If you are just starting out in business and you haven’t found a name yet, don’t worry! Deciding to how name your business is an important step so take your time and get it right.
If you’ve already named your business and found that it’s just not working for you, it may be time to rebrand. (Visit our rebranding blog here!).
When naming your business be really intentional about it. Put some serious time and thought into coming up with your business name. You’ll want to ask for feedback from other people, or ask for ideas – an outside opinion is always a good thing!
But remember to ask people who are aware of what you are trying to achieve or are in your target audience. When you name your business you always want to ask for input from the people that actually resemble your target audience–that understand their pain, their frustrations, their wants, their lifestyle and much more. Those are the opinions that matter when choosing your brand name.
Here are 12 helpful suggestions on how to come up with a winning name for your business:
1. Avoid hard-to-spell names business names
When you name your business you don’t want potential customers getting confused about how to find your business online. You want to avoid having to continually spell the business name or use misspelt versions of the word that sounds almost the same as the correct version. Don’t try to be clever. Keep it simple.
2. Make sure the name sounds good when said aloud.
Sometimes business names seem fine on paper, but sound awful when said aloud. So practice it first or tell others and watch their reaction. And when it is said aloud, make sure people aren’t confused as to how it’s spelled.
3.Don’t pick a business name that could limit you as your business grows.
Picking a name for your business that’s too narrow may cause you problems as your business grows. Imagine if Jeff Bezos had picked the name “OnlineBooks” instead of “Amazon.” Today their business model has moved far away from just selling books, therefore this name would have been no longer relevant. You don’t want to limit your business to a particular product or a specific city.
4. Conduct a thorough Internet search.
Once you have determined your business name you like, make sure to do a thorough web search. More often than not, you will find that someone else is already using that business name. Always check if they are still an operating business, if they are a possible competitor and how established they are. If someone googles your name and they get a competitor business – then it may be a clear no-no.
You may find it useful to read ‘Brand Guidelines: What are they and why does your business need them‘ blog post.
5. Get a business domain name
When you name your business you want to secure the “.com” domain name rather than alternatives such as .net, .org, .biz, or other possible domain extensions. Customers tend to associate a .com name with a more established business. Undoubtedly, someone will already own your desired .com name, but you may still be able to find alternatives such as .co.uk or .club just like ours.
You can check on the availability of a domain name on sites such as GoDaddy.com and if the domain name is taken, you can often track down the owner of the domain name and see if they are willing to sell it by using the “Whois” tool.
Also make sure to grab your desired business name handle on popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
6. Use a name that conveys some meaning.
Ideally, you want the business name to convey something meaningful and positive related to your business. Can people instantly get what your business is about? While meaningless names like “Google,” “Yahoo,” or “Zappos” have some appeal due to their catchiness, these kinds of names will cost you a lot more to build a solid brand.
You may find it useful to also read ‘Brand Clarity: 4 Easy Steps to Understanding Your Brand‘ blog.
7. Assess if the name is catchy.
Of course, you don’t want a boring name for your business, but you also don’t want to choose something that’s too “out there.” You want a name that stands out and becomes easy to reference name that spreads. Imagine how people will talk about it and tell their friends, how will that sound in their conversations? Will this name catch on or be too much of a mouthful to share?
8. Get feedback on the name.
Come up with 5 or 10 names and then run them by friends, family members, and trusted peers. Get feedback from your target audience as well.
Do make sure that the name doesn’t have any negative connotations or negative meanings in other languages ( GM named its new car model the “Nova” without realizing that the name meant “doesn’t go” in Spanish).
9. Conduct a trademark search when you name your business.
If you have plans to create a product or create a brand that needs to be protected, do a search at USPTO.gov to get an idea as to whether you can get a trademark or service mark for the name. Usually, descriptive names are not possible to trademark, so consider the guidelines when naming your business.
10. Make sure you are personally happy with the name.
You as the business owner will have to use the name consistently and for a long time, so make sure you are happy with it and believe it will resonate with your customers. Take the time to get it right from the start or it can be a lengthy and expensive exercise to rebrand your business further down the line.
Need a helping hand? Check out these handy business name generators.
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