting initial approval does not give you immunity and it is up to you to give additional screening.
•Reserve your chosen name online. It is better to register your business name online to be able to try out an unlimited number of names. For a sole proprietor, search the DTI website; if it’s a partnership or corporation, visit the SEC website. The best thing with doing this online is that you get immediate feedback if the name will be accepted by their computer.
You must also take into account how your business name can help you market on the Internet. On the Internet, the name of your website is called the domain name. It will be very helpful if the name of your business can also be your domain name. This will improve the visibility of your business. In view of this, you should also consider the following:
•Have a name that is usually searched. Remember that most people arrive at a website after searching first in Google. There is a better chance of appearing in the search results if your business name contains key words that are frequently searched in the Internet.
•Have your business name contain only letters, numbers and dashes. Most symbols are not acceptable as domain name characters and so if your business names has symbols that cannot be used, it may be difficult or impossible to use as a domain name.
•Check the availability of the domain name. Sometimes all the possible domain names that are suitable for your name are all taken. If this is the case, it may be better to find another name. Another option is to try to buy the domain name you want if it is for sale.
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.
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