How to Choose the Right Name for Your Import/Export Business

Freight ship loading cargo container in port

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Even the best products and ideas won't sell if a company's name is poorly chosen. There's a lot to consider in a name, especially one that may be operating in multiple countries. Is your potential name inoffensive everywhere you're planning to do business? Take some time to research how your intended company name translates into the official languages of at least your five most likely markets. Obviously, the more translation checks you do, the more comfortable and confident you will feel about taking your name worldwide.

Decide exactly what your business will do. Be specific about your business intentions without being too narrow. Imagine owning and running this business for a lifetime. Focus on your personal values and how they will drive your business. Spend as much time on this as you would naming a child or pet – it is almost as important a relationship.

After you do a little brainstorming and come up with a trade name that best fits your long-term mission and doesn't mean anything bizarre, off-putting or inappropriate elsewhere in the world, have your attorney conduct a legal search to ensure that you are not infringing upon anyone else's company name. Your attorney should also register the name with the appropriate intellectual property authorities.​

The Process for Choosing a Name

When you are developing your ideas for a company name, it should move from the general to the specific. The process could look like this:

What Are Your Main Imports/Exports?

Let's say you import/export earrings. Don't stop describing your niche there. Here are some ways to get even more specific.

  • Specifically: Import/export inexpensive costume earrings.
  • More specifically: Import/export costume earrings that never cost me more than $1 a pair.
  • Most specifically: Import/export pierced and clip-back costume earrings that never cost me more than $1 a pair and are nicely gift-boxed.

Where Do You See Yourself in Twenty Years?

Example: Working with numerous quality suppliers to offer hundreds of varieties of earrings and other jewelry items to customers worldwide.

What Are Your Values?

Example: Honesty, integrity, and trust. I am concerned about excellence. I respect people, look out for their welfare, and believe that they are the heart of an enterprise. Employees come first; customers all over the world who love my products come next.

How Much Do You Believe in Your Company's Direction?

Example: I believe in myself one hundred percent. I know I can make this happen. As long as I continue to believe in myself, I will lead the company in the right direction to achieve success.

The Importance of a Mission Statement

After a thorough analysis, you will have a clearer picture of your company and where it is headed. You should be able to name your business and create a flexible mission statement to reinforce and encapsulate your corporate goals. It should contain a statement of purpose that is timeless, and distinctive enough to set you apart from competitors. Here's an example of Jewelry Import/Export Company's mission statement:

"To import/export world-class costume jewelry at affordable prices."

This statement is a great start and can easily evolve over time. Its basic premise will remain the same.

What's Your Specialty?

You may have a clear vision for what you want to do, for example, importing, exporting, and sourcing products worldwide. You may not know what your specialty product will be. Take a moment to write down a list of words of what your company is going to do:

  • International
  • Worldwide
  • Trade
  • Export
  • Import
  • Delaney
  • Affordable
  • Source
  • Global
  • Products
  • Outside of the U.S.A.
  • Marketing
  • Chicago
  • Far Away

Combining these words, you may come across a name that conveys your company. The combination of some of these may sound, look, and feel like the name of your business. It is important to select a name you can live with for a long, long time and one that holds up well as a website name too. Take some time now to draft a few ideas for your own import/export shop.