Finding the perfect company name should be one of the most fun parts of the entrepreneurial process, but it can be a major headache if you don’t know where to start.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, choosing a name for your startup is one of the most important aspects of launching your brand.
The name is typically the first thing potential customers learn about your company. A good name should draw customers in and sum up your brand’s true identity. If you’re starting a brand new company with very little resources, don’t worry, choosing a brand name is a great way to set yourself up for success!
Although coming up with a name is a challenge for some aspiring entrepreneurs, it should be a fun experience! Picking a name should not feel like stepping off the edge of a cliff blindfolded. With these three steps for choosing a perfect name, you can organize your ideas and get the most out of your brand name.
Step One: Mission and Vision
Decide on your brand
When choosing a name, it is helpful to collect all of your ideas in one place. It’s a good idea to make a document that you can refer back to throughout the naming process. On this document, you will want to write down any key aspects of your brand. Include what your business does, your values and why what you’re selling is important. If your potential clients can’t sense that you’re passionate about your brand, they will likely start questioning why they should care about your brand.
Start by compiling a list of eight to ten of your current favorite business names. Once you’ve done that then you should begin to dissect them. Research your top business name ideas. Then, you should write down a few bullet points about what you like about the name and why it works for that specific company. Analyzing your favorite company names will provide you with direction to your own naming process.
Reflect on your target audience
Make sure that your brand reflects the target audience of your new business. For example, a clothing brand for successful middle-aged professional women will sound nothing like a hip fashion line for young college students. There’s a good reason these two different brands don’t sound alike even though they’re in the same industry. Your company name should not just reflect who you are but it should also reflect who you are selling to. Most successful brand names target their specific audience, drawing them in with values and emotions that they can relate to.
Where do you want to see your startup at in five years? What about the growth you’d like to see in ten years? If you’re planning on starting a company that might grow into new areas down the line, be careful not to choose a name that pigeonholes you into a specific service. In the beginning, you may launch a brand of socks, and you think the name SuperSocks could be a great fit, but if you plan to expand into accessories like hats and scarves, SuperSocks would no longer a suitable name. If you plan ahead you can prevent a costly rebranding process down the line.
Step Two: Get Creative
Brainstorm some names
This is the fun part of the naming process for aspiring entrepreneurs! Simply write down every name you can think of that could possibly fit the brand you are creating. Don’t put pressure on yourself and feel free to think out of the box. In addition, don’t be afraid of writing down names you don’t like. The more names you have to cross off the list, the easier it will be to narrow down the list to your favorites.
It’s important to start broad when brainstorming names. Certain names are explanatory, abstract, expressive, or nostalgic. You can combine words to form a new name or use two separate words, to sum up your brand. Try writing down an example for every business name type you can think of. This can help you see what names work best for your company.
Narrow your list down
Now that you have a broad range of ideas to start with, you can begin crossing off names that don’t work for your brand. Keep crossing off names until you have five or six favorites. This is a great opportunity to get second opinions on names from friends, family, or even your target market.
When asking about the names to family and friends, don’t just ask “Which of these names is your personal favorite?” Avoid any potential bias by asking something more along the lines of “Which brand intrigues you?”
Step Three: Check your Boxes
Secure your domain name and assess your risk
The final step is to find a great domain that complements your winning name. After all, your website is where potential customers will find out more about you, so it’s best to have as close of a match as possible.
Trademark validation for your startup name is another beneficial way to secure your name. It’s quick and easy to run a trademark risk test to make sure that your name isn’t already taken by a similar business. If your name is too similar to another name for a business that offers comparable services, you could run into trouble with trademark law later down the line. Try to be proactive about trademark risk to avoid messy legal issues in the future.
Choosing a strong name for your brand is a daunting task for some aspiring entrepreneurs. It is the sum of your brand’s identity, and it is the first point of connection between you and your audience. You might feel like all the best brand names are already taken, or that you don’t have any good ideas, but the perfect name for your startup is out there. Don’t worry, the perfect brand name is out there, it just takes a bit of prospecting and brainstorming to find it.