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Giving Your Limited Liability Company a Great Name

Part of the Limited Liability Companies For Dummies Cheat Sheet

You can’t expect to pick a great name for your LLC (Limited Liability Company) out of thin air. Creativity is best served when subject to a few helpful restrictions. The following are a few naming rules for your businesses:

  • Be distinct. Naming your brand-new and improved social media site FaceSpace or MyBook won’t give the impression that you are either “new” or “improved.” Quite the opposite, actually.

  • Be memorable. Avoid acronyms like the plague. Unless you have a huge annual marketing budget to waste, don’t attempt to grab anyone’s attention with a few letters. If you’re serious about shortening your name, condense it into an amalgam, like FedEx for Federal Express, or Nabisco for National Biscuit Company.

    With that being said, contrary to what you may hear elsewhere, long names are often a lot more memorable than short names (think T.G.I. Fridays versus Joe’s). So don’t worry about restraining yourself with length — especially since you’ll have better luck finding a domain name for a longer name than a shorter one.

  • Be approachable. Make sure your LLC’s name is easy to pronounce. You don’t want people to avoid saying the name because they’re afraid of mispronouncing it. Try out potential names on a first grader. If he can’t pronounce it, ditch it and have him help you find an alternative. Hey, you’d be surprised at what good ideas kids can have!

  • Be meaningful. This doesn’t mean be descriptive; save the description for your tag lines and slogans. Make your LLC’s name evocative and allude to the heart and soul of your business. For instance, Netflix is a great name for an online video rental site, whereas FilmsOnline is not.

  • Be vivid. What image and feeling do you want your customers to associate with your brand? Try to paint a picture. For example, the name Stonyfield Farm makes you think of cows in green pastures, which gives the impression of wholesomeness.

  • Be bold. With so many names already taken, you can’t be afraid of taking risks. As long as your name is evocative, don’t worry about being too unusual — just look at Yahoo! and Google.

  • Be eternal. LLCs are now made to have a perpetual existence, so why restrict the life of your business with its name? Choose a name that will sound good for decades or even centuries down the road, or you may face the same conundrum as Twentieth Century Fox.

  • Be expansive. Be careful that your name doesn’t restrain your business to a specific location, product, or service. For instance, Los Angeles Rentals would have to spend a pretty penny on rebranding if it ever were to expand to another market. No matter how small you are now, you don’t want your name to hold you back or become antiquated as your business moves forward.

  • Be global. Make sure your name is internationally friendly. Otherwise, you may be ready to expand abroad one day only to find out that your name has a negative connotation in certain cultures!

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