The Dos and Don’ts of Naming a Business

By Scott Vollero

Naming your business sounds like a simple thing, but it’s actually a bit complicated. It’s also incredibly important.

It doesn’t help that so-called experts disagree on what an effective business name means. Some believe abstract names that create a mental picture are great. Others believe a business name should describe what the business does. Others think catchy phrases and puns are best.Scott Vollero name card

The fact is, the experts are all right, to a point. But, while a catchy phrase might work well for one business type, it could spell disaster for another. If you do it wrong, there’ll be consequences. If you’re working on coming up with a great business name, consider the following.

  1. Define your target customers. Are they seniors, millennials, parents, single people or some other demographic? Is your reach strictly local or do you now or plan to reach out nationwide or globally? Keep your answers in mind as move on to the next step.
  2. Think short, pronounceable and easy to remember. Your business name plays a huge part in your marketing strategies. Word-of-mouth advertising works best when the business name is easy to say and remember.

“Avoid using intentional misspellings. It works for Krispy Kreme because they have a huge marketing budget to work with. You don’t.” – Scott Vollero

  1. Unique and descriptive works best for small businesses. Let’s face it, you’re never going to compete with General Electric. But, what if you called your electrical services business “All Star Electrical Services” or “24/7 Electrical?” Your name describes what you do, is easy to remember and sounds professional. Avoid overselling, though. For example, avoid superlatives like “Best,” Greatest,” “Apex” and other overused sales words.
  2. Avoid narrowing your product line and/or geographic area. Maybe your product line is can openers now, but what if you want to add more products in the future? Perhaps you only serve your local region at the moment, but if your business takes off, you might want to add staff and services beyond local. It’s better to come up with a name you can keep as your company grows rather than changing it to better fit later. In other words, “Fairview Can Openers” is not a good choice.
  3. Make a list of possibles and analyze, analyze. Look at the names on your list. What feelings does each conjure up? Does the name describe what you do? Is it unique enough to stand out from the rest? Don’t forget to evaluate how it translates into other languages. Look also at the acronym for each name. You may find the result memorable, maybe even funny. But it may not be great for your business.

Take your time. Consult with trusted friends and family.  Don’t rush through the process. Getting your business name right is that important.


Scott Vollero is an international entrepreneur and expert in the precious metals and automotive parts recycling industries.