Selecting a name for your business is one of the most important steps of establishing your startup. But, it’s not something you can pull out of a hat and instantly cross off of your list. It takes time to come up with the perfect business name that will draw people’s attention. To start your business off on the right foot, learn how to choose a picture-perfect name for your business.
6 Tips for choosing the perfect name for your business
Done right, a business name can build up your brand’s identity and grab potential customers’ attention. Done wrong, a botched business name can prevent connections with potential customers.
To choose the perfect business name for your startup, utilize the six tips below.
1. Think about your business’s mission and message
When you’re first trying to think of a nifty name for your business, think about your company’s mission and the message you want to give customers.
Think about it this way: the name you choose will become your business’s identity. Not to mention, it will be everywhere. From your business logo to marketing materials, your business name will be plastered everywhere for others to see (no pressure, right?).
Dig deep and think about your company’s overall mission. What message do you want your business name to give to customers? Choose a business name that speaks to your customers, rather than one that will leave them wondering who you are and what you do.
Let’s take a look at my accounting and payroll software company, Patriot Software, as an example. Patriot’s mission is to “make accounting and payroll fast, simple, and affordable for millions of American businesses and their accountants.” I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “patriot,” I think of words like devotion, supportive, loyal, and American. I went with the name Patriot Software for my company because I wanted people to know that we support American businesses with payroll and accounting products.
2. Pick a name that’s easy to memorize
When it comes to creating your business name, you want something that is memorable and rolls off the tongue nicely. Not some long, complex name that people will easily forget and move on from.
To come up with a memorable business name, try to keep things simple and short. The truth is, it’s easier for potential customers to remember a single word or phrase than a few words or a sentence. When choosing a business name, try to limit yourself to no more than three words tops.
So, let’s put this to the test. Which of the following would you be more likely to memorize: Snappy Photography or Mom and Pop’s Photography Solutions? Chances are, you would have an easier time remembering the first one. Why, you ask? Because it’s unique, short, and catchy.
3. Consider the logistics
Sure, you want your business’s name to be creative and unforgettable. But, you also want your company name to be practical and make sense to someone who hears or sees it.
Before you finalize anything with your business name, consider the logistics of the name you choose. Think about things like spelling, length, how it’s pronounced, and whether it translates well.
Avoid using hard-to-spell or lengthy words in your business name. If your name is easy to misspell, you may potentially lose out on customers because they won’t be able to easily find you (and nobody wants that).
The longer your business name is, the harder it’s going to be to share online and on paper.
When going over the logistics of your business name, make sure it’s easy to pronounce. Recruit your friends and family to test out how pronounceable it is. If they have a hard time trying to say it, do some name revising.
If you plan on selling your offerings across the nation or globe, you must, must, must make sure your business name translates well. The last thing you want is for your company name to translate to an inappropriate or awkward word in another language.
4. Choose a name that will grow with your business
As an entrepreneur, you dream big. It’s what you do. And chances are, you probably have big plans in place for your startup, even if it doesn’t have a name yet.
Maybe you want to have multiple locations in the future. Or, maybe one of your goals is to expand the products you offer. Whatever the case may be, come up with an evergreen business name that will grow along with your business.
You don’t want to select a business name that limits your reach and future plans. To create a future-proof business name, think about your company’s story, offerings, values, mission, and goals. Have a brainstorming session and think about what adjectives come to mind when you think of your business.
When you’re brainstorming, remember to keep things simple. Try to stay away from a particular product (e.g., Sal’s Hotdogs) or location (e.g., Brittany’s Salon on Main Street) while naming your business, just in case you decide to shake things up in the future.
5. Make sure the name isn’t already taken
Before you run off and make a final decision about your business name, do your homework. Don’t worry—I’m not talking about math or science. What I am talking about is doing your research about the name you choose to ensure it’s not already taken by another business.
Once you brainstorm some business names you like, run a search online to find out whether they’re available or not. To make sure your business name is free to use, you should:
- Google the name
- See if there is a corresponding domain name
- Check your state’s Secretary of State business list
- Run a trademark search
- Find out if the domain is available (e.g., businessname.com)
- Verify that social media handles are available (e.g., @BusinessName)
Depending on your findings, you may have to modify your business name or start from scratch. Although it can be painful to discover that your business name is already taken, it’s a necessary part of the naming process.
6. Test out your name
When you finally find a name (or a few names) you like that’s available for the taking, it’s time to test out the name by running it by people you trust … aka your team, family, and friends.
Discuss the name or names you selected with your team, friends, and family members. Find out their opinions on what you came up with and get honest feedback. You may even want to share the name idea with potential customers.
Whoever you plan on sharing your name ideas with, pay close attention to what they have to say. And, make sure you ask them not to sugar coat their feedback and to be 100% honest with their response.
If the majority of people don’t give positive feedback about the names you’ve come up with, you may have to go back to square one. If someone isn’t too keen on the name, ask for feedback about what they don’t like and any suggestions they have to spice it up.
Questions to ask yourself before choosing a business name
Choosing a business name is a big step for your company. Before you make things official with the name you select, make sure you ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my company’s name catchy and memorable?
- How long is my business name? Is it more than three words?
- Is my business name easy to spell and pronounce?
- Do other people like the business name?
- Will I have to change the name as my business evolves?
- Does the name go with my business’s main message?
- Did I double-check to make sure the name isn’t taken?