When you consider all that goes into forming your own business – the blood, sweat, and tears in the form of market research, financial planning, and employee hiring – picking a name might seem like the easy part.
But don’t be fooled, because at first glance your potential customers can’t see everything you worked towards and everything your company can do for them: all they see is your name. For this reason, it must both serve as an accurate representation of your company’s brand, and be catchy enough to stand out from the crowd.
Whether you outsource the task or handle it in-house, here are some useful tips and tricks for finding the perfect name for your business.
Go for substance over style
While clever wordplay and trendy lingo certainly add an edge to your business’ name, its foremost purpose should be to inform your audience of your service to them. It will likely be the word used most often on all of your marketing material, including your website, social media, print brochures, and business cards, so prioritize content and meaning first before getting too creative.
Creativity can come in expanding your marketing to include pitches, descriptions, and campaigns, but the name itself should remain reflective of your brand.
Do your research – before and after you land on a good idea
Nobody wants to be in a situation where they’ve found the absolute perfect name for their start-up and can’t wait to start branding everything in sight when they realize the name is already trademarked by someone else.
In order to avoid this fate, you must be vigilant in your research before you start brainstorming. Thankfully the internet is a vast tool that can quickly tell you whether you’re barking up the wrong naming tree. It’s especially useful to see what versions of your name have available domains for potential websites.
(More than) three’s a crowd
When brainstorming, it can be productive to have a small team of people to bounce ideas off of. The odds of coming up with a unique idea in an echo chamber are low, and the importance of diverse points of view cannot be overstated. However, make it no more than three individuals or else you’re just making more work for yourself.
Do’s and Don’ts
While the best name for your company is unique to your industry, customer base, and brand, there are a number of general do’s and don’ts to adhere to in order to find a name that shines:
- Don’t pick a name that is too specific or too vague – you want something people without insider knowledge can understand.
- Do keep it simple – a great name is usually no more than one or two words, any more and you’re asking too much of your audience to remember.
- Don’t forget the dictionary – word origins provide lots of great brainstorming material.
- Do take your time – you won’t come up with the perfect name overnight, give yourself time to mull it over.
- Don’t limit yourself – avoid including your location or any other specific qualifying factors in the name itself, you never know how much you’ll expand in the future.
What’s in a name?
It might not feel like you’ve landed on the “perfect” name, or even if you have you might second guess yourself, thinking “It just doesn’t sound as good as ‘Twitter.’” While it’s true that there are certain boxes a business name should tick in order to promote itself, it’s important to remember that successful companies become successful for myriad reasons, and rarely is it their name alone that generates business. In the end, your business’ name will be the door that people open to see what’s inside.