How to Choose a Business Name
Choosing a name for your startup is a crucial step in furthering your business launch. But it can get confusing pretty easily when you start considering things like search-friendliness, ease of understanding, domain name relation, and availability.
And what makes it such a huge decision is that once you name your business, that’s it. After it’s established, changing a business name is like changing the name of a human. Lots of paperwork and legalities to go through.
7 Ways to Choose a Good Name For Your Brand
So, you should be highly selective from the get-go. That’s why we’re here to help you come up with a unique company name that represents your values perfectly.
- Make it easy to read
Nobody likes reading or saying a mouthful of chunky words. That means you should avoid lengthy names and tough-sounding names, especially if they’re hard to spell. Imagine if Amazon was named OnlineShopnDeliver service. That’s simple wording but way too long.
Likewise, nobody enjoys having to rewire their brains around business names that sound like typos. For example, take the photo-sharing website Flickr. When said aloud, people will assume it’s a ‘flicker’. If you were typing that out on a smartphone with autocorrect, they will likely fix it to ‘flicker’. And then you would have to go back and correct it.
That’s an unnecessary hassle you would be giving your clients if you choose to name your business that way. You want the name to roll off the tongue easily. So, keep it simple like another photo site ‘Pinterest’ did. It gives you an idea of the business since the functionality on it is ‘pinning’ images to a board but it’s also not awkwardly spelled or long.
- Stand out or fit in? Find the right balance!
Most new businesses struggle with this dilemma. Do they want to stake a claim for themselves in uncharted territory by going for a catchy, creative business name? Or do they want the safe, easy credibility that comes with traditional names?
The answer is different for every entrepreneur. But often those who are on the fence with this question, find themselves regretting not taking that leap of faith. When you consider the long-term growth of your business, it’s easy to see why it’s a bad idea to go with a generic brand name. You want something that will distinguish you from competitors and make it easy to identify you among the crowd.
So, think about your future prospects. Is it a small side business where you can take more risks? Or is it a quick money-making business you don’t expect to run very long? These types of questions will help you figure out your priority.
- Find the connection
How do you want your customers to think of your company? What kind of services do you offer or what sectors are you in? Which values do you uphold as an establishment?
Those questions might seem too in-depth to be answered within a word, that’s true. But you do get a glimpse of it through a name. Don’t believe me?
Well, then let’s think about the brand name examples Facebook and YouTube. Immediately, you might have noticed that these names are composed of two separate words joined into one. Yet, they give off different vibes.
For instance, Facebook makes it obvious that it’s a content platform, like a ‘book’. So, its content is mainly composed of words and images. And one might easily figure out that the ‘Face’ part is meant to depict it as a social media website.
On the flipside, YouTube gives a strong emphasis on the ‘You’. From that, we can deduce that this website will cater to YOU and that users can upload their own content. The ‘tube’ part alludes to television, meaning that this is a video streaming platform.
See, how much is conveyed in a name? The company name will be your number one representative for your customers. So, starting to think about words that similarly relate to your business can help you come up with quite a few good ideas.
At the least, it can be a starting point. Finding keywords relevant to your business will also help with optimizing on online platforms when you use it in your domain URL.
- Use business name generators to brainstorm ideas and domain names
Once you have a good database of keywords and ideas, it’s time to get inspired! There are several free business name generators out there. The following are the ones we have found work best:
This name generator by Shopify is a powerful tool that gives you hundreds of ideas. On top of that, it only shows you brand names that have available domain names so you don’t have to check it manually.
WebHostingGeeks has this amazing generator where you specify keywords for your business, then take it a step further by telling them where you want the keyword, the beginning or middle of the name? It also has options for naming your products as well as blogs. Additional tips on utilizing the generator and naming are detailed on the website.
NameMesh is a generator that shows domain availability based on your keywords. The good thing about this website is that it categorizes the names into common, fun, similar, new, etc attributes so you can easily find the names that suit your audiences’ tastes.
When building a name with a keyword, keep in mind that you shouldn’t follow trends. Search engines like Google regularly update their algorithms so what works now is not a guarantee that it will work in the future. It’s a short-term gimmicky route.
A better way to approach optimization is to not make a keyword the central part of your domain name. It’s an embellishment. The focus should be on relevance to content and memorability.
- Make it so that it has a ‘ring to it’
If you take a look at some good business names lists, you will find that most of them sound a bit ‘catchy’. This is because brand identities should be memorable. Just like a song that gets stuck in your head, you want your consumers’ brains to instantly click when they hear about your company.
This is a part of branding. You have to think carefully about the imprint the name will leave on people’s minds. You can’t go too rogue because that will affect the image. Employees and customers should be able to speak about your company without embarrassment.
While catchy names like ‘Google’ and ‘Yahoo’ have become household staples, they are huge businesses and it can be a loss trying to market a name that’s too out-of-the-box.
So, make sure the name has a tonal quality but don’t overdo it.
- Test it out
Like products testing, give your name a spin to a limited audience as well. Once you’re in the naming process, you might get too caught up in the little details that you miss some big gaps. This is where feedback from your friends, relatives, and especially, your potential clients will help.
They can give you a consumer perspective on the name and point you in the right direction. This will also help you avoid negative connotations you might have been unaware of.
- Do a trademark search
If you have big plans for your business, you might want to consider getting a trademark. In the United States, it’s not necessary to file a trademark to be able to operate. But without filing one, your rights as a business owner will only extend to the geographical operations base of your company.
So, getting a federal trademark with a few thousand dollars investment at the beginning can help you save money and time down the line.
Use the site USPTO.gov to gauge if you can get a trademark and service mark for your selected names.
Finally, ask yourself, are YOU happy with it?
Business is business but to the entrepreneur, it’s a thing close to the heart. To create and cultivate something from the ground up is not an easy feat. So, you should take your time and make sure whatever name you end up choosing is one that you like.
Many business owners will say they knew the moment they conjoined the name, that it will be the one for their company. It’s like a calling, a moment where everything falls into place. For others, it will be a long and arduous process of weighing the pros and cons, then canceling out each name until they find one that fits the best.
Either way, the end result will be a good business name as long as you feel proud to say it yourself. You will have to live with this name for a long time so, if you’re happy with it, you’ll feel more passionate to grow it further. If a name resonates with you, it’s more than likely it will resonate with your customer base as well.