business naming mistakes

Uh Oh! Common Business Naming Mistakes

Photo by Jannes Glas on Unsplash

It’s rare that a company is able to overcome a bad name choice and become successful. Here are some specific business naming mistakes we recommend avoiding.

Avoid Making the Following Mistakes

Naming a business is tough work! There are hundreds of factors to consider and dozens of potential issues to work through. To some degree, it’s highly subjective. But then there are also some objective measures. The question is, how can you be sure you’re making the right choice?

It’s rare that a company is able to overcome a bad name and become successful. It’s like setting your venture up for failure from the very start. Don’t put yourself through the misery!


Here are some specific business naming mistakes we recommend avoiding at all costs:

1. Too Focused on One Name

There’s something very personal about naming a business. In many respects, it’s a lot like naming a child. You’re bringing something new into the world and, for better or worse, are setting the tone for this new venture by giving it a name for the world to connect with.

Business owners frequently get themselves in trouble by getting too laser focused on one specific name at the expense of all other options. In other words, they find a name they like and then discount all other selections.

Prevent this issue from occurring by exposing yourself to a variety of inspiration. A business name generator is one good option. Simply type in some keywords and it’ll provide you with a list of names that are appropriate for your location and/or industry.

2. Gathering Too Many Opinions

The other problem exists on the opposite end of the spectrum. Some entrepreneurs gather too many opinions and end up suffering through paralysis by analysis.

It’s great to have lots of options, but if you’re someone who has a hard time making decisions, this buffet of names will give you indigestion. This is especially problematic if you’re surrounded by eclectic and opinionated people who are all pushing for different names.

You can avoid this issue by setting up very strict requirements for your name. Then ask people to only bring you names that fit the bill. It’s also important to become faster at saying no to names that you don’t like. The safest way to choose your company’s name would be to use a name generator tool. That way, you’ll get many ideas and choose the one that sounds the best.

3. Using Hard-to-Pronounce Words

There’s nothing worse than having a company with a name that people can’t pronounce. It hurts your online searchability, branding, advertising efficacy, memorability, and more.

So choose names that are simple to spell and easy to pronounce. It’ll save you a lot of trouble and frustration in the years to come.

4. Making It Too Trendy

As with anything, there are trends in the realm of branding. If you study new business incorporations, you’ll find that certain types of names come and go (in terms of popularity). And while they may be hot for six months or a year, they rarely age well.

For example, one of the more popular trends of the 2010s involved adding endings like “ly,” “li,” and and “ify.” Names like Zappli, Yabbly, Leafly, Scopely, Lively, Feastly, Scoutify, Expensify, Spotify, Medify….the list goes on and on.

The problem with trendy names is that they date themselves. While Spotify has done enough to overcome this stigma, the rest of the names mentioned above have either fallen apart, rebranded, or will need to rebrand in the future to stay relevant.

So don’t make the same mistakes as these founders. In other words, avoid trendy names and focus on something timeless and engaging.

5. Failing to Run a Trademark Search on the Name

Running a quick Google search for a brand name is a good way to see if the name is already in use, but it’s not a foolproof method. Just because a name isn’t currently being used in a public-facing capacity doesn’t mean it hasn’t already been claimed. It’s important to run a trademark search so you can see if anyone has called dibs.

6. Making a Business Name Too Limiting

Finally, don’t limit yourself with a name that’s closely correlated with one specific product or industry. While that might be your focus today, there’s no telling how you’ll pivot in three, five, or ten years. Try to be broad enough that you can effortlessly expand over time.

Putting It All Together

When it’s all said and done, selecting a business name is tough work. It requires creativity and careful attention to detail. And as you whittle your list of potential names down to a final grouping, be sure to run them through some of the filters laid out in this article. Doing so will save you from being a future case study on “what not to do.” But even more importantly, it’ll give your business every chance to be successful.

Thinking of starting your own business? Let us help. Visit our blog often for tips and ideas.