Are We Running Out Of Business Names?

If you’ve ever wanted to start a business, you have to pick a catchy name.  But most of those have already been taken.  In fact, most of the words you use every day are probably trademarked.

So what do you do if you need a business name?  It’s complicated — your first thought is for something unique (Google), but common words can be surprisingly effective (Apple).  Try to keep it simple, as in short and easy to pronounce, but an estimated 80 percent of the syllables you use daily have already been claimed as single-word marks.  Of course, you could use your last name, but if you’re fortunate enough to sell your business for an obscene profit, you’ve lost control of your name.  (But once again, it’s complicated — Michael S. Dell is getting away with it.)  Finally, you can always make up a word.  Try to think of something with a positive connotation, like Verizon (which suggests “horizon”).  On the other hand, remember Ford’s Edsel nameplate?  One reason for the flop may have been because the name rhymed with “weasel” and “pretzel.”

Nothing is simple anymore.



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