Naming your business can be challenging. Unless you are fortunate enough to be starting a business where the name is obvious, you will need to think carefully about what to call your new venture. After all, the name of your business needs to accomplish multiple goals – branding, communicate what you offer, stand out from the crowd, etc. The name also needs to be available, both so you are not confused with another company and so you can register with your state. Hopefully, the name will also be one that you like.
The following steps are here to help you get started on your name search. Follow along to find a name that really works for you.
Tips for Naming Your Business
1. Get a clear idea of what your business is really about.
You may have already created a mission statement, which can help with this step. But even if you haven’t, it is worthwhile to think carefully about what the essence of your business is. What are you offering your customers? What problems are you helping them solve? The better you understand why your business exists and what its main purpose is, the easier it will be to narrow in on names that will convey that essence to the public.
2. Do some brainstorming. Then do some more.
Whether you do it on your own or with someone you trust, set aside some time to brainstorm potential names for your business. You are going to need to come up with multiple potential names because there is a possibility that some of the names you pick will already be taken by other businesses. There is no point in getting too attached to the first great name you think of, since you may find that it’s not an option. Don’t expect to get it all done in one session. In fact, you should commit to doing at least two or more brainstorming sessions because you are more likely to come up with the perfect name – one that you love that is also available – if you make multiple attempts.
3. Free yourself to be creative during your brainstorming.
The perfect business name is often obtained by using both your analytical and your creative side. It is very important to identify the essence of your business and be sure what you are trying to sell through your name – but it is also important to loosen up when throwing names out there so your brain can make associations that may not be obvious at first. Try writing down names as fast as you can come up with them, even if they are nonsensical or seem too silly. You might just come up with something that is ideal without spending hours analyzing what is allowed and what is not.
4. Sort through your list.
Hopefully, you have done at least a few brainstorming sessions and have a fairly long list of potential names. Now you need to sort your list because many of those names are just not going to work. Others will be close but not good enough. Read through your list and eliminate all of the names that are obvious ‘no’s. Then, sort names that are similar together. If you notice any names that really seem great, mark them with a checkmark.
There are a few different criteria you can use to analyze your list, including:
- Is it memorable? A good business name sticks in your head after you read it or hear it. How memorable is the name? If it won’t be remembered, it’s probably not a great pick.
- Does it indicate what you do or offer? There are certainly businesses out there with names that have nothing to do with their services or goods – like Amazon and Google. For small businesses like yours, though, it’s best to have a name that makes it obvious what you are offering.
- Does it fit your brand? If you are offering lifesaving services, you probably don’t want a name that seems flippant or comical.
- Is it unique from the competition? There are probably other businesses offering something similar to yours. You want your name to be different enough that you won’t be confused with the competition.
- Is it easy to say and easy to read? Some businesses have gotten away with names that nobody knows how to pronounce – Qdoba anyone? – but there is no reason to make things harder than they have to be. Make sure that your target market can say your name.
5. Walk away for a while.
It’s a good idea to sit on your decision for a while. Get at least one night of rest – hopefully a few more – before you consider your list again. Taking time away will allow your brain to process things and will give you a new perspective on your potential names. Ideally, you will come back to your list and be able to quickly process which names make the most sense. You may even come back knowing exactly what the name should be. Or, you may not be satisfied with any of the names and need to start brainstorming again. Don’t get discouraged if you need to try again. It’s better to get this right now rather than spending copious amounts of time and money building a business with a bad name.
6. Verify availability.
Once you pick a name, you will need to see if it’s available for you to use. Another business may have the same name. The name may be taken in your state. You can find various resources online for checking name availability. Don’t stop with just one name search, though. Do some googling and try to find out if there are any places where your name is being used.
It’s always smart to check domain availability, too. You are definitely going to want a website and it’s best to use your business name as your domain if possible.
7. Register your name.
The last step is to register your business name with your state authorities. You may be planning on forming an LLC or other entity, in which case you need to register your actual business with the state, not just your name.