You have a great product, done the ground work for your business, and you’re ready to go public, but you don’t know what to call your company. Finding a catchy name for your business can be an anxiety-filled experience, but there are guidelines for creating the perfect business name. Let’s start with what you should do when choosing a creative business name.
Pick a name that resonates with your customers
We know that you put in a lot of hard work and love into your company and products, but you can’t pick a name that only you can get behind. You need to share the love of your company by thinking about what your customers enjoy. Do this, and your passion will spread.
Pick a name that shows what you do
Your customers should know what you do at a glance from your business name. Very few companies can get away with choosing names that mask what they do. A business name like “Mixed Beans” would work for a coffee company, a bean outlet store or even a beanbag chair retailer, but “Mixed Beans” wouldn’t work for much else, even if your last name happens to be Bean. Your customers will ask you, “Where’s the beans?”
Pick a name that reflects your company’s values
Whenever possible, you should include one of your company’s core values—or at least imply something that your company believes—in your business name. Do you offer quick service? Use a word that flies. Do you focus on security? Let your customers know how secure your products are in your name.
Make a list of words with the above ideas in mind
Now it’s time to break out your thesaurus and cook a little word gumbo. Using the guidelines above, make a list of as many words that work for your business values, what your company does and what motivates your customers. Don’t filter this list. A word you don’t plan to use may lead you to the word you should use. Once you have a healthy list going, you can start to trim the fat, which leads us to our next item.
Play on a common phrases using these words
This isn’t always an option, but we’re sure you came across some words you’ve heard used together while compiling the above list. If it’s a phrase you’ve heard your customers use before, it’s definitely a safe bet for your company name. But you should consider twisting the phrase. English is wonderful for all the multiple words that sound alike but have different meanings: to, too and two; rain, rein and reign; carat, caret and carrot; real eyes, realize and real lies.
Keep it simple
Your customers shouldn’t need a decoder ring to figure out what your business name means and you should have a short name that’s easy to remember.
And now for the Don’ts.
Pick a name that only makes sense to you
Piggybacking off the decoder ring comment above, you shouldn’t use an inside joke for your business name. The idea of an inside joke is that it’s only funny to people on the inside and you want to be as inclusive as possible so you can attract more customers.
Pick a name on a whim
We know the process can be a difficult one, but you shouldn’t chose your name out of desperation or frustration. Take the time to get the right name for your business. You’ll thank us later.
They used to be en vogue—IBM, 3M, TNT to name a few—but they’ve fallen out of favor. Acronyms don’t work as well as they used to because you often have to explain them and as mentioned earlier, you should keep it simple.
As long as you follow these guidelines, you should be ready to do the final steps required for obtaining your business’s domain name and social media accounts.
Finalizing your name on the internet
You should input your new name into search engines like Google and Yahoo! to see what kind of returns you get. You’d hate to own a shiny new name that’s similar to an unsightly site. After you finish this, type your new name with a .com suffix into your web browser to see if it’s available. Then, you should consult a lawyer and check out the name on www.whois.net, which lists registered domain names. Who Is can let you know of recently expired domains or if the previous owner of the domain violated a Google term and is now banned from Google searches. You wouldn’t want to buy a brand new domain that Google won’t search for.
If you still can’t come up with a great name, there’s always surfing the many, sparkling names on Media Plow. Check out our menu of catchy, creative business names.