Having a great idea for a product or service is one thing. But do you know how to come up with a business name?
Not all entrepreneurs have the skill of pulling effective business names out of a hat. Some struggle with finding the right name, which is a crucial part of company formation.
Global Network Navigator CEO and co-founder Lisa Gansky once said:
“A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir. “
That said, you really want to nail the naming thing from the get-go. Here are a few pointers to consider:
4 tips on how to come up with a business name
1. Pick a catchy name that best represents your business
Here’s the deal: your name will always be the first thing that customers will notice. It’s your ticket to making a positive impression. So you really need to put your best foot forward as you try to come up with the right one.
You definitely want a name that represents your business well and is catchy at the same time.
Just think about it. Running a great marketing campaign will all be in vain if people keep forgetting your brand’s name because it’s not memorable enough.
2. Go with a business name that’s easy to say and spell
Another important reminder: people will only talk about your business name in their online and offline exchanges if it’s easy to pronounce and spell. Otherwise, they will just avoid ever mentioning or searching for it – which could, of course, be harmful for your business.
Be simple. Avoid wild spellings that might only confuse your customers when they’re trying to type your brand into a search field. Also, the name has to sound good when said out loud. It should flow easily and not be a challenging tongue twister.
3. Avoid specific business names that may limit your future growth
As you learn how to come up with a business name, it’s also important to consider the future. You want a name that can grow with your business in the long run.
In an INC feature, CrowdSpring founder Ross Kimbarovsky explained it this way:
“If you sell antique lamps, you should consider whether in the future you might sell more than lamps. Naming your business Joan’s Antique Lamps may be too limiting when you later start selling antique clocks and furniture. Alibaba’s Cave might be a better descriptive for a wide range of products.”
4. Try a name generator
Technology can also work to your advantage as you explore ways to come up with a great business name.
For example, you can use these free name generator tools during your brainstorming process:
- Business Name Generator. You can “discover thousands of new inspiring business name ideas” from this free name generator. Moreover, you can also check which domain names are available for your choice (.com, .org, .net, .store,and others).
- NameSnack. This site uses A.I. naming tech and gives you over 100 suggestions. All you need to do is to enter some keywords and choose the right category. The generator also indicates whether the .com domain is available for the potential business name or not.
- Online Free Business Name Generator. Also a free tool, this one by Anadea Software Development Company knows that “a successful undertaking needs a catchy name.” You can get thousands of suggestions by typing a keyword.
So, what happens next after picking a business name?
Once you’ve found a name you like, what do you do next? Well, you’re not done yet. There is still a lot of work ahead as you figure out your business name.
1. Get feedback from others
According to Entrepreneur, it’s not a good idea to “keep the name you like a secret.” It’s always better to see what others think about the name before you start officially using it.
The article continues:
“Entrepreneurs are naturally biased toward their own ideas. It’s always good to hear other people’s thoughts especially if those people are your future customers… You may find that a name you like is perceived negatively by others or has a hidden meaning that you didn’t notice before.”
Try coming up with several names to pass around friends, customers, and other people you trust and see which name stands out.
2. Test the name
Of course, you will want to get a feel for what the business name would look like in your store sign, product stickers, giveaways, and more. Commission a graphic artist to create several logos for you to choose from.
You’ll have an easier time deciding if you like the name (or if the name really works) after you get a visual preview.
3. Search state records
This, perhaps, is the most important part of naming your business. Make sure to check the name’s availability by checking existing state records.
As an example, businesses in Delaware may do a name search via the Department of State: Division of Corporations. Doing so will lead to information about active and inactive entities from their official database. The website provides free access to information such as “entity name, file number, incorporation/formation date, registered agent name, address, phone number and residency.”
Other than that, you can create an account and do a multi-state search through the Secretary of State’s National Corporation Directory.
Never skip this process.
If a name you like is unavailable or is too similar to that of an existing competitor, it’s best to start over. This will allow you to avoid headaches (i.e. legal battles) you might encounter in the future.
4. Register your company name and seek professional help
With your business name safe from potential lawsuits, you can start establishing your identity. Register your business and seek the help of professionals. For instance, a startup attorney can offer you expert guidance on copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Meanwhile, a registered agent can do all the paperwork for you – from processing legal requirements to receiving documents on your behalf.
5. Secure the domain name and social media handles
As VantagePoint Capital Partners managing director and global head of M&A Richard Harroch told Forbes:
“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.”
While you’re at it, go create an account on social media platform/s of your choice. You will later use that to interact with your customers.
We hope all the tips we’ve shared here will be helpful as you think about naming your business.
Again, the goal is to look for a unique and user-friendly business name. Try not to feel frustrated if choosing a good one takes time. You’ll figure it out and you’ll eventually find something you’re completely happy with. There’s really no need to rush it.
Remember these words from Steve Forbes, CEO of Forbes Media:
“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.”
Featured image: canva.com