In this article, we focus on naming your gymnastics business, but you can apply this to the challenge of “picking a name for my business” of any type. Choosing a business name can be fun and exciting, but it’s an important step that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The name of your business is the first impression of your overall brand. Choosing the wrong name could turn customers away. However, if you take time to think it through and come up with something that’s catchy and appropriate, you may impact your business in a very positive way.
All about you?
Some owners believe it is easiest to name their gymnastic studio after themselves. While this certainly may ease concerns because you won’t violate others’ trademarks or repeat studio names, you should think twice before going with this option.
Reasons to consider putting your name on your business:
- Establishing a legacy
- Making yourself a brand
- Creating a family-owned operation
- People like dealing with a person and not just a “company”
Reasons to consider another name:
- People immediately tie you to the business.
- Using just your name says little about what you have to offer.
- Your name may not be as memorable as other catchy options.
- The business resale value is decreased because a new owner would likely have to rename the business.
What’s really in a name?
Naming your business can be a very complicated matter. There are firms that actually specialize in such decisions. Rates for taking on an expert can range from $5,000 to $100,000. If your gymnastics studio is small, that probably does not fall into your budget. However, coming up with a good name can be done without such expense.
Be creative, but give a good amount of time to selecting a name. As you put some serious thought into what your business name should be, consider the following:
- What message do you want to convey with your name? Do you want people to recognize your gymnastics business to be hard core or warm and fuzzy? Will the name you pick reflect your business culture?
- Who should have the final say on what the name will be? Will you, as the owner, be the deciding factor? Are there partners or investors that should be included in the decision?
- Is it unique? You want to choose a name that isn’t already claimed by anyone else, including online businesses. Do a Google search to make sure your name doesn’t duplicate any existing gymnastics studio.
- Do you want it to be literal or descriptive? Having an obscure and emotional name often drives a brand. However, in some locations, getting to the point is more beneficial because the name is quick and easy to grasp.
- Who will be your primary target audience? Do you want your gymnastics studio to be more adult-sounding or kid-friendly? Will you be immediately recognized as a place for serious gymnasts or open to everyone?
- How will your name look? Consider how it will appear as a logo, in print, online and in social media.
- Do you want to stand out or be part of something bigger? Maybe you wish to be part of the community and include a city or county name (i.e. Riverside Community Gymnastics or Heart of Cleveland Gymnastics). While such a name might be nice at the start, if you expand or move from the area, it will be problematic.
- Will your name be dated? Consider what your name will sound like 10 or 20 years from now. Will it still seem appropriate?
When choosing a name, make sure to:
- Choose a name that is appealing to your target audience.
- Stay away from puns, inside jokes or offensive slang.
- Pick something that’s easy to pronounce and isn’t too long.
- Make it uncomplicated and easy to spell.
- Not use “Inc.” unless the studio is, in fact, incorporated.
Once you decide
When you settle on a name, it’s good to protect it. Registering your business name is not the same as incorporation. Registering as “Doing Business As” or DBA lets the government know you are doing business as someone other than your individual self. Even if you name your business after yourself, register as DBA.
Applying for a trademark will protect any names, logos or symbols associated with your business. Filing for a trademark can be inexpensive with an online service – less than $500 – but understand the difference between that and a trademark registration lawyer. Don’t naively skimp on important protection for your biggest business asset.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cletch/