Choosing the right name is crucial to its success when you name your start-up. If you pick the wrong name, you may not only fail to attract customers, but also face insurmountable business and legal obstacles. When it comes to marketing and branding, a clear, powerful name can be extremely helpful.
12 tips on how to choose a name for your business:
1. Don’t use names that are hard to spell.
When you name your Start-up don’t confuse potential customers about how to find your business online. You don’t want to have to correct your name repeatedly. Don’t complicate things.
2. Choose a name that won’t limit your business as it grows.
You may run into problems down the line when choosing to name your start-up if you choose a name that is too narrow. Try to avoid names like “Wedding Dresses of South Africa.” You don’t want your business to be limited to a particular product or location.
3. Search the Internet thoroughly.
Before naming your start-up do a web search on the name once you have determined a name you like. The likelihood is that someone else is already using that business name. It won’t be a total showstopper, but it should give you pause.
4. Obtain a .com domain name.
Rather than .net, .org, .biz, or other possible domain extensions, it is strongly recommend that you secure a “.com” domain name for your business. It is common for customers to associate a .com name with a more established company. There is no doubt that someone already owns your desired .com name, but many domain owners are willing to sell it if the price is right.
Consider acquiring the .com name as an investment for your business. Check if a domain name is available on sites such as GoDaddy.com or NetworkSolutions.com, and if the domain name is already taken, you can often locate the owner and see if they are willing to sell it by using the “Whois” tool at GoDaddy or Network Solutions.
Don’t forget to grab your desired business name on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest as well.
5. Make your name meaningful.
Ideally, your business name should convey something meaningful and positive about your company. Is it easy for people to understand what your business is all about? Meaningless names like “Google,” “Yahoo,” or “Zappos” may be catchy, but they will cost you a lot more to brand.
Canny.com, Cling.com, Afire.com, and Administer.com are examples of clear, simple, and intriguing domain names. “OnlineTickets.com” is a genius domain name because it conveys the meaning of the business and supports search engine optimization.
6. Search for trademarks.
Search to get an idea as to whether you can get a trademark or service mark for the name.
7. Conduct a government search.
It is likely you will want to structure your business as a corporation, so make sure that your name isn’t confusingly similar to an existing business name. You may not be able to register your name if it is too similar to an existing one. You can conduct this type of search with the help of your corporate lawyer.
8. Make sure the name is catchy.
A boring name for your business won’t work, but neither will something too out there. You want your employees to be able to say where they work without hesitation, and you want your name to resonate with your target audience.
9. Feedback on the name is important.
You should come up with five or ten names and run them by friends, family, and trusted colleagues. Make sure you get feedback from your target audience as well. Make sure the name doesn’t have any negative connotations. (Like when Kylie Jenner named her brand K.A.K.)
10. When saying the name aloud, make sure it sounds good.
On paper, names may sound perfect, but when spoken, they sound terrible. If it’s spoken aloud, make sure people don’t get confused about how it’s spelled.
11. Brainstorm names using available resources.
The following sites can help you brainstorm names:
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 start-up company name generator)
Naminum.com (allows you to generate names based on a theme)
There are even name branding experts such as Alexandra Watkins at Eat My Words.
12. Your name should be something you are personally happy with.
It is your responsibility as the business owner to make sure you are happy with the name and that it resonates with your customers. Make sure you get it right from the start.