The name of your business will be your new identity. Certainly, you would want it to be catchy and memorable. If customers remember it, the benefit is yours. It could mean free publicity!
A good business name can also be extremely helpful in marketing and branding efforts. Moreover, it can help you remember why you are doing what you’re doing and inspire you towards your goal.
There are specialized naming companies that charge thousands of dollars and come up with a business name for you.
However, you’ll have other priorities and a small budget that you do not want to spend on naming your business. So, what can you do then?
These are the steps you can take to come up with a perfect name for a small business:
Understand what makes a business name great.
A good business name is critical for creating and establishing a new brand. Everyone is aware of that. But hardly a few people know what actually makes a business name great.
Here are the characteristics that great business names share:
Conduct a thorough Internet search.
Once you have a few names in your “favorite names list”, conduct internet search. If the name appears common and usual, probably you’ll come to know that someone is using it already.
That’s good. You didn’t waste any time on that name. Move forward and come up with more name ideas for your business. You might have a keyword that you can look out on VisualThesaurus to find related ideas at this stage.
Find a business name that conveys some meaning.
An ideal business name would give an idea of what your business is about. Consider OnlineTicket.com as an example. Did you get instantly what the business is about? Definitely, yes.
And of course, there are some popular brand names that do not convey a message about the business. For example, Google, Yahoo, Zappos. They are appealing and attention-grabbing, but such names cost billions to brand.
Get inspiration from mythology and literature
Maybe you’re a person with a passion for history or literature. If yes, you can consider naming your business on Greek and Roman legends.
Name of characters, places, and objects would also work. For example, Samsonite (character).
Use foreign words to name your business
Sometimes, foreign words sound good and they also mean something good. Moreover, they are easy to pronounce, easy to spell and hence, easy to remember.
For example, AltaVista is a Spanish word and it means “High Views”. Daewoo means “great house” and it is a Korean word.
Pick a word from the dictionary
If you’re having a hard time coming up with ideas, you can look up the dictionary. It will also give you synonyms and therefore, you can have more ideas to your bucket.
Make sure it’s easy to spell and remember
Hard to spell names cause confusions and the worst part is that they are hard to remember. So, put yourself in the minds of customers. There will be high chances that you’ll stick with a name that is spelled exactly how it sounds.
How about an example here? Think of “Balenciaga”. Would you able to spell and remember this name after having a look? No. So, try to pick a simple name.
Being unique helps you stand out in the competition. You can’t just name your construction company as john’s builders and constructors.
It will be very common. Won’t it be? A handful of constructors would already have such names. So, do your best to avoid the usual names.
Don’t afraid to be original. Many apps tried Grindr, Flickr, and Tumblr. Imagine if they had common names? Would they be known as they are now?
Don’t pick a name that limits your business growth
Very specific names can restrict your growth. Definitely, you won’t want the mess of changing your business name later. So, think of the future vision of your business. You’ll expand your business or at least you won’t just stick to one product or service.
Maybe today, your focus is “children garments”, but later on you may add men and women garments also. Right?
Imagine if Amazon was named as “onlinebooks”. Got the idea, right? So, while figuring out how to name a business, make sure you check out the plan for your business in the future.
Keep it short
Short names are usually easy to remember. They just roll off the tongue. Think of the big brands. Apple, Walmart, Amazon. So, you should preferably find a name with one word.
Use available resources to come up with a unique business name.
There are a number of ways you can use to brainstorm name ideas for free. Here are some of the popular ways.
- Shopify Name Generator: generates business name ideas and instantly checks the domain availability.
- Namelix: is a short, brandable name ideas generator for startups that use Artificial intelligence
- Naminum: generates name names based on a theme
Make it catchy
Your business name should resonate with potential customers. Imagine you’re marketing and you’re in the early stages. Question yourself if the name will be a good fit? Will you be able to come up with a catchy slogan that flows well with it?
You can’t pre-determine these things with any tool but you can still figure it out based on feedback from others and your gut feeling.
Play with Words and Come up with more name ideas
Intermingling words can also help you find a good name for your business. For example, when we mix two meaningful words “computer” and “pack”. The result is “Compaq”. Similarly, group and coupon make “Groupon”.
Invent an alternative spelling
Earlier I mentioned, Flickr, Grindr, and Tumblr. What you think they did? How did they come up with this idea? Maybe, they wanted to use some word essentially or just tried to invent new spellings. Who knows? Well, it is a risky thing to do as it may, sometimes, confuse the common folks.
Take a look at a map
World map can also be an inspiration to name a business.
- Adobe: Named after Adobe Creek
- Fuji: Named after the highest mountain in Japan
- Amazon: Named after the largest river in the world (by volume)
So, you can get an awesome idea too!
Make your personal brand
The simplest and traditional way of naming a business to use your own name. There are many big names named on the owner’s name. This idea may or may not be great depending on your name.
If your name is very common and many folks would have it, then probably, it would be in use as a business name already. While if not, go for it provided that the rest of the conditions are fulfilled.
Use of nickname as a business name feels strange but it could be a great idea. Did you know?
- Mercedes is named after the daughter of the founder
- Danone is named after the founder’s son’s nickname.
So, do they sound strange anymore? No.
Consider acronyms while naming a business
There are many brands that are using acronyms in their names, for example:
- AOL: America Online
- BBC: British Broadcasting Corporation
- BENQ: Bringing Enjoyment and Quality to life
But still, many experts advise against using acronyms. The reason is that such names take a lot of time and budget to brand.
Make sure the business name sounds good when said aloud.
Some names just look good on paper. They when pronounced feel inappropriate and maybe even confusing sometimes. So, when you choose a name, make sure you say it out loud.
Check the domain name with .com TLD
Almost every business needs to be available online today. They want their customers to easily get in touch with them and ask for the products and services they need. In order to serve your customers online, you must have a website.
The most common and popular domains are with .com TLD. So, be sure to find out one on your business name. For example, Twitter has twitter.com and Google uses Google.com.
Research social media profiles
Social media pages and profiles are equally necessary, especially if you have a business that needs social media traffic. For example, if you’re selling a product, you might want to put it on social media. Some users would certainly love your product.
For this purpose, you need to look out the social media profiles and pages availability on the name you choose. It may or may not be important depending upon the type of business you’re in.
Make sure you’re happy with it
If you love your business name, you’ll confident about putting it out into the world. Also, you’ll have to live with it forever (unless you sell your business).
Therefore, it is important that you’re personally happy with the name. Try to have as many business name ideas as possible. Take your time and try your best to name your business great in the first attempt.
Ask for feedback
You don’t always need to put everything on your shoulder. It’s better to use to other’s hand and mind, sometimes. Call your friends, family members, and trusted colleagues and get their feedback on the names you like.
Narrow down the list and finally choose one. If you love it and they also recommend it, then probably it is the one that would stand out in the crowd.
Search the Secretary of State records
Once you find a name, you’ll need to register it. However, if your name is too close to any name that is already registered, you may have a problem.
So, before you think of registering a name you should search the secretary of state records. Find a lawyer to have this search for you and then register your business.
Do trademark research
Do you want to protect your business name so that no one else can ever use it? Visit USPTO.gov and check out if you can trademark it.
Valuetainment made this awesome video on do’s and dont’s of choosing a business name. If you’re a visual learner, you’ll love it.