So you’ve decided to start a dog grooming business. Congratulations! Starting any business can be a scary endeavor… but it’s also very rewarding and exciting!
It might not seem like it, but choosing a name for your business might be one of the most difficult parts of getting it off the ground. Here’s a rundown of the do’s and don’ts of choosing the perfect name for your dog grooming business.
What’s in a Name?
A lot, actually! Whether you like it or not, your business name will be the first impression you give to your potential clients. You’ll want to choose a name that – at best – makes the client relate with your brand, or at least peaks the client’s interest enough to want to know more about it.
Developing your Brand
Before you choose a name for your business, you need to have established your brand values. You’ll want to pick a name that fits in with your brand’s image. For instance, a business that stands for basic and practical grooming will have a completely different name than a business whose focus is on fun and trendy grooming styles. Once you have a general description of your dog grooming brand’s core values, you’ll be better equipped to make a short list of possible names.
Making a Short List
There are countless sources from which you can draw inspiration for a business name. Once you have an idea of the message you want to convey, you can then start looking for words, phrases or names that convey that message. Consider looking into:
- Proper names
- (Simple!) word games
- Words in other languages
- Clichés or popular phrases
- Names from books, mythology or other works of fiction
- Use your imagination!
Don’t limit yourself here. Be as creative as you want and write down every contender for your business name. You’ll probably find it’ll take about 10-20 names before you really start to think outside the box and come up with some real winners.
Once your first list is done, go through it and eliminate the names you don’t like as much… then order the ones you DO like from favorite to least favorite.
Rules of Naming your Business
Once you have your ordered short list (which in the end might not be very short, but that’s okay) you’ll want to run each naming possibility through the gauntlet to make sure it follows the rules of naming your business.
Make it Legal
If you end up with a business name that’s in some way illegal, game over.
At the very least, make sure the business name isn’t already taken. The last thing you want is to end up in a court battle over trademark infringement. So take the time to thoroughly check and make sure your business name doesn’t step on anyone’s toes.
You’ll probably have to eliminate a lot of your contenders based solely on this step. It sucks, we know, but trust us… it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Keep It Simple
Many business owners try to be ultra-clever with their business name. Unfortunately, this often backfires and leaves clients wondering what in the world the business name means. Let’s put it this way: if you have to explain or apologize for your name to your clients, you chose poorly.
While you want your business name to convey your core values, you also want something that people will understand, or at the very least won’t question.
Make sure the name works FOR you, not AGAINST you.
Consider the Spelling
If your business name contains words that are commonly misspelled, or unusual words that have a difficult spelling, consider how that will affect your customers if they try to find you online. This is especially tricky when you get into proper names, or words from languages other than English.
Try to choose a name that people will be able to spell after hearing it once.
Keep it Short
A business name should not be a sentence. It needs to be short and snappy. Think about the top brand names out there today. Are any of them more than two words long? Maybe one out of a hundred? There’s a reason for that. Consumers have a very short attention span: they might remember a word… but they won’t bother trying to remember a phrase, especially if it’s a business name!
If you choose to shorten your pet grooming business name by turning it into an acronym, make sure it’s 2-3 letters, max.
Make it Internet Friendly
By now, your list of potential pet grooming business names is probably much shorter than when you started out. Next, you’ll want to make sure that the business name can be registered online.
Ideally, your website will be “www.YourBusinessName.com”.
Write it out in front of you before you register it as your website domain. You never know if unintended words are formed by taking away the spaces. This can make your website URL hard to read at best, and distracting and vulgar at worst.
If you can’t get your exact name:
Say www.AmazingGrooming.com is already taken… but www.AmazingGroomingTexas.com is available, snatch it up!
Also, for the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume you’ve done your research and you know for a fact that “Amazing Grooming” is NOT a trademarked term, so there are no legal restrictions to your using that name.
Well, sure you can move forward and build your business website on that second, longer, address. Just consider that you’ll forever be in an online competition for visitors with that first website. You’ll have to put a lot more time and energy into your online strategy to make sure you stand apart from competition that has the same name.
While sometimes you’ll have to concede and register a website that isn’t your exact business name… just consider the side effects of doing so. If you have other top contenders on your business name list where you CAN register that very website… that might be a better choice.
If the .com is unavailable:
When looking into registering a website, you might find that “.com” is taken, but “.info” or “.net” or “.au” or some other extension is available. Again, you can choose to go down this road, but make it an informed decision.
Customers will typically look for a “.com” first. If you don’t own it, some customers might inadvertently end up on someone else’s website.
Testing your Business Name
Once you’ve chosen your business name, you’ll want to run it through the ringer!
First, make sure your business name won’t be listed with other less desirable brands or products. If someone searches you on Google, the last thing you want is to be listed in the middle of a bunch of plumbing supplies, or in between news stories covering terrorist activities!
A lot of innocent businesses that were named “ISIS” decided to rebrand this past year, as you can imagine. Though you can’t predict the future, you can at least make sure you don’t walk into that type of situation due to poor research.
Next, test your dog grooming business name with a small sample of potential customers. Ask them what they think of the name: does it interest them? Confuse them? Would they give the business a chance, based on that name? An impartial and honest reviewer might uncover some issues that you’ve overlooked.
Do Your Best!
Hopefully this guide will help you pick the best business name you can while avoiding some common pitfalls.
A final word of advice… at the end of the day, be sure that you choose a business name that you like!
Have you ever tried to choose a name for a dog grooming business? What problems did you encounter in doing so? Let us know in a comment below!
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