The process of choosing a name for a new business begins with deciding what kind of brand values it should communicate, according to Entrepreneur. Next, brainstorm ideas to narrow the selection down before checking for trademarks, website availability and finally registering the name and applying for trademark protection.
Follow the steps below to choose a new business name:
- Consider the brand
- Brainstorm ideas
- Test potential names
- Select a name, register and trademark
Take into consideration what the most important values of the business are. Communicating these values in a name reduces the need for explanatory marketing.
With the brand values in mind, brainstorm ideas for names. The best names are brief and emotive. Avoid using in-jokes or puns, but consider inventing words if they evoke the right image.
Narrow the ideas from brainstorming down to the best four or five. Using the search tool at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website, check to see whether any of them are already trademarked. Also contact the state filing office, if applicable, to see whether any of the names have been incorporated. Next, use the WHOIS database online to check the availability of domain names using the potential business names.
Select one of the names from the shortlist and purchase the domain name. Then register the business name as a trade name with the state government. Finally, apply for trademark protection. As of 2015, this costs less than $300, according to the U.S. Small Business Association.