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What’s in a name?

There was a great article in the Entrepreneur magazine online about how to brainstorm a business name, and it reminded me of an article I wrote years ago on the subject. That blog is long gone, but I can remember the simple tips to keep in mind when you’re picking out a name for the first time:

1. Make it easy to remember
Short and sweet! If the ad agency in Mad Men was real, I would recommend they shorten their name: Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is way too long! No wonder GSD&M went with initials right?

2. Make it easy to pronounce and spell
If I can’t spell it, I’m already frustrated. If I can’t pronounce it, I probably won’t remember it.

3. Consider domain availability
If your only a local-wide business, your domain  name can also be www.BUSINESSNAMECITY.com (ie: www.bestcookiesaustin.com, etc . . .)

4. Look into availability regionally or nationally
If the domain isn’t available, you’ll probably need to choose something different if you’re a national or worldwide company. If you’re a local business, check with your county clerk’s office to see if anyone else has registered the name for your type of business.

5. Pick a name that reflects the reputation and/or the customers you want to attract
This is probably the most important tip. Come up with a list of attributes you want the name to possess and describe who your target and potential customer targets are. Refer back to this list when you’re trying to narrow down your ideas.

I get asked a lot how I chose the name Hot Dog Marketing . . . it wasn’t rocket science, but I did want a name that was fun, modern and playful, and hard-to-forget. Did I mention I have two dachshunds? I’m sure that had something to do with the name too.

Here’s the Entrepreneur article that got me thinking. How did you come up with your business name? Share your stories!