Establishing your own business and being the master of your destiny are things almost every person in a nine-to-five job dreams of. If, after putting in an enormous amount of time and effort refining a business idea, carrying out market research, and developing product prototypes, you feel confident enough to take the first step, you will still need to decide on a suitable name for your business. Even if you are a technology whizz, you will discover finding a catchy, compelling, relevant, and memorable name can be a lot more difficult than it seems. While it may seem simple, you need to get it right from the very start because you will need to stay with it for a lifetime. Some key considerations and steps in the naming of your startup:
Keep the Name Short and Sweet
If you look around, you will discover that most of the business names you can recollect tend to be short. The reason is not difficult because people are more likely to remember company names that roll off the tongue easily and are easy to utter. Even if you do not want to count the number of characters, you need to ensure that the company name does not seem like a sentence. Even if it comprises two words, invariably, both should be short for customers to say the name and remember it easily.
Make the Name Simple to Spell
The business name must be easy to spell by the target audience. In a world where the primary source of information regarding the company and the products is the web, customers need to get the name right when performing a web search. If the spelling is too long or complicated, they may be frustrated with the results, and the business may lose out on a conversion. You should aim for a business name that sounds just like its spelling. Customers may not remember business names with odd spellings well. Also, refrain from being gimmicky, like using 8 to replace the “ate” sound.
Make the Name Original
Every business name should be unique so it stands out from the competition, conveys meaning to the target audience, and is memorable. For this reason, the name of your business must be original, not commonplace or generic. However, making the business name unique so that customers do not get confused or think it is of some other company can be harder than you assume. You must brainstorm intensively to create a truly distinctive, representative, and compelling name. Using an online startup name generator can throw up countless possibilities that you can use for inspiration for your business name.
The Name Should Not Restrict Business Growth
Deciding on a specific business name may seem the best way to inform potential customers of the nature of the business or some aspect of the business for targeting customers more precisely. However, you should not keep a name that will restrict the company’s future growth. For example, a business selling hats may think twice about including the term hat in the name since it would prevent it from selling other personal accessories like belts, sunglasses, shoes, etc., in the future. It can also be a bad idea for the name to be location-specific. For example, The Tampa Tuxedo Store may sound fine as long as it is only in Tampa, but there would be a problem when you try to expand to other cities.
Check Domain Name Availability
If you think you have thought of a business name that’s just right, you need to check if the same domain name is also available. Today, every business, whether it engages in e-commerce or not, needs to be visible on the web and generate traffic to the physical store. For online businesses, the domain name is even more critical because it is the principal web property entrepreneurs need for the business to thrive. You should check the domain name availability using an online tool like Domain.com. If you have finalized the business name without checking the domain name availability, you may have to use an alternative TLD domain like .biz, .net, etc. However, according to Forbes, these extensions do not have the same credibility as a .com name. You have to spend unnecessarily to buy out the domain name from the existing owners if they are ready to sell.
Check for Distinctiveness and Trademarks
You will need to search the Secretary of State’s records to ensure that the selected name is not identical or similar to that of an existing business. You can go online or appoint a lawyer to help you out. Ideally, you should be able to trademark your business name. Checking the government trademark database USPTO.gov will inform you about existing trademarks you will have to work around registering your trademark.
After shortlisting two or three names, you should invariably get feedback from a cross-section of people, including potential customers, suppliers, investors, employees, and other stakeholders. As a business owner, you are so close to the action that it is easy for you to be myopic or biased. Someone who is not as involved or has a different perspective can point out if you are going in the wrong direction. People from different cultural backgrounds and speaking languages other than English can also point out if any of the names have bloopers that will offend people or make you the butt of jokes.
The name of your startup is its identity, which you should not have to change after spending time, effort, and money establishing it. Adopt a rational and level-headed approach to finding an appropriate name but do not extend the exercise into perpetuity. If you decide you like a name, make sure it is relevant, original, and catchy, and that the domain name is available, and you will be able to trademark it. Most importantly, you should be happy about the choice of the name, believe it has the desired resonance with your target audience, and that it is future-proof. Most importantly, potential customers should be able to identify what the company does and recall it easily without confusing it with the competition.