Important steps in naming your business

Important steps in naming your business

What’s in a name? A lot. Before you were even born, your parents spent some time and energy thinking of a name for you (well most of our parents did), because they knew it was the first thing that will come out of your mouth every single time you will introduce yourself, for the rest of your life!

So basically, it’s the same thing for your business, it’s for life! And even if you rename it, first impressions will always last for your business. This is why it’s very important to choose a name that will stand the test of time, not just for now. So, how do you come up with a kickass, cool or respectable name for your brand/business? Here’s 6 steps:

  1. Moment of truth: Are you a brand or not? – You’ve got a big decision to make. Your name is best suited to be part of your brand identity if you’re offering some sort of coaching, consultancy or creative services and if you are the face of the company. If you aren’t any of those, you’re not part of the brand, so remove your name.

2. Be inspired – Generate a list of the top 15-20 brands you love that’s closely related to what you have. Then ask yourself “What makes these names appealing to me?”. Then start drafting your own final list of names.

3. Create a tagline – This makes it all clear for you and your brand to people. A unique, original name is both an asset and a difference maker, in a negative way. First important rule in creating a name is that if your brand name doesn’t describe the product(s) or the services you offer, then you most likely will need a tagline or a super brief description. That tagline can change from time to time as you evolve as a brand, so don’t worry. You can stick to it as well if people recall your brand based on your tagline too, if it still makes sense.

4. Is it in use already? – Ok, here’s where Google will become your best friend. You will have to do your research on your shortlist for names already in use, locally or internationally. Why? So you’ll eventually be far away from any demand letters coming your way finding out that there’s a brand somewhere else in the world using the same name as yours and that’s already registered to them. It’s gonna be a bummer too if you find out that the perfect name you came up with is already taken. Website hosts such as Hostrident.com offers you to check for available and taken domain names easily.

5. Determine domain name – Alright, so you’ve narrowed down your list of names, so now it’s time to consider your domain options. Remember the different domain dot names are reserved for certain types of business such as .org (non-profit) and .edu (for educational institutions). For profit businesses, the most commonly used domain is .com, .net or .biz. But there are unique domains such as .club, .xyz or .team that offer cheaper annual rates to retain.

6. Get as much feedback – Here is where you may want to listen and feel the emotional feedback your business name will provoke when you ask your most trusted friends and family for their honest opinions. Do not get offended if they think the name you created or chose sounds “stupid” or “ugly” to them, take it all into consideration, take the positive and negative feedback as feedback to guide you completely in determining what’s your final verdict!

So, tell me a short story about your brand’s name and why you chose that name in the comments section! Share if you found value in it as well.

*I used my personal logo as the featured image for this article which was created by one of the best logo makers I know and love in Io Castro.

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What people talk 14 Comments

December 16, 2020 Khel Lawrence

The name of my micro business is called “Grub to Go Snacks”. This came in my concept of prepaing On-the-Go Snacks that only needs your hand to eat them.

A lot of people keeps asking me “Why Grub? Isn’t it supposed to be Grab?” Technically, the meaning of Grub in the English dictionary is a snack or a meal, usually used by the British.

The menu offers not just easy snacks, but I consider them as a healthy and heavy snack, that can also be considered as a meal. For more info, you can visit my FB page @Grub2GoSnacks

February 10, 2021 Edward

Ever use a name generator. Computers don’t understand linguistics well enough, let alone branding. A surfeit of names does you neither honor nor good.

February 10, 2021 Edward

Pick a name that is “inherently distinctive.” A name (or a logo, slogan, etc.) will be protected by trademark law only if it is considered “distinctive.” “Distinctive” is a term of art in trademark law that means something is capable of distinguishing one product or service from another product or service. Although names can become distinctive over time by widespread use of the name, the goal for a new business should be to pick a name that is “inherently distinctive” – i.e. one that it considered distinctive from the beginning.

February 10, 2021 Edward

Research whether a confusingly similar name is already being used. Most people seem to understand that a name won’t be protected as a trademark law if someone else is already using the name. That’s largely true, but not entirely so. For one thing, the new name doesn’t have to be identical to the existing name to be foreclosed as trademark – being somewhat similar is often enough to create a real problem. On the other hand, even if the new name is identical to the existing one doesn’t necessarily mean there’s any problem at all. In short, there are lots of other considerations that come into play.

February 10, 2021 Nico

You have to be careful about picking names which aren’t easy to pronounce, easy to spell or are too “technical”. They might make sense to you as founders, but do they make sense to the customers who are hearing about it for the first time? Many people use Name Generators to come up with names. However, there is no good alternative to human involvement. If you use a platform like Squadhelp, you will have more than 100 creative submit name ideas for your brand. However, it is extremely important to provide on-going feedback to the creative who are submitting ideas so that you get much more targeted results.

February 10, 2021 Edward

It is also important to check the legal issues such as Trademark availability. We hear from several businesses who were forced to change their names because they received a cease and desist letter due to a Trademark conflict.

A name plays a significant role in a brand’s growth and perception. Whatever resource you decide to use, you should invest some time upfront to make sure you give your business the kind of name it deserves. It really can make all the difference in the world.

February 10, 2021 Anton

Start with what you know

To get the right name for a start-up, you first need to use what is within your reach. Start the process by listing all the words that relate to your business on synonyms or online tools such as Wordnik. Enter any word/term that comes into your mind and it gets all other related words that seem to match what you are looking for. Refine your search to generate a list of about 50-100 words which will be your foundation stone. Make sure to vet these for second meanings too too. Check Urban Dictionary and the Word Safety tool.

February 10, 2021 Aldwin

Here are the golden rules:

Catchy – The name should be catchy. These days, traditional names are not so popular but a catchy word can make a great impact of my brand.

Short – Keep the name as short as possible, it will help in a long run during marketing, designs and publicity.

Easy to remember – This helps in advertisement a lot. If name can read and remembered easily, people will lock it in their mind easily.

February 10, 2021 Aldwin

Unique – It has to be unique. Else you will face issues while making your social platform profiles/pages, company registration and brand registration.

Relevant – If you can keep it relevant to your industry, it will help customers correlating easily.

February 10, 2021 Jerome

Naming a business is a creative activity and it doesn’t have to follow any rules. But there might be good tips to start with.

First, go and research whether the name is already used or whether it is well known. Not only you would face a difficult competition war (if the company was in the same business), but there might be legal consequences, if you’re not going to check that.

February 10, 2021 Jerome

I agree also in naming a business, follow the rule “the shorter, the better”. In most cases that’s the right move. It’s easier for your customers to remember.

February 10, 2021 Genesis

I strongly recommend starting with good old fashioned research. Make sure you know your business, your region, the competitive landscape, your one ideal target customer, your relationship to this moment in time, and your company’s “personality,” before you think about a name. The more you fill your brain with relevant information, the better your search for the right name will turn out.

February 10, 2021 Genesis

Consider hiring outside help. I admit I’m biased, both because of how much problematic naming I see and because of how I’ve seen improved naming help to turn around faltering businesses, but I really do believe that this is one of those steps that has such long-term effects that it’s worth not going it alone. Like accounting. Or insurance. Or medicine. Only in the case of naming, everyone thinks it looks so easy that anyone can do it well. A great name is a leg-up in the early stages and your first and best advertisement for the life of the business. Like your graphics, your interiors, your coding, your packaging, etc…. it’s worth having professional experience on your side.

February 10, 2021 James Santos

Having a great name is significant, It matters because if a name is relevant, it can instantly help people remember your startup’s name and can give them a queue them into understanding what your startup does.

For every single startup I ever started, I used associative words to help describe the vision of the startup with just the name.

I believe that, when marketing, having a simplistic and descriptive name goes a long way in name recognition and stickiness in people’s minds. And that’s a very good thing because you want your startup’s name to stick in people’s minds. You want them to remember you.

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