There’s a lot to do when you start a new business.
You can complete many tasks quickly and efficiently. But some things, like naming your new company, can take a lot of time and can be frustrating and challenging.
Here’s what you need to know to find a great business name for your new company.
The best business names have all or most of these nine elements
- Imagination. The name engages and sparks a customer’s or prospect’s imagination.
- Distinctiveness. The name differentiates your business from others in your target market.
- Brand fit. The best names will capture the essence of your brand (examples: Tesla, Twitter).
- Short and concise. You want the name to be as short as possible because shorter names are easier to remember and spell. Compare Apple to Micro-Star International Co., Ltd.
- Lasting. Will the name remain relevant as your brand grows? If Amazon named itself OnlyBooks, it would have had to rebrand when it started selling other items.
- Sounds good. The best names are pleasing to the ear.
- Consistency. If you introduce products, follow naming conventions that connect to your brand name. You won’t see Apple introduce a phone called Starbase or a watch called Timer.
- Protectability. You should see if the business name you want is available for trademarking and whether you can get a matching domain name.
- Appropriateness. When you sell globally, make sure your business name doesn’t carry a serious negative meaning in another major language.
Whether you’re using a business name generator, crowdsourcing a business name, or hiring a naming agency, start by putting together a short creative brief that summarizes the critical parts of your naming strategy.
Here are ten proven tips to help you pick a strong business name:
1. Be patient. It’s possible to find a great name in a few hours, but this is rare. The process can take weeks as you explore lots of options.
2. Avoid decisions by committee. People rarely agree about anything. And when it comes to naming, this is always true. If a group of people decides on the name, at least one person won’t like it. So don’t look for a name that everyone loves. Pick a person who will ultimately decide, provide input, and then let that person pick the name. Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time or will compromise on a name that’s weak but tolerated by everyone.
3. Give yourself options. Even when you find a name you love, consider other possibilities. Select at least several names that can work well for you and register those domains to have options. Don’t anchor yourself to a name prematurely before you’ve done some due diligence. After all, you’ll need to, among other tasks, incorporate your business and if the name you love is already taken, you’ll be back to the drawing board.
4. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t get a matching domain name. A strong and memorable name that requires a descriptor for the domain name is often much better than a less memorable name for which you can an exact match domain.
5. The name is only part of your brand identity. A memorable business name is essential. But your brand identity is so much more, including your logo, website, and more. Don’t expand your name to tell your company’s full story. You’ll need to build a complete brand identity.
6. Set a time limit. Some people can get bogged down naming their companies for months. Yes, it sounds crazy, but it’s true. Don’t get distracted. It’s impossible to find a unique name, so don’t set that as a goal. Find something unique, that stands out in your industry, and doesn’t have much competition in search engine results. You have to differentiate, but you don’t need to find a name nobody has ever used.
7. Trust your target audience. Naming is an art and a science. Some names may have slightly negative associations, but that might not be a problem depending on your audience. Assume your audience is intelligent.
8. Be open-minded. If you want to find an unusual and memorable name, you have to be open-minded. And, you have to be brave. If you’re merely comfortable with some names but not excited by them, you can be sure that your target audience will probably feel the same way about those names.
9. Think like your customers. You should love the name, but it’s more important that your customers and prospects love it. You might have some personal reasons why a particular name isn’t perfect for you. But, if it’s ideal for the business or your customers, you should ignore the personal reasons.
10. Good is better than perfect. Let’s face it: we all want a perfect, short, memorable name that’s easy to spell, remember, and fun to pronounce. Plus, one that has an exact match domain available. But wanting something and finding it are different things. Few names are perfect when you first consider them. Few names will match all of your naming criteria. But if you look for perfect, you may spend many months trying to name your business instead of launching your business and working to grow it. Make intelligent, reasonable choices, and don’t let the search for perfection delay your launch.
We hope that with these insights and tips, you have the tools to come up with a terrific and memorable name for your new business.
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