“What’s in a name? That we call Rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – William Shakespeare
The aforesaid Shakespeare’s quote might be true when it comes to natural objects. But, the same will not hold true for a business.
Choosing a business name is a serious business in itself. If you look a list of World’s most valuable brands, you will find one thing in common across all names. What’s that? A great name.
According to a study, companies with easy-to-pronounce names outperformed its peers in stock markets.
There are various advantages of choosing a business name that people love:
- Acts as a catalyst for an awesome product
- Helps people remember the product or company
- Super helpful when it comes to building a brand
- Makes marketing easier
- Assists people to understand the product (If the name is descriptive)
Choosing a business name can be a long & tiring activity. For my first startup, it took me (& my co-founder) a whopping 16 days to arrive at a name!
Based on my experience, I have arrived at 5 simple steps involved in choosing a business name.
CHOOSING A BUSINESS NAME
Step #1 Know What Works
First thing first, it’s important to know what are the characteristics of a good business name.
Following are the characteristics of a perfect business name:
- Connected With The Vision
Document your business vision & make sure your business name aligns with the same.
Example: Apple, the electronics giant, has got its name inspired by its vision of innovation, creativity & disruption.
- Unique & Short
Great business names are usually unique & short. In simple terms, they are ‘catchy’.
Example: Nike has got a unique & short name. By the way, their logo is equally popular for being simple & straight.
- Coined Word
Coining means inventing a new name which doesn’t have a natural meaning. Coined names have the much-needed ‘X-factor’ embedded into them.
Example: Skype, the Microsoft’s messenger app, doesn’t have a natural meaning attached to it. It’s a coined name or word.
- Describes Product or Offering
Some reputed brands’ names describe their product or services. They do work well.
Example: Pizza Hut is the one that comes to my mind when I think of business names that describe themselves.
- Easy To Pronounce
A good business name is that which is easy to pronounce without an effort.
Example: Amazon, the e-commerce marketplace, is easy to pronounce even for a third-grader.
- Passes The Language Test
Make sure that your business name, if translated into other languages, doesn’t mean a slang or an abusive word. This check especially becomes significant if you have global plans for your business.
- Has The Capability To Be A Verb
It will be an added advantage if your business name has the verb capability in it.
Example: When I am suggesting my friend to search for a word on Internet I say “Why don’t you Google it?”
Step #2 Brainstorm The Names & Prepare A List
Now that you know what makes a good business name, its time to start brainstorming for some names.
List down these names on a spreadsheet. I prefer restricting the number of names to not more than 10.
List of some online tools that can help you to discover some creative business names:
- Thesaurus (Shows synonym words for a particular keyword)
- Anadea(Excellent business name generator around a particular keyword)
- Shopify (Excellent business name generator around a particular keyword)
Step #3 Check The Availability
After preparing a list of probable business names, it’s time to check if the names are available in various capacities like domain name, trademark, company name & social media account.
- Domain Name Availability
Many business owners make a mistake of registering a business name only to discover later that their preferred domain name [business-name].com has already been taken.
To check for domain availability & buy a domain name I prefer NameCheap. Their easy-to-use platform is the prime reason why I have bought all my domain names from there.
You should always aim for a .com domain name for obvious advantages.
- Trademark Availability
To avoid a legal tussle with businesses having similar names or similar pronouncing names, make sure you do a thorough trademark research.
If your business is located in the US then visit this official trademark website to conduct the search.
Alternatively, you may want to hire a legal expert or a lawyer to help you in this.
- Company Name Availability
It’s not necessary that your company & brand name be the same. Example: Google is a brand name owned by a company named Alphabet Inc.
Still, if you want your company name to be same as your brand name (recommended) then do check the availability.
For the US, the company name can be checked by visiting this agency’s website. They can help you with incorporation as well.
- Social Media Username Availability
This check is optional.
You may want to check if your business name’s social media usernames have already been taken. With social media becoming increasingly important part of marketing canvas, you would like your business usernames to be same as your actual names.
There is a website called NameChk that can help you in this.
Step #4 Revise The List
Now is the time to revise the list to eliminate those names that failed to pass the aforesaid availability test.
After revising, you should be left with not more than a couple of names.
Step #5 Pitch The Names To Your Sample Audience
Pitch your final list of names to your target audiences via ads on either facebook or twitter. Choose an opinion poll format for better conversion rate.
If you don’t want to run ads then simply ask for feedback from your friends sharing similar interests.
So, by the using the aforesaid 5 simple steps, you should be able to craft a perfect business name for your brand.
When it comes to business success, it’s true that the product is the ultimate decider. A great name further ensures that the business success gets amplified. So, get the name right!
How do you plan to choose a business name? What do you think of the aforesaid steps? Comment below.