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Choosing a Great Small Business Name

Choosing a small business name requires delicate balancing of various factors to ensure that it does not only stand out but also stays on the right side of the law. Getting the right name for a small business has got trickier with today’s tools for marketing both online and offline. Changing a business name can have serious consequences. Here is an example.

A business website should ideally feature the name of the business. Changing the name requires changing the website name and logo. While making the change may not be complicated, it creates its own complications. Search engine rankings will suffer, and the brand already associated with the business in various places, including blogs, forums and social sites will lose relevance.

Coming up with the right small business name requires time and effort. The following tips cover the important angles to consider.


Many small businesses start out as solo or freelance operations, and the owners often choose their own names. Unfortunately, such names do not usually portray a professional image required to build brand awareness. The name must be able to scale with the growing business without becoming irrelevant.

Points to consider when choosing a small business name include:

Appearance – on an advertisement, a logo, business card, social site and the Web at large
Uniqueness – a name that resembles the name of an existing business will not only confuse customers but also risk charges of trademark infringement
Sound – the chosen name must be easy to pronounce
Clear – the name must not have potentially offensive undertones or have embarrassing spellings
Connotations – the name must appeal to target market and reflect business philosophy

Web Readiness 

The name must include important keywords for the small business and be available. A simple search of domain names will determine whether the name has already been taken.


The cost associated with trademark infringement can easily break a business. Trademark search tools help to find out whether the selected name or its variations have already been registered.

If a business is to be incorporated, it can still operate under the proposed name even if another business is already using it so long as they are in different regions or offer different goods or services. However, the name must still comply with relevant state naming requirements.

When making searches, it is important to include misspelled versions of the small business name, similar sounding names and synonyms.

Domain Registration

If the desired domain name is available, it must be claimed without delay. Procrastination is risky considering the fast rate at which domain names are claimed. It is also important to claim social media identity.

Trademark Protection

Filing for a trademark helps in protecting the business name, including logos and symbols associated with it.

People often confuse this with registering a business name. Businesses operating under personal names do not have to be registered, and the registration does not offer trademark protection. The necessary steps for registering “Doing Business As (DBA)” names differ from one state to another. 

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