Picking a random business name is a bad idea. It will not harness the power of community, it is quickly forgotten, and it’s tough to build a brand around. So, where do I get ideas on how to name a business?
A study of successful global brands and tips like the ones below, will get the ball rolling. They’ll help stimulate your creativity and uncover tons of options.
1. Keep the spelling simple.
If a kid has a tough time spelling your name forget that choice. With so many reasons why a business goes under, don’t make this one. If customers can’t remember how your company name is spelled that’s a missed sale. Your competitor gets that customer.
Be creative, yes. But leave the complicated stuff to someone else. Clients should be able to hear your name once, spell it, and find you instantly.
If you go with something that would trip up a spelling be contestant, that’s just the beginning of your problems. Add the trouble would-be customers will have trying to find you on social media. Our web designer sums it up best, “Keep it simple.”
2. Who are you?
With a clear definition of why you do what you do, choosing the right business name will be easier. As with other business task, the naming process requires clear objectives. Does your name reflect this?
Make it easy for your customers. Häagen-Dazs is great ice cream. But the name? Sure, they are well known today, but they have been at it since 1960. What will your product or service do for your client? What problem do you solve? Settle on a name that says that.
3. Create a list.
Throw everything out there. Made up words, real words, and word combinations too. A thesaurus and dictionary should be on your desk until you get this task done.
Spice it up with the use of descriptive words. The goal here is to get your mind thinking outside of the box. You’re starting with a big lump of clay.
Sparkpush is an example of this very process. When it was time to pick a business name, we struggled with how. Ultimately, we merged two of our main goals. To provide entrepreneurs with ideas to spark their own imaginations. Secondly, to give them the push, motivation if you well, to develop those ideas.
Create a list that tells an engaging story.
4. What do family and friends think?
Get the opinion of those close to you. They will be honest. And they want your small business to become successful. Be careful to write down their immediate thoughts. You want to rank the options by how clear they are to someone hearing your name for the first time.
You’re getting close when what they think and what your company does, are the same. Who knows, they may give you additional suggestions too. Take your time with this. Once you incorporate, get a business checking account, an EIN number, etc., it’s too late to consider something else.
When people use your brand name as a verb, that is remarkable. Meg Whitman
5. Use a dictionary and thesaurus
What does your name mean? For example, Volkswagen means people’s car in German. The huge auto giant nailed it. Use both books to uncover options that define your company perfectly.
Looking at the definition of a word and the synonyms of that word is another way to get your mind working. That’s what the dictionary and thesaurus can do for you. Write these ideas down. Play with them. Move them around.
Is your list growing? Good, you’re on the right track.
6. Think big.
Nike means the Greek goddess of victory. Wow, that’s huge. The athletic wear giant has successfully branded it’s business to stand out.
If Phil Knight continued with Blue Ribbon Sports—Nike’s original name—it would have been a tougher haul. No, Blue Ribbon doesn’t have a good ring to it. How big do you want your startup to become? Let that answer guide your naming choice too.
7. Use a name generator.
Try a name generator like the one found on Shopify. Generators spit out random names, combinations of names, and names that are purely made up. But that’s okay. The goal is to create a bucket of choices that you can shape and mold into something that will be the one.
These generators are free to use, and many will tell you what domain extensions are available too. This will take us to our next tip for finding a business name.
8. Check existing use.
The reason why you want to create so many different options is twofold. First, you want a great name that will standout, tell customers exactly what you do, and is brandable. Secondly, you want to make sure someone else isn’t already using it.
Yes, coming up with a list of names was just half of it. We never said starting your side hustle was going to be easy. Checking for existing use will keep you out of legal jeopardy. And it will also prevent customer confusion.
Conduct a simple name search in your states Secretary of State database. It will return the results of anyone using anything close to yours. Get close to someone else’s name if you must, but not too close. You can also pay a company like Rocket Lawyer to handle this for you as well.
In conclusion, trying all these tips will take time. Coming up with a name that means Greek goddess may take a minute.