I read your story “Quick Tips: 6 Tips for Names That Stand Out” with great interest. However, I’m still having trouble choosing a name for my consulting business. Can you please comment on how to arrive at a name if you own a service business? —Roberto Noce, Houston
Service businesses don’t have visible products to rely on, so coming up with a company name that’s both clever and meaningful is vital. First, think about the benefits your service offers customers, says Brenda S. Bence, founder of Brand Development Associates, a personal and corporate branding consultancy in Chicago. For example, if a delivery service guarantees that it can send packages faster than any other company, its name might incorporate speed or racing. Also, be sure that the name you select is clear, succinct and simple, she says.
Once you’ve found a name, make sure it’s not already in use. Head to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Electronic Search System to search for federally registered trademarks. To ensure that you’re not repeating company names that operate solely within your state, check out the trademarks on file with the various Secretaries of State or applicable state registries, says Barry Werbin, chairman of the intellectual property practice group at New York law firm Herrick, Feinstein. For a more exhaustive search, hire vendors such as Thompson & Thompson and CT Corsearch, he says.
Then, make sure you’re able to reserve a web site address that’s as close to the name as possible, Bence says. Even if your ideal address is taken, you might still keep your company name. Just pick a pithy phrase that’s catchy, memorable and communicates your company’s message, she says. (Here’s our story on how to select a domain name.)
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