Step 1: Your Name

The first step in setting up a successful business is finding a good name. First impressions are everything, and nothing will propel you to the top or keep you trapped on the bottom like the name of your business. A business’s name speaks volumes about the professionalism of the company and the business savvy of its owner. You want a name the screams “This is who we are, and this is what we do.”

  • Select a name that has meaning.
    • When someone is looking for car detailing on the internet, they are going to more than likely use the keyword “car detailing” or some variant. You want someone searching for your business to instantly know that you do what they are looking for. There should be little doubt about what service you offer just by reading your name. This will make finding you easier, and be more recognizable as someone in the car detailing industry. If they cannot find you, or do not know what you do, your phone will not ring.
  • Avoid using your name, initials, or regions.
    • Nothing is going to limit the growth of your company more than naming it after yourself. If you name the company “Joe’s Car Detailing”, or “J.B.S Car Detailing” you are going severely limit your business before it even gets off the ground. If I call Joe’s Car Detailing, as a consumer I would expect that the company is going to be very small, and I will probably have “Joe” detailing my vehicle. It will be very hard to shake that perception with the public if you want to grow and expand. You will also never be able to sell your company unless you happen to come across someone named Joe who really wants to be a car detailer
    • Regional names might seem great when you are small. “Centreville Car Detailing” works if you ONLY serve Centreville, and none of the surrounding area, or if you never plan on expanding outside of your city. As a consumer, if I am looking for Car Detailing in “Easton”, the next town over from Centreville, I will probably not call you. Even if you do service customers from Easton, people who are shopping around will assume you only serve Centreville, and will not even take the time to call. This applies more to mobile businesses, but even shops will have a hard time opening another location in a different town with a regionally limiting name. Don’t put limitations on yourself before you even know how big your company will be. The only exception to this if you are in a major metropolitan center like Chicago or San Diego, where you would be able to expand without leaving the city you are based.
  • Say it out loud and run it by others.
    • If it does not sound great now, do not expect it to grow on you. You are not stuck with a name forever, but changing it later and re-branding can be extremely difficult. If your name is too difficult to pronounce, uses weird letter combinations, has a tongue twisting element to it, uses slang, or abbreviations (like “U” instead of “You), do not expect people to say it to others. Nothing is more powerful and cost effective than Word of Mouth advertising, and you do not want to limit that by selecting a name that people feel silly saying or just are not willing to say it out loud.
    • You also want to make sure that your name sounds professional. Something along the lines of “P-Dawg’s Car Detail”, does not give a potential customer confidence that their vehicle is going to be safe and taken care of in a professional manor. Perception is everything.
  • Make sure someone else is not using the name
    • The easiest way to do this is to Google your potential name, and see if anyone else comes up locally. If they do, this might be a potential red flag.
    • Check with the state that you are planning on working in to make sure that the name is not already registered. Just because you cannot find it on Google, does not mean it is not already taken. People often get a name and then put it aside for the future. You do not want to have to worry about legal trouble down the road. o You always want to check the Federal Trademark office, USPTO.gov, to make sure it is not registered elsewhere. Even if you register it with the state you are in, and there is no one else operating in the area with that name, your name could be in jeopardy. If a company that has rights to a federal name, that was registered before the creation of your business, decides to operate in your service area, it will be you that is forced to change your name .
  • Use the K.I.S.S Method (Keep It Simple Stupid)
    • You want to keep your name short. The shorter the better. It will be more likely to be remembered and recalled when looking for the service you are offering
    • Make sure it is easy to spell. If in doubt, ask a few people to know to try and spell the name, if they cannot, you might have a problem. You will find a good portion of your business comes from customers searching for you. If they cannot spell your name, they will not find you.
    • Alliterations or rhymes are easy to remember, and will work greatly to your advantage. Think Jimmy Johns, or Coca-Cola.

These are just a few ideas to keep in mind when selecting the name of your business. Remember, choosing correctly in the beginning can save you the time, money, and aggravation of having to change it later. If you want to own a successful business that it is not tied to one person or one geographic region, be sure to name it accordingly.

This is for information purposes only, and is not financial or legal advice. Please consult with a lawyer or accountant about your individual needs.