Finding the Right Name for Your Pet Business

Cute Golden Retriever in pet store
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Naming a business is one of the most important factors to consider when opening a new or re-branding an existing pet enterprise. Here are some steps to help you find the prrrfect name for your pet brand.

Know Your Client Base and Demographics

Are your clients mostly youngish and hip? Or are they primarily older and conservative? Maybe they are both? Make sure to consider whether your business located in a bustling metropolitan area, or in a more rural region. These are just some of the questions to consider when naming a business.

A name that may work in one area might very well be considered offensive elsewhere. For example, there's a multi-unit pet boutique in Philadelphia called Doggie Style. Luckily for those owners, the residents of their city find that particular business name amusing, but it's a name that would not go over well if the business was located in, say, a small town in Utah with a dense Mormon population.

Coming Up With the Right Fun Name

While some business experts may claim that it's risky to be too cute or kitschy with a business name, having a pet-related business gives you some freedom to be a bit more playful than if you were opening a posh bottle shop or boutique. Depending on your business's location and audience, this may be perfectly suitable, and you could have lots of fun with your business name. 

For example, there are two pet businesses in West Hollywood called Barkingham Palace and Chateau Marmutt. For towns such as these, which are well known for being trendy and quirky, these names work. In the relatively affluent, yet laid-back South Jersey region there is a pet grooming operation called Barkin' Bubbles, as well as a pet-sitting business called Furry Godmother Pet Sitting. These names are cute, to the point, and effective.

While it's fun to play around, it is important to avoid any business names that may contain potentially offensive double entendres or may not translate well into other languages, particularly for stores in multi-cultural areas.

Keep it Simple

Be sure to select a name that's easy to spell and pronounce, isn't too cumbersome, and clearly indicates what the business offers. Also make sure it will fit easily into and look good in your logo, your ads, business cards and other areas in which you will promote your business.

Sets Yourself Apart

Not only does this make good business sense, but it's also a good way to avoid copyright infringement, which is another, very important factor to take into consideration when naming a business. So one must do some research to ensure that the name is not trademarked. You can check the U.S. Patent and Trademark website for more information about this. (Once you do decide on a business name, don't forget to have it registered, for your protection.)

If yours is a family-owned and operated business, one viable option is to include your name (it could be your first or last name, depending on what works best) in the business name itself. For one, this provides a more personalized touch and will help to set your pet business apart fro big box stores. It's also a great idea to include a brief description of what your business offers.

For example, if your pet business specializes in natural and holistic pet foods, you may want to include something like: "Smith's All-Natural Pet Shop."

Naming an Online Business

Naming an eCommerce business is a different ballgame. Since you're not relying on physical walk-in traffic, it's imperative to take such factors as search engine optimization (SEO) into consideration. In other words, the domain name of your website should be easily found when people do a Web search for your company and the products you carry.

Because the Internet now contains such a vast number of websites and many names are taken, creativity combined with simplicity is required. For one example, try doing a Google search for "online natural pet foods." You'll see what you're up against and can determine ways to stand out from the rest.

This also holds true for brick and mortar and other pet businesses with physical locations, because people now more readily rely on web searches as opposed to the good old Yellow Pages when attempting to locate specific types of businesses. So you want to be high on the list when people do more specific area searches.

Once again, do a search specific to your area for something like natural pet foods in (your town or general region) and see what comes up.

While Shakespeare once said, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," coming up with the right name for a pet business is one of the factors that helps to lead to the sweet smell of success.