Choosing a business name is crucial as it is typically the first thing people will learn about your new brand. Although it is a challenge, these three steps will encourage you to get the most out of your business name. By the end of the process, you will feel confident in your decision (and not like you’re stepping off the edge of a cliff).
Step One: Mission and Vision
Consider your audience when choosing a business name
When choosing a business name, it’s important to know who you want the name to appeal to. The name should be a reflection of you AND your target audience.
For example, a fashion brand targeted at professional women will be nothing like one geared towards fashion-forward students.
The best names are the ones that target a certain audience and engages them with values and emotions that they connect with.
A great example of this is the subscription service, Dollar Shave Club. This company markets themselves as a disruptor within their industry, with a quality product that is mailed to their customers. Unlike many of their competitors, the Dollar Shave Club doesn’t market their razors to a specific gender. Their name implies that it is an affordable subscription service, which are two elements that attract millennial consumers.
It’s important to consider the future of your business and where you want it to be in five years. If you want to start a flexible company that could grow into new areas, be careful not to pigeonhole your business. In the beginning, you might be launching a tech company and creating a new social media app, thus deciding that the name Chit Chat could be a great fit. The problem is that if you plan to expand into other territories later down the line, like adding a photography element to your app, Chit Chat is no longer an acceptable name for your business. If you plan ahead when choosing a business name you can prevent having to go through an expensive rebranding process in the future.
Try to summarise your brand’s mission and values in a short project statement. Here are some great examples of project states to get you started:
- We need a name that captures our innovative and unique approach to selling insurance.
- We need an effective name that sets us apart as a modern, youthful brand.
- We need a reliable name that hints at our environmentally-friendly practices.
Step Two: Get Creative when choosing a business name
It’s a great first step to gather all of your brand ideas in one place and figure out what kind of name you want for your specific business. The fun part starts now; you can begin coming up with name ideas!
A solid brand name should be:
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- Simple to say.
- Easy to spell.
- Understandable when heard.
If people have difficulty sharing your brand with their friends and family then they won’t share it at all. This lack of sharing will likely stunt your brand’s rise to success.
Narrow your list
Once you’ve created a list with a wide variety of ideas, you can start crossing off names that don’t work. Keep crossing off name ideas until you only have five or six favourites left. This part of the process is an excellent opportunity to gather feedback from your friends, family and target market.
When approaching your target audience, frame questions neutrally by asking “Which brand would you want to find out more about?”. Rather than “Which of these names is the best?”.
Keep working your way down by picking a name that you feel is unique enough to help you stand out and supports your business. Your business name is more than a word – it is a tool that can help support your growth.
Remember, when choosing a business name, it is more important to prioritise something that will boost your business over one that you feel emotionally attached to.
Step Three: Check your Boxes
Secure your domain
A solid domain name goes perfectly with a good brand name. Your website is where people will find more information on what you do, so it is vital to have your domain and business name match closely. When you’ve narrowed your list down to just a few names, try searching if there are any available domains for those names.
Choosing a business name can feel like a daunting task before you start, as a lot rests upon a name. The name summarises your brand’s identity and serves as the first point of connection between your business and your target audience.
If you feel like there aren’t any good names left for you to choose, don’t worry! Keep brainstorming and go through each of these three steps and you’ll find your perfect name in no time!
About Grant Polachek
Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Inc 500 company Squadhelp, a global naming platform, with customers from small startups to large corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi and AutoNation.