3 steps to creating a business name

You want to create a memorable name that elicits a certain feeling when heard. You want to think about how people will feel when they hear your business name.



  1. Create a Word doc or an Evernote and start listing out all the possible name ideas that come to mind. This list will be long and that’s OK. Your focus is on jotting down the ideas that come to mind not narrowing it down to the right fit. That comes later.
  2. Next, run through the list every so often and bold the ones that are short, easy to pronounce, easy to remember, and that really represent what you were going for. Ideally, you should go over the list with someone you know and trust to get his/her opinion
  3. Research the names that are in bold and see what’s not already taken.
    • Google it
    • Check the USPTO.gov website to make sure it’s not trademarked
    • Check fictitious name filing with the County Clerk referred to as DBAs “doing business as”
    • If you find one that is taken cross it out. Don’t delete it just cross it out. This is the process of elimination

Remember that if you use your legal name, you do not have to file a fictitious name statement (always double check on this with your small business advisor or at the very least research it for your area in case things were to change). This generally applies to service providers, consultants, and professionals who use their own name for credibility and recognition in the marketplace.

Example: Ed Troxell or Ed Troxell Creative does not need one. However, Ed Troxell and Associates would because it implies that I have more than just me

Once you’ve gone through these steps you should have a very short list of name ideas that you can look at and say, yeah that is more of what I was thinking or no, that is not at all what I want to be known as.

Remember to also look at the acronyms for what you come up with. This is a big one. These days we shorten everything and that includes business names. You want to make sure your business name still works even if it’s just the acronym. Trust me, there are some out there that unfortunately missed this step and I’m sure regret it once they saw what their customers saw.

ACTION STEP: In the comments section below, take a moment to share what your business name is and anything process you went through that helped you pick it.

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