Our Recommendations for Choosing a Small Business Name You Won’t Regret

Naming your business is as important as naming your child (human or furry,) so taking your sweet time to do so is the wisest thing you can do if you don’t want to regret it when you already have an established brand and try to change it on a whim that can hurt your business more than you realize. Since we strongly believe it’s best never to change your business name, these are our recommendations for picking the one you won’t regret.

Considerations to Pick the Perfect Name for Your Small Business

1 – Keep It Simple

Keeping your business name simple and memorable is about balancing creativity with practicality. A simple but attractive business name is critical for establishing a solid brand identity and avoiding confusion and misunderstandings among your audience, such as misspellings and mispronunciations. These are other reasons why you should pick a simple business name:

  • Simplicity: Simple words are easier for people to remember and recall. Complex words or artsy acronyms can be difficult to spell correctly, hindering potential customers from finding your business online or remembering your name. 
  • Clarity: A straightforward name is less likely to be misheard or misinterpreted. Clear communication starts with a name that can be easily understood and repeated.
  • Domains: Short and simple business names are more likely to have available domain names. An easy-to-type website domain is essential for establishing an online presence and making your audience’s life easier when searching for your website. A shorter name also makes it easier to create professional email addresses without lengthy and cumbersome text.
  • Searchability and SEO-friendliness: People may struggle to find your website or social media profiles if your name is spelt unconventionally. A shorter name with standard spelling is also easier to optimize for SEO, and you are more likely to see ranking results faster.

These are some pitfalls to avoid:

  • No Numbers, Hyphens or Misspellings: Unless the web domain you want isn’t available with just your name as it is, avoid using misspellings or adding numbers and special characters like hyphens. These can complicate both spelling and pronunciation. For example, “4U” or “X-treme” might be catchy and look cool but can confuse people.
  • Don’t Follow the Current Trends: Names based on current trends can quickly become outdated. Aim for timelessness in your choice.

Here are a few examples of how simplicity works wonders for a business name:

  • Apple: Simple, super easy to spell, and memorable.
  • Nike: Short and unique but easy to pronounce.
  • Uber: One word, simple spelling, and easy to remember.

2 – Make It Memorable, But Not Too Quirky

While originality is key to standing out, a name that is overly unique or strange can lead to confusion, misinterpretation, and a disconnect with potential customers, which is why you should strive to find a balance between being memorable and not too unique or strange. Here’s why:

  • Cognitive Ease: Short names are easier for people to remember. They require less mental effort to recall, making your business more memorable to potential customers.
  • Clarity: For example, “rite” could be interpreted as “right” or “write.” Choosing a name with a clear, single interpretation can prevent these misunderstandings, which can even bring negative connotations. 
  • Word-of-Mouth: A simple, concise name is easier for customers to share and recommend to others. The shorter and catchier the name, the more likely it will be passed along in conversations.

Reddit is one of the best examples of a name that balances uniqueness and clarity. This social media platform name comes from a play-on-words with the phrase “read it,” and it’s perfect because it’s easy to remember, it gives a clear hint of what people would find on the platform, and it’s quirky enough to get the initial interest every business needs to bring in potential customers.

3 – Your Business Name Should Be a Statement of Who You Are or What You Do

Since your business name is a personal decision, adding a little of your identity is essential to make it stand out, enhance brand identity, trust, and marketability, and make your business journey more fulfilling overall. 

  • First, define your business purpose and identity: What do you want your business to bring into the world? How do you want to help your clients? How do you want your brand to be remembered, and what emotions do you want to evoke when people think about your business? These are critical questions you have to take the time to think about and answer honestly to land a perfect name that reflects your mission and personality. 
  • Meaningful to You: Choose a name you are personally connected to and proud of. It will give your business personality and authenticity because an essential part of you is reflected in its name. One of the most straightforward ways to do this is by adding your actual name, like Hailey Rhode Bieber did with Rhode Skin: simple, easy to remember, and clearly states what the business does.
  • Make It Personal: This will depend on finding the right combination of words (and depending on your specific case, it may not work), but try to include your name or a word closely tied to your core values and personality. A good example that worked is “Ben & Jerry’s”; this name has an inherent relatable feeling attached to it and easily conveys the story of two friends who started an ice cream business. 
  • Make It Adaptable for Future Growth: While choosing a specific name to convey what you do is essential, it should also be broad enough to allow for future business expansion and diversification. For example, “Rare Beauty” Selena Gomez’s beauty brand started with makeup, but the name is flexible enough to encompass a wide range of personal care products, like their recently launched body care products. 

Some Cautionary Tales

Since we’ve been mentioning examples of good business names throughout the blog, there’s no better way to end than mentioning some terrible, real-life business names so you can leave with a good perspective on how detrimental it can be not taking enough care and time to choose a name. Some sound silly and funny in the wrong way, while others are just cringe and have poor taste.

  • Kum & Go: We get what the owners were trying to achieve by naming this gas station franchise like this: you go, fill your car’s tank, buy something from the convenience store, and go out. However, this unfortunate name is an excellent example of how intentionally misspelt words can go wrong when naming a business that wants to be taken seriously, according to their archived website’s tagline, “Taking Merch Seriously since 1959.” 

The photo speaks for itself (Source)

This Iowa-based company was bought by a private equity firm in 2023 and is currently in a rebranding process. We all know why. 

  • Little Hope Cemetery: We know that their tenants probably don’t mind, but their families and friends may think this is a very insensitive name. Surprisingly, this is a popular name in the death industry because there are several cemeteries with this name, at least in the US.

Little Hope Cemetery in Louisiana (Source)

Jitters: Having jitters due to a little too much caffeine consumption is very unpleasant, so we don’t get why someone would name a coffee shop Jitters, but it happened. 

Get in and leave with a pre-heart attack (Source)

Your Business Name Matters

The name you choose for your brand will be its most important identifier, so you should take it seriously and take all the time you need to choose one you feel comfortable and proud of. These recommendations will help you avoid the most common mistakes, but ultimately, following your intuition and trusting in what you want to convey with your business name will lead you to find the perfect one.