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  1. #1
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    What to consider when naming your business?

    Hi guys,

    I'm planning to start a new freelance business sometime in the new year. I've been running my own business for almost four years (with my best friend), but I feel it's time to move on (and so does he).

    When we started up our first company I now see that we could/should have been a lot better prepared. I would try to correct that this time

    So first step, I'm going to name my business. I do web-development, complete web-site solutions, print-jobs (with help from good colleagues in the business).

    I have a bs.c. degree in computer science and I'm primarily going to do business for local companies.

    So now to my question. What should I consider, when I'm going into the process of naming my business. How would you do?

    Looking forward to any input
    --
    Kind regards
    Peter F. Poulsen

  2. #2
    SitePoint Columnist
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    Most important would be running a trademark and copyright check against the name you wish to use as well as a domain search to make sure it is available.
    Freelance System Administrator, Researcher, Writer
    Practical Applications
    Open Sourcery "SitePoint's Open Source Blog"

  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Hi Peter,

    Igor International are one of the top naming companies anywhere. Their website has a wealth of information, tools and guides about naming businesses and the theory behind it, you can download a really good pdf at the igor naming guide page of their website.

    Hope this is helpful to you.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Hei Peter!

    "Uh oh, here we go again", I always think when we need to find a name for something. :-) The process of finding a name is hard work, atleast if you care about the result.

    It's always helpful to define a set of need to haves and nice to haves parameters. Here are a few questions to define parameters:

    - Does the name need to be in Danish or English? Or maybe it need to work both in English and Danish?

    - Does the name need to mean anything?

    - How specific should it be, related to your industry and location. E.g. very specific can be: "PHP eCommerce Wizards Odense AS"

    - What is acceptable length of the name, should you allow only one or several words?

    - What domains needs to be available for the name? .dk, .com, .biz, .org etc?

    - Should the name have a special "feel", related to your company?

    - Should you beable to instantly know what you do by just looking at the name?

    - Does it need to be very business and professional like?

    When you define these, and other, parameters you narrow down your options and make it more easy to direct your energy towards finding the right name. Now you can apply several different strategies:

    - Brainstorming.

    - Creative thinking: Go for a long walk while you think about your options.

    - Creative thinking 2: Overload you mind with information. Look through the yellow pages for names. Think about the parameters you've set. Look over the different names that came out of the brainstorming. The point is to maximize the input to your brain with related info. Then go and do something complete different. Do not think about the name at all. Go play golf, or something! Because while you play golf, you subconscience will play the name game. Suddenly you might get a bright idea.

    - Technical approach. Work systematically and try find a name. This can be many things. E.g. I knew that I wanted a name that started with an "A", wasn't longer than five letters and didn't need to mean anything. I made a script that printed out all possible combinations with A as first letter. I then looked through the list and pick possible candidates. This was later put into my creative thinking process and finally suggested to the rest of my team.

    Do not give up until you have complete peace that the name is good. Ok, you might not find the name of your dreams, that came to you through divine intervention, however 1 week later, 2 weeks later, 1 month later, you should feel peace with the name. If you feel that something is wrong, it might just be that, WRONG.

    Never make it a democratic process where you vote for the best name. Democracy is often about compromise. Do NOT compromise with the peace you and your team members should feel about your name. In democracy nobody and everybody rules. That might bring disasterous results.

    Best of luck to you, Peter. Lykke til!
    George Skee
    Follow me at GeorgeSkee.com

  5. #5
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    Hi,

    Thanks for your replies guys. They were really helpful.

    I've not set some specifications for my future business name, so now I narrowed it down, so hopefully I will be able to think of a good name in the holiday to come.

    My current company name i "Votus Web-design". When we started up this company four year ago, it was all about designing. Now for me it's turned into being also print job, web development and different kinds of consultancy. So now I know for sure that my name shouldn't be held back by "Web-design".

    I think I want a short name, five to six letters. Since I intend to keep this company small, probably only me, the .dk domain should be enough. I think maybe this time the company name should mean something. Actually "Votus" means faithfull in latin, but not that many seems to know

    I don't think it has to be name from which you're able to guess what my business does. It just shouldn't be nonsense either.

    My customers are going to be local businesses primarily. So I think it's best my name something i Danish. I don't want to scare anybody off or have them not understand my company name when I call them on the phone.

    So know I think I'm gonna go for a long walk and maybe something will come up.

    Well thanks again and happy holidays to all of you.

    PS: Tak Pacifer
    --
    Kind regards
    Peter F. Poulsen

  6. #6
    SitePoint Guru worchyld's Avatar
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    I think the hardest part is coming up with a scrapline that uniquely identifies your business that would fit on a titlebar and on your emails, and business cards etc. I tell you that thinking of a good scrapline has been hard for me, it has to be simple and to the point.

    "Web Development Services" just doesn't cut it out these days. Web design, as Brendon will tell you isn't just about web design, but about building businesses, generating sales and increasing revenue.

    Another example,
    "Tailored Web Solutions" also sounds like you concentrate on one subject, so think hard about this.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot Uzzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwarrene
    Most important would be running a trademark and copyright check against the name you wish to use as well as a domain search to make sure it is available.

    so when starting a new biz, would you look for the domain name first or other way around?....and if you had to, would you use 2 different names , for domain name and copyright name.

    tired and confused

  8. #8
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    It would be a bit misleading IMO to use a different domain name to your business name.

    Uzzz you are in Canada, so there's apretty descent chance a biz name you come up with will be available as a .ca

    I came up with a few (6) business names and then checked the trademark and domain availability. Although my .com was taken, I managed to get a .com.au (as I'll be dealing mainly with national clients), as well as a .net.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot Uzzz's Avatar
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    ahh yes makes sense.

    hmm, now to check the trademark availability, can you do that somewhere online? last time i heard, i think there's also a fee for checking?

  10. #10
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    I don't know about Canada, but over in Aus. here there are free databases of the registered business names. I would think services that are charged-for would be for checking up on a certain business and getting all the related history details. Try searching on Google.


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