10 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Business Name

By | 09.09.2016
When researching business name ideas, start-ups need to think carefullyfor both legal and marketing purposes. An effective business name couldprove to be your most powerful branding tool and naming your businessrequires a lot of consideration.
10 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Business Name

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
In one of Shakespeare’s most famous lines, he reminds us that a name really is just… a name.
Also read: Guide to Building an Online Brand for You and Your Business

But is a name more when it comes to business?
Let’s for a moment look at some of the perks of a smart business name.
A creative business name can:

  • Create curiosity: A good business name gets people intrigued about what you actually do.
  • Be unforgettable: A good business finds its way into a person’s memory bank.
  • Offer heart: A business name that displays the heart of your brand reveals your character.
  • Pack a punch: Sometimes people only have a couple of seconds to remember you.
  • Make people smile: A smart, creative or funny business name can make people look twice.
  • Provide a point of difference: In a sea of competitors, a smart business name can make you stand out.
  • Tell your story: Your business name can say a lot about your brand.
  • Evoke emotion: A powerful business name can encourage people to feel something.
  • Create opportunity: If you sound interesting, people will ask about you. Bonus promo tool!
  • Build trust: A trustworthy-sounding name can offer a great first impression.

So with this in mind, maybe you should spend a little time decidingon your business name. After all, it’s going to stay with you throughout your business journey.
Read: 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Naming Your Business

Tips for choosing a stand out company name

1. Think about your audience

It’s important to choose a name that’s going to sit well with your audience. When venture capital business CB Insights was initially founded, co-founder Anand Sanwal wanted to name it something cool and funky. Hesettled on “Chubby Brain” without properly thinking about who he wouldbe working with. After speaking with the investment banks and otherinstitutional clients that would be citing his startup’s data in theirmarketing materials, he soon learnt they weren’t happy with the name and so it was changed to CB Insights.

Related: Are You Making These Annoying Branding Mistakes?

2. Make it simple

A business name shouldn’t be a challenge to spell, recite orremember. It should be simple and to the point. A number of leadingcompanies have all chosen names between five and ten letters, and allare easy to say, spell and remember. Think Google, Starbucks and Kodak.
Do remember, however, that short url names are in high demand, socheck your name is available before you become too settled on it.

Related: 7 Ways to Pick the Best Brand Name for Your Business

3. Enlist a focus group

Once you have a shortlist of names, it could be a smart move to seehow your target audience responds to them. Survey as many people as youcan and gather opinions. Remember, the right business name might notnecessarily be the name everyone likes best – it could be the one theyremember the most.
By enlisting a focus group, you also open yourself up to possiblesuggestions you may not have thought of. When Richard Branson was aboutto launch his mail order record retailer, one of his workers suggestedthey name the company “Virgin” to reflect the notions that they were virgins of the business world.Branson loved the idea and decided to embrace their naivety rather thanconceal it.

4. Don’t obsess over a descriptive name

The name of your company doesn’t have to make it clear what yourbusiness is – think Apple. When Steve Jobs wanted to create a new lineof personal computers in the 70s, computers were considered foreign andinaccessible. So when it came to choosing the company name, Jobssearched for a friendly, inviting name that people were familiar with.

5. Think about what people can gain from your company

When consumers are shopping around, they want to know the benefits of choosing a particular brand. That’s why when in 1971 Bill Bowerman andPhilip Knight (the founders of Blue Ribbon Sports) were to launch a new line of soccer shoes, they settled on the name Nike. Nike is the Greek mythological namegiven to the Winged Goddess of Victory, and the duo wanted theircustomers to feel that by choosing their product, they would becomevictorious. In fact, the name was so powerful that in 1978, Blue RibbonSports officially changed their company name to Nike.

6. Be original

If you want to stand out from your competition, think of a name thatno other business has or can replicate. That’s exactly what Reuben andRose Mattus did when naming their ice cream store Häagen-Dazs. Not only was the name unique, it used a completely made up word! They settled on it because they thought it sounded exotic andwould appeal to those looking for foreign-sounding brands.

7. Don’t narrow your focus

A common naming mistake is to focus on a name that reflects what your business does now, rather than where you plan to go. Avoid pickingnames with a specific geographic location or product categories thatwon’t allow you to expand your product line.

Also read: 3 Ways that Entrepreneurs Fail at their Personal Branding

8. Check your competition

This might be an obvious point, but check the availability of yourname where you will be operating. Free searches are available online todetermine whether your proposed company name is similar or identical toanother already registered.

9. Use a thesaurus

A thesaurus is a great way to come up with a whole list of words that may be relevant to your startup company. Create a long list of optionsand then test out combining words with others. If nothing else, it’s agreat way to get the creative juices flowing.

Also read: The Do’s & Don’ts for Building a Successful Brand

10. Look at your name from a personal perspective

As the founder of your startup company, it’s wise to choose a namethat means something to you. Many companies choose names based onfounder surnames – think BuzzFeed (named after founders Jonah Buzz and Mark Feed) or startup location – think Duane Reade (whose first warehouse was located between Duane Street and Reade Street in Manhattan).

Recommended reading list for you:

15 Startup Ideas You Can Launch for Less Than $5,000
Don’t overthink it
When all’s said and done, it’s your product and service that willmake your customers fall in love with you, so make sure that they areyour main focus and don’t spend too much time obsessing over your name.

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