Choosing the right name for your small business, startup, or side project is one of the most important steps in the launch of your big idea. Your business name is the foundation upon which you’ll build your brand. You want to choose a name that’s memorable, catchy, and effectively communicates what your business is all about. And in today’s digital age, you’ll also need to think about how your business name will translate into online spaces like your website and social media.
Follow these tips to choose a creative, on-brand name that will serve your business in both the short and long term.
Identify the core of your business
Think long and hard about what your business is all about. Start by answering the basics:
- What does your product or service do?
- Who is your target audience?
- What value do you bring to your customers?
Then put yourself in the mind of the customer by moving into the emotional realm:
- What message do you want to portray?
- How do you want people to feel when they interact with your brand?
- What three words should come to mind when people interact with your brand?
- If your brand were a person, how would you describe them?
These questions will help you identify the type of language and tone you’re after.
Conduct a brainstorming session
Get together with your friends, family, or business partners for a brainstorming session. Talking with others gets the ideas flowing, and you’ll end up with a bigger list of ideas to work with. If you’re not able to meet with others, conducting a solo brainstorm session is still an effective exercise. Check out this list of creative brainstorming ideas you can do by yourself or with a team.
Once you have your top name choices, get feedback from others one on one. It’s best to ask people who were not a part of your initial brainstorm, as they can offer a fresh set of eyes and won’t be swayed by having heard others’ opinions. Hearing different perspectives will help you see how people, in general, react to your potential names but don’t forget to focus on people who belong to your customer niche. For example, if your target audience is 20-somethings who live in urban areas, run your business name by a few people who belong to that demographic. Collecting all this feedback will help you understand what will (and won’t) resonate with your target audience.
Make sure your name is not already taken
Do a quick internet search for your desired business name to find out if it’s already being used.
You can also run a trademark search in the USA, Canada, or wherever you live, to see if your desired name is already registered to someone else.
You’ll also want to check social media and make sure the handles for your desired business accounts aren’t taken. If they are, it’s time to think about workarounds and alternatives you can use instead. You don’t have to change your entire business name to accommodate a taken social media handle; businesses will often add an extra word or letter specifically for social media. As long as your business name and branding is strong across all channels online, your audience will know it’s you.
Keep it simple and easy to spell
Avoid names that are too wordy or difficult to spell. You’ll want something that effectively introduces what you are all about and doesn’t confuse your audience.
Use a name that will grow with, rather than limit, your business
Your business name will be with you for a long time. Unless you really aren’t looking to expand down the road, try to avoid using a name that refers to a particular product or location. Choosing too specific of a name for your business could limit your future potential. Instead, you want to choose a name that can scale with you and your business as it grows.
Consider a meaningful name that hints at what you do
Choosing a name that’s meaningful to you (and, as importantly, your audience) increases the likelihood that customers will remember your brand and sets you apart from competitors. As we mentioned earlier, you don’t want a name that’s so specific it limits you. At the same time, your name should make sense for your industry. In other words, you want to strike a balance. Your name could make a gentle nod to what you do, evoke an emotion appropriate for your line of business, or include a common industry buzzword.
Think about your future marketing strategy
The business name you choose will both limit and inspire every marketing campaign you launch and every strategic brand decision you make.. Think about how you want your business to be perceived and how you might get your product or service into the hands of your target audience. Does the name lend itself to the style of logo you want? Is it too long to include on your physical product?
Ensure the right domain name is available
Your domain name, or website URL, is often the first interaction users have with your brand. And like your business name, it should be catchy and memorable. Many small-biz owners default to a .COM domain, which is always a solid choice. However, discovering the .COM version of your business is taken need not be a reason to panic!
Often, it’s an opportunity to get creative and stand out from the crowd with a domain extension that’s more meaningful for your industry.For example, you could use .SHOP for your new online store or .LIVE for your streaming website or. And of course, classic domain extensions like .ORG or .NET are popular and professional options.
Your domain will be the online home of your business, and creating a digital space of your very own is important for your brand. Take the time to think about the online presence you want to build.
Ready to take the first step in making your big idea a reality? Find your perfect domain today!