When you’re starting out in business one of the most important decisions you’ll make is naming your business. Choose correctly and your name will be talked about for miles around, choose poorly and your business is doomed to obscurity
and potential failure.
Some people believe a name should be informative so customers know immediately what your business does. ie Jones Plumbers. Other people believe that the name should be abstract so that customers can paint their own image of your
brand ie. Apple. Some people think that made up names are more memorable, others think that these are forgettable. The truth is, that any name can be effective if backed up by the right marketing strategy. In this article we look at how to come up with an effective name for your business.
1. Start with brainstorming names for your business.
Get a blank sheet of paper and draw a circle with the words “business name” in the centre. Then think of as many ideas as you can and link them off the central idea. Then go through all the ideas that you’ve come up with and see if anything links to that idea or inspires another idea and link to the original idea. The important thing is don’t dismiss any idea until you’ve finished the process.
Then review the ideas and decide which ones you want to keep and which ones you want to reject. Something to think about is a how a name sounds as sometimes a name looks fine written down but when you tell it to someone else, say on the phone, they don’t want to be any doubt how to spell the name. For example, names which have numbers in the name. Say the business name was Three, people will always be wondering is it three or 3?
2. Check the Web domain
Once you’ve got your shortlist together, check that the domain name is available, as nowadays it’s very rare that a business doesn’t have a web presence even just for marketing purposes and telling people where to buy your product from. Use sites like www.godaddy.com or www.namecheap.com to check availability of your business name and purchase your own domain name.
If your business name isn’t available in either .com, .co.uk, or .net consider adding a hyphen or looking at the other names on your shortlist to see if one of them is. You could also check whether your business name has been registered as a company at http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/ if your business is in the UK or if you’re in the US by state here: http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/ links/aLink.shtmlaLink.shtml
3. Test it Out
Test the shortlisted names on your ideal target customers as well as friends and family. What names do they like/dislike and why?
Eliminate the names that people don’t like or people are neutral towards. Then you should be left with a handful of choices or maybe it’s immediately obvious which your business name should be.