5 Important Rules On How To Choose A Company Name
“Aaron, how did you come up with the name of your business, Redcon1?” This is a question I’m frequently asked by friends, family, and aspiring business owners. Redcon1 is a shorthand military term meaning the highest state of readiness. But my company sells sports supplements. What does this have to do with military readiness? By rule number 5 you’ll understand.
Rule #1 - Keep it short
Famously, Facebook used to be The Facebook. Redcon1 is a shortened version of “Readiness Condition 1.” A strong name is a simple name. This has several advantages, the most obvious of which is SPELLING. People just can’t spell. If it’s too complicated, it gets misspelled. Do you want people to be able to find you on Google? Keep it as short as possible.
Rule #2 - Make it something easy to remember
When I think of the most iconic companies throughout history, they all have names that are easy to remember. An easy to remember name beats a long descriptive name. What does Apple have to do with computers? Or Amazon with online merchandise? Rolex isn’t even a real word! “It had to be a short word with a good ring to it, easy to pronounce in every language, and easy to remember”. - Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex.
Rule #3 - Make sure you can buy the domain
Coming up with a name that’s short and easy to remember is worthless if you can’t buy the domain. And remember, the most valuable websites are .com, not the .co or .net versions. Of course, if you can obtain all three for a reasonable price, that's what you want to do. You’ll also want the social media handles for your new company, so make sure nobody on Instagram already has it. Since almost anything cool is most likely taken, you may need to think outside the box, like Mr. Wilsdorf.
Rule #4 - Trademark the name FAST
If you’ve made it to rule 4, you’ll need to make sure the trademark is available. This is not only to protect your company’s name, but to ensure you’re not infringing on someone’s intellectual property. Each type of business or product has a different category for trademark purposes. Delta, for example, is a faucet company and an airline. So while they have the same trademarked name, they’re not infringing on each other. While you may be able to search the United States Patent and Trademark Office yourself, it’s complicated. Hiring an attorney to conduct a thorough trademark search is money well-spent.
Rule #5 – The name should be meaningful
Here is the most difficult of all the rules – while not mandatory (see examples in Rule #2 above), if possible have the name stand for something or mean something relevant to your company or industry. Even if it’s not immediately obvious. For REDCON1, our goal is to provide dietary supplements to a diverse consumer base-- whether that’s a parent running straight from work to a PTA meeting, or an elite athlete in the middle of a grueling season -- everyone wants to be at their highest state of readiness. Obviously, many companies have found tremendous success without adhering to rule 5, but it can help to have a name with meaning.
Naming your new business entity is like naming a child. It’s the first step in your company’s journey. When I named REDCON1, I was fortunately able to follow all 5 rules. While this certainly didn’t guarantee the success we’ve had, or make us the fastest growing sports supplement company in history, it definitely helped!