Naming your business is daunting. It requires some very careful consideration. And if you aren’t even a little hesitant about selecting a business name, you might want to think about why it’s so important to get right.
You want a name with staying power. Something memorable. Something descriptive of who you are and what you do. You want customers to connect with it. With any luck, people will recognize you by this moniker for years to come. Starting off, your business name is one of the best marketing tools you have—especially in the age of the search engine. Make it count. This could make or break your business. No pressure, right?
Lucky for you, we’re here to give you some easy guidelines for establishing a successful name for your business. I actually think coming up with names for businesses can be fun. This isn’t an exhaustive guide, but it’s a good place to start.
1) Keep It Simple
If a name is easy to say and simple, people will remember it. Have you ever read a book with crazy names? I have, and if I don’t know how to pronounce a name (or if it’s too cumbersome) I stop saying it in my head. Hans-Erik Wennerstrom becomes “that guy.”
Don’t do that with your business name. If people might stumble over the name, air on the side of caution. Don’t use it. If you’re unsure, write it down and ask a 12-year old to read it. Think of all your favorite brands. Most, with very few anomalies, are easy to say.
2) Be (Loosely) Descriptive
Don’t be boring. Don’t say, “I make cupcakes. I’ll name my business ‘Cupcake Store.’” But a good, descriptive name will make your name initially marketable. If you’re on a low budget and can’t afford to spend thousands on advertising, tell prospective customers what you do with your business name. This will also come in handy for driving web traffic initially.
Unless you have an operating budget that can educate the masses about your brand, someone driving by your storefront should see your name and understand (at least by inferring) the goods or services you provide. The name may just evoke an image in peoples’ minds. You can also accomplish this descriptive quality by using a small tagline under your name.
You’ve got the perfect business name! Except the most obvious web address, Facebook account and Twitter profile are all taken. Back to the drawing board.
The Internet has exploded since its inception, and available domain names are few and far between. Unfortunately for those naming their business, this drastically decreases the number of solid options. There’s too much publicity to be gained from search engines, social media and general web traffic to have a bad domain name or a silly Twitter account with a bunch of numbers after the name.
Your business name must be ready to plug in to the convenient and profitable world of the Internet. And remember, your domain name and social media accounts should be obvious names. Don’t use hyphens or numbers or misspellings to skirt around this rule.
I listed my choice for the three most fundamental criteria above. In my opinion, those are the most important things to consider when naming your business. Now, let’s talk about ideation—because it’s often easier said than done. During your brainstorming process, just scribble down anything. You can sort through your thoughts later.
Here’s an exercise that might get the ball rolling. Think about your business concept. What does your business do? Who are its customers? Is it really formal or kind of loose and fun? Basically, come up with a mental image of your company. Now what are some words, phrases or things that remind you of that image?
If you’re in the energy drink business, you might think of powerful things like aircraft or tesla coils. You might think of phrases like “prepare for warp speed” or “launch sequence initiated.” You may think of words like intensify, electric or amplify. Write down anything you think of!
If you have any questions, comments, feedback or additional tips we would love to hear your thoughts. If you’re really struggling, shoot us an email and let’s talk about it. Naming your business should never be taken lightly!