When starting a business, or partnering on a business venture, clarity and connectivity is vital. To this end, the naming process should be handled with caution.
Read on for advice on how to name your business:
1) Take Your Time in the Beginning
Even the most patient entrepreneurs will be tempted to rush through this process at some point. It is important to keep in mind that changing your mind on a business name later is possible by filing for a DBA or amending the legal name of your business.
However, rebranding a business name that your customers are already familiar with can take some time and potentially cost you. It will be part of your logo, your marketing materials, and your domain name, all of which will need to change, a change that will need to be communicated to your customers.
Rushing the naming process in the beginning can lead to an uninspiring and unmemorable name, both for you and potential customers. You’re about to put your heart and soul into launching your new business; don’t fall short with the name.
2) Understand Your Business
What is in a name? Ask any successful entrepreneur, and they will tell you the same: everything. Your business’s name is the very first connection you will make with prospective customers. It’s important that you define your organization’s mission, vision, values, and target audience as much as possible.
If you have not already developed a business plan, now is a good time to do so as it is an excellent resource for choosing that perfect name. Then, think about representation: consider the context of your name in your business’s industry, how it benefits your brand’s image, and even how your way with words will affect your consumers.
3) Keep It Short and Simple
Most memorable business names roll off the tongue. They aren’t too short or too long and include full words as opposed to initials or acronyms.
While experts advise against using initials as a business name, they do urge you to consider the acronym. Your customers may refer to your company by an acronym since it's sometimes easier to remember and convey to others—a carefully planned name safeguards against an embarrassing or destructive acronym.
Finally, the name you decide on should also be easy to pronounce. The benefits of this run deeper than you might think. A recent Princeton study revealed that a company’s stock performance is directly tied to the ease of pronouncing its name. Some experts suggest going as far as considering the words’ meaning and how the name sounds in another language.
4) Be Descriptive
Your business’s name and brand are directly tied together. Ideally, the name should evoke positive feelings and convey a specific message about who you are and your positive traits. Try to incorporate descriptive words so consumers have a clear understanding as to what your business offers. Remember, your goal is to create a memorable name that has an immediate impact on those you are trying to reach.
5) Share Your Business’s Story
Does your new start-up have a unique story behind it? If so, use your name as a way to recount that story to the public. This will not only help consumers recognize your company, but it will also help solidify your brand’s character.
6) Leave Your Name Out of It
While you may often see it, today’s top branding experts caution against naming your company after yourself. Sure, Piper’s Pet Store has a nice ring to it, but how memorable is it? If you do choose to go this route, just be aware that you run the risk of painting yourself in a corner regarding expansion and overall success.
7) Brainstorm & Use a Business Name Generator
When brainstorming, come up with two to three words that encompass your business’ mission and values and demonstrate the goods/services you will offer. Now, think outside the box and have fun with it.
For example, businesses like Back to the Fuchsia (a flower shop) and Pastabilities (a pasta restaurant) incorporate memorable wordplay into their business names.
Many well-known organizations have also found success simply combining two words. For example, SaladGo clearly communicates that their establishment specializes in to-go salads, while TripAdvisor helps consumers plan their upcoming vacations.
9) Do a Business Name Search in Your State and Federally
If you plan to structure your business as an LLC or corporation, you must conduct a business name entity search in your state to ensure another similar business name doesn’t already exist.
States do not allow new businesses to use names that are too close to other registered businesses and will sometimes reject formation filings because of name similarities. Because of this, we recommend utilizing a business search tool with every name you consider.
This is also a great time to conduct a trademark search. The United States Patent and Trademark Office and is an excellent resource for determining whether or not you can get a service mark or trademark for your company’s name, or if someone else already has it. Some states also offer state-level trademark searches.
10) Make Sure a Domain is Available
When deciding on a name for your business, you should make sure there is a relevant domain name available.
A .COM domain is still the easiest to remember Top Level Domain (TLD). TLDs also include extensions like .net, .org, .co and an ever-expanding selection like .guru or .shop. However, most experts agree the name itself is far more important than whether your site ends in “.biz” or “.net.” If your desired name isn’t available as a domain, even with slight moderations, you should consider other alternatives.
11) Check Social Media
Operating a successful business in the current age requires internet and social media marketing.
Once you have run a name through the domain search we mentioned in the last step, you will want to check it on the social media platforms you plan to utilize. Namechk is a good resource for ensuring brand and name consistency across all major social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Linkedin.
12) Consider the Future of Your Business
When crafting your company’s name, it’s important to consider the evolution of the business. While you may start out specializing in antique jewelry, your five-year business plan may include jewelry repair or selling additional merchandise. Allow your business room to grow by leaving out words that are too restrictive.
Consumers, as a whole, are a fickle bunch. What is trendy today is often forgotten by next year. Stick with a timeless name that will remain relevant as trends evolve.