One of the most important decisions when it comes to starting your own business is coming up with the name. We often push ourselves to think of names that are unique, memorable, and catchy. Yet, before we get our creative juices flowing, it’s necessary to take a step back and work on some of the more practical aspects of choosing a business name.
1) What do you want your name to communicate?
Besides the services or products you plan to offer, what are your core values as a new business? These can play a key role in differentiating your company and help you develop a unique brand name. Choosing a name that elicits the visuals and emotions you want to convey about your brand can help you generate some truly creative, intriguing and meaningful business names.
To give you some inspiration and confidence, have a look at how Steve Jobs came up with the name, ‘Apple.’ At the time, he happened to be on a fruitarian diet and was coming back from an apple farm. He felt the name sounded “fun, spirited, and not intimidating,” which are the type of characteristics he envisioned for his company and computers. He didn’t come up with a long name trying to explain the product. Instead, he went for a familiar word that’s relatable and in line with his idea of the company. Sometimes, it really can be this simple.
2) What does Google have to say?
As most of us already know, businesses do not solely exist in the real world, but also online. These days, we operate in terms of ‘domain name,’ ‘twitter handle,’ ‘Facebook page,’ and other online terminology and social channels. The internet is inextricably linked to our real world business, and in many cases, it IS our real world business. As such, online research is a necessary ingredient when determining your brand name.
Even if you are opening your own personal consultancy and prefer using your own name, you absolutely must run a search on Google (or any search engine). If there is already another ‘Jane Doe’ out there with a website and corresponding social networking profiles, you might want to figure out a creative alternative for your domain name and business name as well.
Choosing your domain name goes hand-in-hand with determining your brand name. Early on in your ideation process, visit a domain registry to see what is available and get suggestions for other related names.
Consider visiting a domain name broker that specializes in your country’s “ccTLD” (country code top-level domain). For example, the URL ‘janedoe.com’ may be taken, but if you are working in Australia, you might be interested in ‘janedoe.com.au.’ This is a smart move as you get the name you want, while simultaneously signaling to both your target audience and Google that you are based in Australia.
3) Don’t be afraid to play around (within reason!)
Creating a business name should be fun, so give yourself the space to combine words and even develop new words altogether!
Many well established companies and popular websites are literally non-existing words, but they were generated from ideas, values, and roots in existing language (e.g., Acura, Compaq, YouTube, Facebook, etc.). None of these are words you could have found in the dictionary, but they still evoke a specific emotion or vision in our minds. Acura naturally makes us think of “accurate,” while the intention behind the name ‘Compaq’ was to be associated with the idea of something being compact and portable. This is the kind of ingenuity and creativity that helps make brands stand out in our minds in very targeted ways.
Whether you decide to use a fresh new phrase or stick to more familiar words, always try to tie it back to your business objectives and values. This is where you will find your strength, and your prospective customers will respond more positively as well.
Are you currently struggling to come up with your business name? You are not alone, and there are is a whole industry dedicated to helping new companies develop a brand name and identity. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to 6 months! And, according to Entrepreneur, some of the bigger agencies charge upwards of $50,000. So, don’t despair! This isn’t meant to be a simple and quick task. Remember to review your core business elements and values and do your internet research to keep you on track!