There will be many steps taken in launching your business. A crucial one and an indicator of your company’s success is choosing the right name. Choosing a name for your business can prove tricky. You want something that’s catchy, memorable, and representative of your service or products.
But what if you come up with something that you love only to face the disappointment of those you know hating it?
Or you find one and the domain name is already taken?
Perhaps you’ve found something fantastic and your competitor has something similar enough to be a problem so you can’t trademark it.
As you can see, choosing the right name for your business can be met with many obstacles.
The name should be as unique as your value proposition. It needs to stand out from the competition while speaking directly to your target audience.
Here are some tips to make choosing a name for your business less daunting and, hopefully, more fun.
Before you can come up with a winning business name, you’re going to need to generate as many ideas as you can. Think of your business and make a list of all the words, thoughts, feelings, and imagery that arise. For example, suppose you were opening a meal prep and delivery business, words like quick, easy, delicious, convenient, healthy, and fresh could come to mind, sparking ideas for your service.
Perhaps you’d like to use your initials. There are differing opinions on whether to use acronyms or initials. But if you come up with something that you think is memorable then go for it. There are so many companies that are now household names that are acronyms, such as H&M (Hennes and Mauritz), CVS (Consumer Value Stores) or GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company). H&M, interestingly, is a name that doesn’t directly reflect what the business is about; however, it had enough of a marketing campaign to push it into the minds of mainstream consumers.
Try creating a name no one has heard of by combining words that are relevant to your field. The wellness brand Healthy Hospo has done just that, as it is bringing wellness practices to the hospitality field.
Also, play around with using metaphors or double entendres (words with double meanings) for a unique name. Imagine a delivery business called, Lightning Quick, or a photography business named Straight Shooter. Let your imagination have fun with a variety of intriguing word combinations.
Still Can’t Think of Anything?
What if after several rounds of intense brainstorming sessions you’re still struggling to think of something? You have help in the form of business name generators. These sites allow you to enter keywords and then they will generate suggestions for you. Anadea Business Name Generator and Wordlab Business Name Generator are sites that offer this service and are worth checking out if you get stuck.
Things to Avoid
To ensure that your name is as impactful as possible, be sure to avoid the following:
- Hard to spell names
- Names that are too long
- Names that are already popular for something else
- Names with negative or risqué connotations
- Something so specific that if you later wanted to expand the business it’d be a challenge
Now That You’ve Found Your Name
So, you’ve done your due diligence and have come up with the perfect name. Before you go ahead and order the business cards make sure to run it through a few final checks. For instance, say the name out loud. How does it sound? You want something that’s easy to read and pronounce.
What do your colleagues, family, and friends think of it? This sort of feedback can be invaluable because of others being able to catch things you may have missed. An example of this is picking a name you love but not realizing that it can be misinterpreted and imply something entirely different from what you want to convey.
You’ll also want to do a few more quick searches online to ensure that the name is available. Check GoDaddy to see if someone hasn’t already grabbed the name. It may turn out that someone has it but wants to sell it. Then it’s your call whether you want to make the financial investment and buy the domain or come up with something else.
Checking with your state business registrar is another option for finding out if a business name is available. But, if you’re in a rush, this option isn’t the best because they require you to mail in a letter of inquiry to your state offices. Snail mail plus governmental bureaucracy can equal very long wait times.
Finally, it’s a good idea to take it for a test drive. Try Google AdWords, Google Survey, or PollFish. These tools allow you to do keyword searches and conduct surveys so as to learn 1) if there are names close to yours out there that you’d be vying with for attention and 2) survey real people to see how your name stacks up.
Give your business an advantage out of the gate by taking the time to choose a name that reflects who you are, what you do, and where you’re going.