What’s the best business name you’ve ever heard of? Thought about it yet? Okay, now think how different things could’ve gone for those companies if they lost out on the name they really wanted. Google for instance, initially went by “BackRub” until Larry Page and Sergey Brin changed it to its current household name (now worth US$268bn) according to Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands.
The last time I wrote a blog closely related to this subject it looked specifically on naming your business. This time around I think it’s just as important to outline why you should do everything to keep your newly discovered business name.
In the past I’ve either heard the business names my friends came up with or I’ve helped them create the names that were both great and catchy that fit their business idea perfectly. Unfortunately they’ve never gotten a chance to use them. On the flip-side, I’ve had friends who came up with great names, started using them, but who later found out the name was taken by someone else. First come, first served, right? Here’s what happened to them in those instances:
1) They failed to register the name with the Companies Office of Jamaica (or its equivalent in your country);
2) They didn’t do adequate online research on name availability;
3) Or they thought the name was too unique and original to be created by someone else.
When you’ve struck gold with a potential business name (forgive the cliché), you need to strike while the iron is hot! Any hesitation on your part could mean losing what could’ve been a lucrative business. After all, the name is half the battle. Your business name will influence the logo design, identity, and brand that you will develop for your start-up. This requires an investment of your time and capital (usually limited) into print and web presence (domain name, website, social media — Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.).
The worse thing that could possibly go wrong is when you’ve invested in a business name that is already taken and is being used by someone else. You just wasted your effort and lost earning potential and some customers. You will now have to go back to ye olde drawing board like Marvin the Martian (below).
Give some thought to how big you want to grow. If you’d like to see your business in international markets (export) then your business name will need to be an “original”. There are exceptions that can occur when you came up with a name that already exists, if and only if that business is in a completely different category as yours; let’s say making hats versus making cars. It happens.
At the end of the day though, it’s best to save yourself any unnecessary headache as it relates to intellectual property, trademark, and copyright infringements. Not only that, the added costs of already hiring a graphic designer, professional photographer, marketing expert, and others can amount to a lot of cash. Think about all that I’ve just said to you and do yourself a favour, research, and register before your business name is redundant (for you at least).
Originality won’t “amount” to much if you’ve botched the execution.