Choosing A Business Name
Although choosing a business name may seem like one of the easier steps to setting up your business, it’s actually quite difficult.
Think about it – the first thing a potential customer will hear or see about you is your company name.
This is before they find out about your product or service, or any other information about you as a business.
1. Make it memorable
Ever hear the expression 'you never get a second chance to make a first impression'?
Your company name is the very first step to earning the respect of your clients and other associates, whether they work for you or are buying from you.
It also marks you out from your competitors.
Therefore, it’s important to get this right from the start in order to save you from further hassle down the line.
The name you choose will also affect how you develop your brand, another crucial ingredient in the recipe for business success.
You need to come up with a name and a logo that will be memorable, so you stand out from the crowd of competitors.
Try saying it out loud and decide whether you think it's catchy enough to add to your shortlist.
2. Avoid something that's hard to spell
Make sure your business name is something easy to remember.
You don’t want to alienate customers by getting confused about how to find your business online.
And you don't want to have to keep correcting the misspelled version of your name. Keep it simple.
3. Don't pick a name that limits you
Picking too narrow of a name may cause you problems down the road, so it's important to avoid names like “London Stationery” or “Oxford Marketing.”
You don’t want to limit your business to a particular product or a specific city.
4. Brainstorm ideas
Find a quiet place where you can sit and get down some ideas.
If you're short of inspiration, there are website that can help you. These include:
- Oberlo (gives you hundreds of name options around a core theme)
- Cool Name Ideas (enter words that describe your business, customer benefits etc.)
- WordLab (great for finding a unique company name)
- VisualThesaurus.com (gives you a visual around a keyword)
- Shopify Business Name Generator (generates business name ideas and checks domain availability simultaneously)
- NameMesh.com (provides a startup company name generator)
- Naminum.com (allows you to generate names based on a theme)
5. Do your research
Once you have come up with a shortlist of names you like, run them through an online search engine.
Sometimes, you will find that someone else is already using that particular name, which may make you want to think twice about using it for your own business.
6. Register the .com version
It's crucial that you secure the “.com” domain name for your business rather than alternatives such as .net, .org, .biz, or other possible domain extensions.
Customers tend to associate a .com name with a more established business. Undoubtedly, someone will already own your desired .com name, but many domain owners are willing to sell their name for the right price, so think of this as a business investment.
You can check on the availability of a domain name on sites such as GoDaddy.com or NetworkSolutions.com, and if the domain name is taken, you can often track down the owner of the domain name and see if they are willing to sell it by using the “Whois” tool at GoDaddy or Network Solutions.
Also make sure that you sign up for your desired name on all the social media sites, such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
7. Reflect your type of business
You'll want to choose something that conveys the type of business you are in so it is informative to potential clients, too.
However, it’s also important that you actually like the brand you create – remember, you will have to say it every day in the foreseeable future, as well as be surrounded by it on stationary and on your website.
It’s best to take some time to experiment with different ideas rather than just go with the first thing you can think of.
This way you have a realistic chance of keeping it uncomplicated, relevant and in line with your business vision.
8. Ask for feedback
It's a good idea to run your shortlist of names past family, friends and colleagues when possible, and see what they think of your ideas.
You should also try to ask members of your target audience, too, since they will be the ones buying your product or service.
Check that the name doesn't have any negative connotations as well, to avoid any embarassment later on.
For more tips and advice on starting a business and entrepreneurship, please see:
- Why start a business?
- Types of business
- Choosing A Structure
- Writing A Business Plan
- Designing A Logo
- Creating Business Cards
- Registering A Domain Name
- Building A Website
- Controlling Your Finances
- Forming A Marketing Strategy
- Preparing To Launch
- Peter Jones Enterprise Academy (PJEA)
- PJEA courses
- PJEA student testimonials.