What’s in a Name? When it Comes to Business, More Than You May Think.
Finding the perfect name for your new business is easier if you follow a few key steps.
In many ways, finding the perfect name for a new business is like naming a new baby: you want to get the right fit to properly express something for which you’ve worked so hard. Naming a business, though, can be even tougher:
You need it to be completely unique without becoming “weird,” it needs to be professional yet not boring, and it must convey the heart and soul of your business in one or two words. No pressure, right? Here are some tips to get started along the right path to finding the perfect name for your new business.
Use the good old brainstorming clouds to help you get the ball rolling. Without worrying about any of the below steps, start with words that identify what you want your company to represent. Let it snowball from there, and write any and everything that comes into your mind down, remembering you don’t have to use them. You never know what will end up sticking though, so get it on that paper or use a great mind-mapping tool!
While you’re brainstorming, ask yourself what you want your business name to communicate, what the key elements of your business are, and review your mission statement for key objectives and ideas, as well.
Know what to avoid
Now that you’ve got some lists of potential words to incorporate, it’s time to knock some of them out by looking at what you want to avoid in a business name.
• Fabricated words: Nonsense words that do nothing to help convey what your business does, and are tough to remember for the consumer (though it seemingly worked for Google, the truth is that “Google” is based on the word Googol, which actually means something- I swear. Google it!).
• Strings of numbers or letters: Often making no sense upon first glance, names with many seemingly unrelated initials or numbers scream unprofessional.
• Puns: Yes, puns can be fun. They don’t belong in your business name, however.
• Very long, confusing names: Your name needs to be short and memorable. Lengthy names won’t stay at the tip of the consumer’s tongue when they try to recall them.
• Geographically naming your business: Naming your business for your area of town or state will only serve to limit your service area in the mind of the customer. Think bigger!
Know what to look for
After you’ve crossed some of those words on your brainstorming list out using the above criteria, go back through and take a look at what you’ve got left that will fit into the following categories:
• Words that evoke pleasant memories or thoughts: Nothing negative here! The words you use in your name should always conjure up pleasant, happy memories so that the consumer will feel a sense of emotional connection immediately upon reading your name.
• Attract your demographic: If you’re opening a men’s barber shop, you’re not going to name it Salon Fluer De Lis. You’re going to want to take a manlier approach so that people will know what they’re getting when they read your name. Target your choice to the specific audience you’re hoping to attract.
Narrow your field and do a search
Identify four or five names that you like from what you’ve got left on your list, and search search search. You’ll need to check:
• Domain names: Take your proposed names and pop them into the address bar of a browser using both “.com” and “.org” to discover if the domain has been grabbed up already, or worse, is being used for something you definitely do not want your business associated with.
• Other businesses with the same name: While your name may still be okay to use if a business all the way across the country also has the same name, double check with your specific state on infringement laws to avoid problems in the future. If you’re unsure, hiring an attorney can help you save a lot of costs in legal fees down the road should someone come after you later for infringement.
• Incorporation: Check with your state’s filing office to determine if the name is already in use should you ever intend to incorporate your business.
Hopefully you’ve narrowed the field enough that you have just a few choices left that would all make for a great, solid business name. The final step is to go with your gut; in the end, the business is your baby, after all, so use what feels right to you.