Once you have chosen a business idea, you'll need to give it a good name. This task
should not be taken lightly. Take your time, and choose the best meaningful name
that you can come up with. Once you pick a name, it is yours for life. Changing your
substandard business name after you’ve started is not something that you not even
want to entertain.
Deciding a name is a subjective exercise but there are a few golden rules to follow.
Pick a Small Business Name that is Meaningful. If you are importing goods for moms
with tots, what do these women relate to? Convenience? Safety?
Don't Try to be Cute. Everybody thinks that they are the world's best marketer. People
come up with what they believe is a cute name for their business only to discover
that it seems corny to the potential customers.
The Best Small Business Names are the Ones that Sells your Benefits to your Potential
Customers. Speedy Mufflers (Mufflers installed quickly), Thrifty Rent A Car (Cheap
Rentals) are excellent examples of incorporating what the company has to offer in
Can’t I Just Make Up a Word for my Small Business Name? Isn't Nike a made up word
which turned out to be a world class brand? The intellectuals will tell you that
Nike is a Greek word for victorious. As a small business thinking about importing,
can't you just make up a word too? The answer is no. Big companies with big budgets
can develop a brand name overtime. As a small business owner, you just won't have
the time or the luxury to explain to your potential customers what your name stands
The Shorter the Better for your Small Business Name. The best brand names in the
world are short, crisp names such as Coke, Delta. It's easier for your customers
to remember. It also gives you greater flexibility in where and how to place your
name in promotions and advertising if your name is shorter than longer.
Don't let your Small Business Name Pigeon Hole Yourself. Don't call yourself “Teen
Ear Rings” if you know you are going to broaden to other categories. Perhaps you
should go with a broader name like “Teen Jewelry” or “Something for Teens”?
Check if Someone is Already Using the Small Business Name. You'll be kicking yourself
when you have everything ready to start your business only to discover that there
is another “Flower Emotions” store across the city. Start by checking your local
directories. Then check the Internet. Even if there is another Flower Emotions
in a very distant state, it is best to avoid the future battles. Fighting with trademark
lawyers is not something that you want to waste your time and effort on.
Does your Small Business Name Pass the Customer Test? Find some people within your
target. Tell them the name of your business but nothing else. Then ask them what
the name tells them about your business. Did they tell you what kind of business
it is? What does the business stand for? If your name passes this acid test, most
likely it is a good name.
Tips for Choosing a Small Business Name
After Small Business Name is Business Location
The Real Estate slogan of "it's all about location, location, location" is true for
certain types of businesses. If you planned to import goods from China to sell in
your gift shop, then all good retail rules follow. You need to pick a location where
your potential consumers like to shop. If you are importing for the purpose of wholesale
and you are looking for warehouse space, then you will have more flexibility.
Cost - No matter how great the location, if the rental cost prohibits you from make
a profit, then it is not a good location. Figure out what you can afford before
Competition - If you can find an area where there is little or no competition, that
is great. Sometimes it may not be possible to have zero competition. You should
always be aware of who else is doing the same thing in your neighborhood. Build
this in your plans.
Labor - If you are a one man or one woman show, then having a good labor force to
choose from may not be a deciding factor for now. Sooner or later though, businesses
grow to the point where you will have to hire employees. Keep this in mind. How
difficult will it be to hire someone for your gift store?
Shopping Plazas and Shopping Centers - Be sure to check out who are the other tenants.
Are they competitors either directly or indirectly? If you are not competitors,
do the neighboring tenants have similar customers? Will they help to bring customers
Work from Home - Working at home is a growing trend in the western nations. Starting
a business at home works best for services but less so for retail oriented businesses.
In the U.S., there is a tax benefit for using your home. You can deduct some or
all of your home expenses and apply it against your business revenue. Sometimes you
can only deduct a percentage of the home expenses. This is usually calculated based
or square footage used for business versus square footage of the whole house.
instance, you have a 20 feet by 20 feet room (400 Square feet) in the basement that
you set up for your office and your whole house is 2000 square feet. 400 divided
by 2000 is 20%. So you can deduct 20% of your house expenses and apply them to your
business revenues. Check out the IRS Publication 587 for more details.
Tips for Selecting the Best Location for your Business
Name, location and Now Business Structure
The next step to setting up a business is deciding on one of the four business structures:
Sole Proprietor, Partnership, Corporation and Limited Liability Company.
Sole Proprietor - simplest to form. Business owned and operated by yourself. You
have unlimited personal liability which means that they can come and take your house,
car and assets if your business goes into debt. Business ends when you die. You
do have total control of your business.
Partnership - simple to form. Business formed and operated by two or more individuals.
Same unlimited personal liability risk as sole proprietors.
Corporation - most complex to form because it is a separate legal entity. There are
many more regulations to follow. Your personal assets are separate from the corporation.
So they can't take your house if the corporation goes bankrupted.
Limited Liability Company (LLC) - somewhat moderately complex to form. It is a combination
of the benefits of the sole proprietor and the corporation. This is not a separate
legal entity. So you report profits as your personal income. Your assets are protected
from the business liabilities if there are financial difficulties.