What should I name my new company?

Starting Up

May 15, 2024

Are you starting a new brand and having trouble coming up with the name? Well, you’re not alone. There are many things to consider when choosing your next business name. We will lay out the three most important below.

Cover the Basics.

Before you get started, you’ll want to consider some basics such as word origin and modern meanings, legibility, clarity and uniqueness. All of these should weigh into your decision making process as you build your initial list. You’ll want to make sure there aren’t any words that could be confused, have alternative and unexpected connotations, words that are easy to spell because you may be spelling them a lot to customers on the phone, or in email. And last but not least, you’ll want to make sure your chosen brand name is not a common stringed search term. Reason being, you don’t want a potential customer typing the search string into a search engine, which happens to be your business name, and only returning hundreds of articles on other websites, because the business name terminology was too general. When in doubt, go for something a little more unique so that when a customer does search you, you have a much higher probability of popping up in the search engine ahead of your competition.

With the basics out of the way, let’s jump right into the three most important considerations when deciding on your brand name.

Do an Exhaustive Competitor Search

Do you have a list of potential names that you like or you would like to use? Not so fast, you’ll want to do an complete search online. Not only will you want to begin on major search engines such as Google, you’ll want to check current social media handles, you’ll want to check businesses that are selling under similar names that have presences on major marketplaces like Etsy.

Beyond the basic search, you’ll want to dig a little deeper to make sure there isn’t already a brand name out there doing a similar thing that you want to do in your space or industry.

Taking search to the next level, you’ll want to search availability on Domain Registrars such as Go Daddy. Bonus if the .Com is available, many one and two common combination word domains are already taken. We will come back to the important of this later. But for now, if you settled on a few names, and one of them clears the first hurdle of competitor searching as well as domain name availability, you may be well on your way to selecting a business name.

Searching the Trademark Database.

So you’ve cleared the search phase and possibly the domain availability step, but is there a currently active trademark with the same name already registered with the Uspto?

Head over to TESS search engine at the official Uspto website and start searching various combinations of your keywords to see what is popping up under live and registered trademarks. You may want to go a step further and try different spellings of the words you have selected to have better odds of having a free and clear business name to choose from.

While you are on TESS, be sure you are searching not only word marks but design marks as well. Since businesses may have registered a mark with their brand name in combination with a design.

What should you do if you find a similar trademark that is already registered with a live status?

Don’t panic. Next, you’ll want to check what categories they are registered under. If you are searching a brand name called AT&T, then obviously anything in the communications or telecom spaces will already be trademarked and not available for you. However, if you wanted to call something AT&T in a completely different industry, such as dog walking, as long as there is no risk of confusion, you may be able to successfully register and protect your name. While this does not constitute legal advice, as we recommend you follow up with a legal expert in Intellectual Property Law, we have spent a substantial amount of time in the branding arena. Compiling name options, searching availability and scouring TESS at the Uspto to see what similarities we could find.

What next?

If you clear the above hurdles and it looks like you are good to go, then you’ll want to perform one last step before plowing ahead. You’ll want to jump on all of the major social media channels and begin searching for your chosen handle. You know you’ve hit a Yahtzee, when the exact phrase or words are available without having to add “Real” or “1” or any other identifier onto the beginning or end of your chosen name.

If they’re available, register them, go register the .Com domain name and begin sketching ideas for your brand identity.

While you’re registering, you’ll probably have to point all of the accounts towards a single email account. We recommend signing up YOURBUSINESSNAME@Gmail.com for free. Sometimes, it may not be available, even when everything else is! Have no fear, while it would be ideal that it is available, we will be replacing this as soon as you get a personalized email address set up @yournewdomain.com.

Once you’e completed all of the above steps, you are ready to move on to the next step of Branding 101.

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