Starting a business has often been compared to having a child given the amount of time, energy, and effort given to see it grow and flourish. Similar to naming a child, business owners often will ponder for what seems to be a lifetime on what to name their company. How does one choose a company name? Is there a standard process? Is there a formula?
As someone who has gone through this process numerous times with my own entrepreneurial ventures, choosing a company name was a process I usually saved until the end. The name should represent several things:
- What You Do
- Who “You” Are (the founder)
- What You Represent
Back in October 2018, on the advice of 2 great friends, I underwent a rebrand of my company formerly known as SEQ Advisory Group. One friend, Wendy Merrill of StrategyHorse Consulting, told me that my name needed to be more representative of me, the underdog fighting and working with other underdogs. The other friend, Justin of KDGAdvertising, created the visual brand message and helped me translate my vision. In case you haven’t read it, here’s the story of what One Stone Consulting represents.
There were a number of takeaways from this process, a process that I initially wasn’t sold on, but here are 3 key steps when trying to choose a company name:
Is it already taken?
This should be a given but still worth stating. You want to ensure that the name is at minimum, available in your state or immediate business area. Next, you want to check with the US Patent & Trademark Office to check availability to use the name within your industry.
Does it past “The Phone Test”?
Justin worked with me on simplifying the web/email address. As we tried different variations, the test would always be “Is it simple enough that if I need to give it to someone over the phone or in a pinch, can they grasp it right away?”
Does it tell “Your” story?
This was something Wendy and I battled about as I am not typically one who shares much about themselves personally to just anyone. However, people buy from those they trust who have a story to tell. Even the Walmart’s and S.C. Johnson’s of the world have a story and started somewhere.
The moral of the story, choose a company name that you are proud to share and represents the values and mission you have established.