Yesterday, as part of my series on starting a business, I provided a general outline of things you need to think about when you develop a name for your business. Once you have your plan in place, here are some tips to help you find a business name that will add to your success.
1. Check on the Competition: What kind of names do your competitors have? Make a list and compare them to spark your own ideas and to help you develop a name that really stands out from the crowd.
2. Think about Your Target Audience: You want your business name to resonate with the people you are trying to reach. Use what you know about your target audience to measure the relevancy of any names you come up with.
3. Embrace Your Creativity: While you want your name to be easy to pronounce and remember, don’t skip over the value of creating a name that is completely unique. Not only can this make your business more memorable, but it can also provide a great opportunity for a back story, if your creative name has a special meaning.
4. Look at It from All Angles: Think about how the name will fit into the everyday operations of your business, and what it will make others think and feel. Make sure it coveys a clear message and that you are aware of all of the possible connotations that may influence how your business is perceived.
5. Don’t Limit Yourself: If you choose a name that identifies exactly what you do, such as Joe’s Logo Design, you might be limiting the future growth of your business. Sometimes it makes sense to be a little more general, such as Joe’s Graphic Design, so you don’t have to revisit and possibly revamp your brand down the line.
6. Get Input: Once you have a few possibilities, bounce them off of friends, family, colleagues and potential clients if possible. Ask for their initial impressions and suggestions they may have, and then add their feedback to your process.
7. Visualize the Brand: Your business name is more than just a name, it’s a big part of your company brand. Think in terms of your domain name, your marketing materials and how the name will essentially translate into all aspects of this new brand you are creating.
8. Use Tools: During your brainstorming phase, use some of the tools that are available to get inspired. A thesaurus is a must-have, and here are a few online tools to try out:
9. Keep It Short: Your business name won’t necessarily be more effective if it’s short, but it may be easier to remember. You can also consider using an acronym, but be careful – unless there is an obvious and memorable tie-in, using an acronym can make your name too generic to be relatable to your target.
10. Sleep On It: Put your shortlist of names aside for a day or two and then come back to it with a fresh perspective. You may feel differently about a name you loved before, or your working list may help you develop a new and perfect name when you review it again.