January 17, 2022 | 4-minute read (642 words)
Even when they have a great idea for a business, many entrepreneurs struggle to come up with the perfect name for their ventures. After all, one of the first things customers will notice about the business is its name.
The right name can improve the business’s odds of success by conveying the core of the brand to consumers and investors, and by cultivating a positive emotional connection. The name will also have a significant impact on marketing and branding. On the other hand, a poorly chosen name could lead to commercial and legal issues.
Follow these five steps to choose a compelling business name:
Step 1 – Outline the essence of your brand. When it comes to naming your firm, the first step is identifying who you are and what you aim to accomplish by considering these questions:
What is the purpose of your business?
Do you have a long-term business strategy?
What is your business’s mission statement?
How will you accomplish your long-term objectives?
What are your guiding principles?
Step 2 – Identify your unique selling points. Defining what makes your brand special can help you come up with a strong name. While your company’s essence is a part of what makes it unique, there are other aspects of your business that can make it stand out.
Step 3 – Brainstorm. Involve your creatives and stakeholders. Give them a set of criteria to work with to come up with the most effective and innovative business name. These guidelines may be in the form of features that characterize your product or service, as well as how you want consumers to feel when they use it.
Other types of brand name are acronyms, such as GE, LG or DKNY, made-up words such as Xerox and names based on people, such as Betty Crocker or Ben & Jerry's.
Step 4 – Investigate the name’s availability and legality. Once you have at least 25 contenders, search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's database of registered trademarks. When you find a name that seems available, get an attorney to vet it and protect it. Trademarks protect logos and brand names used on goods and services.
Step 5 – Put your business name to the test. Create mock-ups like landing pages and homepages for shortlisted names.
Run a distinctive, focused ad on different social media networks, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, for about 10 days to see which page receives the most traffic and conversions.
Additional best practices
Here are nine more tips for coming up with a great business name:
1. Avoid names that are hard to spell or pronounce.
2. Try to secure the .com domain name for your business rather than extensions like .org, .net and .biz. A .com page is usually associated with a more established firm.
3. Never pick a name that could cause problems in the future or limit business growth.
4. Do a thorough internet search to see whether the name has already been taken, even if it isn't trademarked.
5. Keep it simple. Avoid names that are too long, complex, generic or even too significant.
6. Don't copy competitors. This can make you look unoriginal and confuse customers.
7. Unless you are well-known, don’t use your own name. The name of a business owner tells people nothing about the business and could present complications if you decide to sell your company in the future. Avoid names of places if you want your business to grow beyond your immediate region.
8. Choose a name that is both scalable and expansive.
9. Check what the chosen name means in other languages.
Keep in mind that choosing a business name is simply the first step in starting a company. While it may make an excellent first impression, how you handle customer expectations will ultimately determine your business’s success.