With all the responsibility that comes with a new business, it’s sometimes easy to overlook one of the most important things—the name. The name is a crucial part of your brand that must adequately convey meaning, the promise of value, and a clear understanding of what it is that you can do for them.
What’s in a Name?
Considering the fact that you are essentially married to your business name, it’s shocking how low picking a name can be on many to-do lists. Your business name will be your first impression, every time, for the foreseeable future. Let that sink in.
At every investor meeting, every sales pitch, literally every time you talk about your company, your name will be the first thing people hear. It needs to elicit more than a lukewarm reaction, it needs to evoke curiosity and intrigue, and effectively communicate your value to everyone who hears this name.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when coming up with possible names for your business:
1. Know your customer
To whom are you going to be advertising? Are you a B2B or B2C company? The methods of discovery as well as the type of advertising required will differ based on who you are targeting, what your product or service is, etc.
2. Keep it simple
Use short phrases that are easy to write and remember. Excessively long and complicated names may be hard for your customers to remember, spell or pronounce, making it harder to locate. Finally, keep in mind the acronym for your business, and other businesses with which it may get confused.
3. Add meaning
While large companies can get away with having a name with no real meaning relating to their products or services (Apple, for instance), a startup would need to convey some meaning with their name that potential customers can relate to.
Once you have a list of words that you like, you can play around with translating them into different languages and check to see if the domain name is available. Do not be tempted to use alternative spelling, as this will only make it harder for people to find you on the internet.
4. Avoid obscurity
Try to avoid picking a name that is too obscure, or too specific. A vague, obscure name will most likely not leave a lasting impression on people, while a name that’s too specific could limit your prospects in the future (in case you decide to expand into other niches).
5. Test it
Before settling on a name, it’s always a good idea to poke at it from all sides to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything. Make sure you say it out loud to make sure it’s easy to say and sounds good. Finally, ask others to help you. Share your top few name choices with a few people, and ask them for their input (not just for the name they like, but also why they like certain names over others for your particular business).
Do you have a business name? How did you pick it?