Finding the right name that can make a big difference in your startup’s success. A bad name can have a negative impact on your business, and can even cause legal issues. A clear and powerful business name is more likely to help you in your branding and marketing efforts.
Here are 12 suggestions to help you come up with the perfect name for your business:
1. Avoid hard-to-spell names.
You don’t need potential customers to be confused as to how they can find your business on the Internet. I never understood why the name “Flickr”, for the photo-sharing site, was chosen. Avoid having to correct your name every time it is misspelled. Keep it simple.
2. Don’t pick a name that could be limiting as your business grows.
You may have problems if you choose a narrow name. Imagine Jeff Bezos choosing “OnlineBooks” as opposed to “Amazon”. Avoid names such as “Wedding Dresses of San Francisco”, or “LugNuts Limited.” You do not want to restrict your business to one product or city.
3. Conduct a thorough Internet search.
Do a search online for the name once you’ve decided on one you like. You will most likely find that another business has already used that name. This won’t make you go crazy, but it will give you pause.
4. Select the .com domain name.
I strongly recommend that you choose a “.com” extension for your domain name, rather than other extensions such as.net.org.biz or others. A.com domain name is often associated with an established business. Undoubtedly, your desired.com domain name will already be owned by someone else, but many owners are willing and able to sell it for a reasonable price.
Consider the purchase of your desired.com domain name as an investment in your business. You can check on the availability of a domain name on sites such as GoDaddy.com or NetworkSolutions.com, and if the domain name is taken, you can often track down the owner of the domain name and see if they are willing to sell it by using the “Whois” tool at GoDaddy or Network Solutions.
You can also grab your business name by using popular social media websites such as Facebook Twitter and Pinterest.
5. Use a name with some sense.
You want your business name to be meaningful and positive. Are people able to understand your business instantly? Although a name like “Google,” Yahoo,” or Zappos may be appealing because of its catchiness, it will cost more to brand.
Canny.com is an example of a clear, simple, and interesting domain name. Other examples include Cling.com Afire.com and Administer.com. It is brilliant to have a domain name such as “OnlineTickets.com”, which conveys the essence of the business and also helps with search engine optimization.
6. Search for trademarks.
Search USPTO.gov for a better idea of whether or not you can obtain a trademark and/or service mark.
7. Search for the Secretary of State.
You will probably want to set up your business as an LLC or corporation. You should check the records of the Secretary Of State to ensure that your business name is not confusingly similar to one already registered. The Secretary of State might not let you register a name that is too similar to a registered business name. You can conduct this type of search with the help of your corporate lawyer.
8. Check if your name is memorable.
You don’t need a name that is too “out there” but you don’t either want something boring. ” Your employees should be able to tell you where they work with no hesitation. You also want to make sure that your brand is remembered by your audience. You also want the name to appeal to your target audience.
9. Give feedback on your name.
You can also ask trusted family members and friends for feedback. Also, get feedback from your intended audience. Make sure the name has no negative connotations. (For example, GM called its new car the “Nova”, not realizing that it meant “doesn’t go” in Spanish).
10. When you say the name out loud, it should sound good.
When names are spoken aloud, they can sound terrible. If you’re going to say it out loud, be sure that people don’t get confused about how the name is spelled.
11. Use resources available for brainstorming names.
You can find a variety of websites that will help you come up with names.
VisualThesaurus.com gives you a visual of a keyword
Shopify Business name generator (generates ideas for business names and also checks the availability of domains at the same time)
NameMesh.com is a name generator for startups.
Naminum.com allows you to create names based on a specific theme
Even name branding experts like Alexandra Watkins of Eat My Words are available.
12. Make sure you are personally happy with the name.
As the owner of the business, you will be living with this name for many years. Make sure that it is something you like and will resonate with customers. It is important to take the time necessary to get the name right.