Finding the right business name can be a real strain on the brain. If you feel like it shouldn’t be this hard, you may be wrong. Naming a business is one of the first marketing decisions a new business needs to make, and the wrong business name can sabotage all your hard work. This is your chance to give your new business the best possible beginning.
How do you get started?
The first step in business naming should be to clarify your goals for the name. What do you want people to remember about you? A sole proprietorship is identified with its owner personally, so consider using your own name if it’s all you.
If others are involved in running the business, your new business name may work better if the focus is on your product or service. Think in future terms, in case your plans include phasing you out of the picture.
What’s the right approach?
Most entrepreneurs agree that they want a business name which is memorable and that reminds their customers of their value proposition. Legally, it should also be somewhat unique.
You can find a name with specific meaning, or you can choose a more nonspecific name and build an image around it. You can go with a straightforward approach, giving your business a practical name reflecting your business purpose, or you can craft words that describe something special about your business.
How do you find business name ideas?
Write down different words that match your goals for the perfect business name and describe what you want people to remember about it.
Then, get out the thesaurus and write down synonyms, homonyms, and alternate meanings. Play around with different combinations of phrasing, rhyming, variations, the meaning of a word in a different language – whatever comes to mind. Write anything down at this point. You’re building a working list of choices.
How do I narrow down my list?
Now that you have enough random business names, begin the elimination process. Anything that definitely sounds strange or off-message gets crossed off the list.
Next, show the list to your friends or your management team (or both) and get their input. This might result in a longer list at first, but that can be a good thing. Two heads are definitely better than one when you are deciding what to name your business. Some new start up businesses build their lists by hiring professional at business naming creators or putting together a focus group for consumer research.
Think again about what you really want to communicate and what you want customers to remember about you. Rank the best business names on your list, and put them in order with your favorite name at the top of the list.
How can I tell if my business name works?
With your winner’s list in hand, focus on the practical aspects of each name. Is it easy to pronounce? Is it memorable? Is the name still appropriate in the context of other cultures? Does that business name really reflect who you want to be? Will it look good on your most prominent advertising media? One ‘no’ answer could mean that this name should be crossed off the list.
Picture your business name ideas in print, whether the name will appear on a box, a billboard, a business card, a vehicle, a playbill, or a retail tag. Make drawings if you need to. If something doesn’t look positive now, it probably won’t look positive later.
The winner’s list
Your list should be a lot shorter by now, and the name at the top of that list could be the right name for your business. Set the final list aside and see if your choices still look good. Ask yourself the key questions again while taking that second look. Get your people back together, if you need to. Your final choice is right there in front of you.
Take time for legal issues
There are many restrictions on business name availability. Names must be unique. You cannot use a business name that is the same or deceptively similar to another. At a bare minimum you should search the state records for your particular state to see if the name is used.
Finally, don’t let an article on the internet complete the business naming process. Hire a legal professional to help you with the fine print on copyrights, trademarks, and business name availability. It may save you a lot of time and money later. The right business name can help you become a success!