– Choosing A Company Name –

“Choose a name that is easy to remember, and sounds good when said aloud. Also, a good company name appeals to everyone and should be relevant to your industry, service and brand that you are selling or servicing.”

Joseph N. Petraglia – Astoria Consulting


How important is your company name?

How important is choosing your company name? How much time should you spend on this task? For a small startup, you should allocate one week (approximately half hour per day) for this task. Most branding experts will tell you choosing the right name could be the deference between success and failure.


First Step

First step is to look at names currently being used in the industry or service you will be engaged in. Pay attention to the style, color and the types of endings being used.  For example investment companies and real estate firms like to use; ‘The Broadway Group’; manufacturing companies like; ‘Broadway Manufacturing Company’; Professional firms (accountants, lawyers, psychologists) like; to use their own name for example, ‘Frank H. Smith, CPA, Inc.’ E-commerce and online companies like ‘50west.com’ type endings.


Examples of good and bad names:

Short or Long Name

Should the name be short or long?  There are advantages and disadvantages to both versions. A short name will look better in small places such as your calling card. A longer name will better describe what you do.  Alternatively you can use a short name with a By-Line.


Good and Bad Examples

Bad Example: The Broadway Group (what does this company do?)

Better Example: Broadway Consulting Group

Good Example: Broadway Consulting Group Financial Advisers

Good Example: Broadway Group General Contractors


Use of color and Special Fonts

The use of color provides an important visual element to the selection process. Think of Google… Google is probably the best example of a using color to easily be recognized by everyone.

Special fonts used by IBM also create a strong branding element.


Use of Initials

Don’t use initials in your company name.  Shore IBM and 3M do it.  These are multibillion-dollar corporations spending hundreds of thousands of dollars annually and have been around for decades.


Create a work-in-progress list:

STEP 1:   Conduct a brainstorming session. – Start a list of proposed company names. Anything that comes to mind will do. Over the next week add additional names to your list.  Ask family and friends for input. In addition, look at old phone books for ideas. Also, search the Internet.  While driving around, look at storefront signs and truck signage for additional ideas.

STEP 2:   Refine your list by coming up with the five best names.

STEP 3:   Show the list to everyone you have confidence in and ask them to pick three names and to rate them 1 to 3 (with 1 being the best name, and 3 the worst.

STEP 4:   Decide on the best two names and conduct a Domain Name Search with online companies like Yola.com or Network Solutions .com.  (This Step will help you to identify available domain names before you register with the government and finalize your company name.

TIP:   There are several business-naming resources you can turn to.  Search the Internet for “Business Naming Software” and “Business Name Brainstorming”.

STEP 5:   Register your new company name: “It is strongly recommended you use the services of an attorney for this task.


Editor’s Note: If your proposed name is similar to an existing registered business name within your business jurisdiction the owner of that enterprise can take legal action against you. Worse case, in the future you may be forced to change your name.