How to Select and Register a Witty Business Name

Choosing a clever business name or slogan sounds easy, but it can make you bang your head in frustration. How do you choose a business name or slogan that is unique and catchy? Choosing a business name is one of the most dreaded decisions in starting a business.

The wrong name could make your company seem boring to consumers, while the right name will not only convey how witty and clever your products and services are, but it will also become memorable to potential clients who will share it with others.

A name should not be picked out of hat or in haste; you should dedicate as much time to creating a business name as you will to your most important marketing tasks. Press releases come and go, but your business name is here to stay. An effective name creates a positive image, conveys the qualities of your business, and attracts people to your company.

Creating a Great Slogan

An excellent book to help you come up with a witty business name or slogan is Comedy Writing Secrets by Melvin Helitzer. Helitzer describes a brilliant way to develop a business name or slogan with the help of a thesaurus

Open a spreadsheet. In the first column, start listing all words associated with your business of choice. Be sure to list industry words, products, details of products, parts of products, colors, emotions, supplies, competitors, and keywords about your target market. Use adjectives, nouns, verbs, and adverbs.

Chevrolet sells cars, so every commonly known word related to a car would be listed here, including wheels. UPS had a uniform recognized by all. UPS also provides a service. If you own a bakery, then you make dough. It doesn't hurt to keep this list by your side and ad words as you observe co-workers, clients, and perform daily duties. Run through a dictionary and list words that pertain to your business.

In the second column, list words related to words in the first column, even it has nothing to do with your business. For our example, we listed "wheels" in column one. Wheels move, go round, and revolve, so you also want to list these actions in this column. UPS' uniforms are brown.They perform a service. A word associated with "service" is "do."

In the third column, list rhyming words and opposites to words in the first 2 columns. There are many rhyming dictionaries online. An easy example is UPS. We listed the word do as a variation of the word service. A word that rhymes with "do" is "you."

Now it's about to get fun. The next step is a process that allows companies to come up with clever names. Do any of your listed words have double meanings, insinuations, or variations in spelling? If so, list the words in the fourth column. For our example, we listed revolve as an action of wheels. A play on the world revolve is revolution. Revolution has a double meaning (continually go around, or make a change.

Entries for the fifth column require a bit of research. Using words in the 4 previous columns, write down any famous names, places, quotes, sayings, books, songs, movie titles, cliches, or other phrases associated with any word in any of the columns. Try to think of catch phrases, titles, and quotes that appeal to your target market.

If you do this exercise right, it should take days to finish. If you whipped it up in a few minutes, you need to dedicate more time. Then go through the list and get rid of anything offensive or ineffective.

Concentrate on the columns with double meanings, famous sayings, and quotes. A very clever and witty company name is in there somewhere! Play around with combinations from all 5 of your columns until you find it. For our example, Chevrolet came up with this slogan, "Chevrolet: An American Revolution." It is not only clever, but it also has a double meaning. UPS uses the slogan, "What Can Brown Do for You?" The baker in our example came up with the name "All You Knead." While we don[t know the methods these companies actually used, you can see how you can come up with similar names using these methods.

Check the Name's Availability

Once you've selected a name, ensure that no other company has registered it. To do so, perform a business entity search via your Secretary of State's website. Enter your chosen name into the database and see if other companies are using anything similar.

Name Reservation

If the name is available, immediately reserve it through your state's Secretary of State website, if this option is offered. It would surely be a disappointment if the name was taken or reserved by another company between the time you searched it and actually filed the business registration paperwork. Yes, the chances may be slim, but Murphy's Law is always a dangling consideration.

If you choose not to reserve the name, it will be registered when the forms are filed and your business registration is accepted. That applies to people filing to form a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company. Once registered, also look to lock down the web address by registering with domain name providers.