Naming your business can be a stressful process. You want to choose a name that will last and, if possible, will embody both your values and your company’s distinguishing characteristics. The name you choose speaks volumes about your business and re-branding is expensive, so make sure you do a good job.
1. Make A List
Start writing down those keywords that describe your business. Create a long list of name candidates, as in hundreds of possibilities. Expand your initial words by using tools such as a Oxford English Dictionary, and Urban Dictionary. The more names you have the more likely you will find the name that tells the story of your business.
2. Check It Twice — With People You Trust
Gather your friends and family and everyone you trust most to give you honest feedback and have them review your list of ideas. Rather than ask your review board which candidates they like for possible names, reiterate the genesis of your business idea, the objectives of your company, and what you want to accomplish with the name itself.
3. Plan For World Domination
Even if you don’t plan on going international right away, it’s important to plan for the future. Choosing a name that doesn’t work on the global stage could potentially hurt you later on. Make sure that your name doesn’t have a misleading or offensive name in any language.
4. Avoid Unusual Spellings
When creating a name, stay with words that can easily be spelled by customers. Some startup founders try unusual word spellings to make their business stand out, but this can be trouble when customers “Google’” your business to find you, or try to refer you to others. Stay with traditional word spelling, and avoid those catchy words that you love to explain at cocktail parties.
5. Make Some Sense
Occasionally, business owners will choose names that don’t make sense words. Quirky words (Yahoo, Google), or trademark-proof names concocted from scratch (Novartis, Aventis, Lycos) are a big risk. Always check the international implications. More than one company has been embarrassed by a new name that had negative and even obscene connotations in another language.
6. Give A Clue
Try to adopt a business name that provides some information about what your business does. Calling your landscaping business “Lawn and Order” is appropriate, but the same name would not do well for a handyman business. Your business name should match your business in order to remind customers what services you provide.
7. Make Sure the Name is Available
This may sound obvious, but a miss here will cost you dearly. Your company name and Internet domain name should probably be the same, so check out your preferred names with the Register of companies. s
8. Don’t Box Yourself In
Avoid picking names that don’t allow your business to move around or add to its product line. This means avoiding geographic locations or product categories to your business name. With these specifics, customers will be confused if you expand your business to different locations or add on to your product line.
9. Sample Potential Customers
Come up with a few different name choices and try them out on potential customers, investors, and co-workers. Skip your family and friends who know too much. Ask questions about the names to see if they give off the impression you desire.
10. Unique And Unforgettable
In the trade, this is called “stickiness.” But the issue of stickiness turns out to be kind of, well, sticky. Every company wants a name that stands out from the crowd, a catchy handle that will remain fresh and memorable over time. That’s a challenge because naming trends change, often year by year, making timeless names hard to find (remember the dot.coms).