10 Effective Tips for Choosing a Business Name

This post was last updated on October 14, 2020.

The name of your business has a long-lasting impact on your marketing and branding efforts. With this in mind, you'll need to take into account several important factors as you begin to think about how to name a business.

One of the most straightforward ways to choose a business name is to enlist the expert help of a business name generator. This tool, paired with the useful tips provided in this article, will help you find the perfect name for any of your entrepreneurial adventures.

How to come up with a business name

  1. Start brainstorming

  2. Keep it simple and original

  3. Be meaningful

  4. Pick a name that’s scalable

  5. Consider acronyms of the name

  6. Beware of trends

  7. Make sure it flows when said aloud

  8. Test it with an audience

  9. Confirm that it’s available

  10. Do a final check

01. Start brainstorming

Begin by taking time to brainstorm a series of concepts that describe your business. Think about the main components that should go into your business name. What do you want it to communicate? Are there industry terms you want to be associated with? For example, if you’re launching a natural foods business, words like “fresh,” “green” and “organic” are just a few good starting points to consider.

This is a great time to perform market research to see what your competitors are naming themselves. Furthermore, knowing the right jargon will also help you narrow down your choices along the way.

Using a company name generator streamlines the process of coming up with a business name. Start by writing down three simple things: Your type of business, a word you want to include in your name, and how you would describe your brand. Then, let the tool produce a large list of options for you to choose from.

For all of the names generated, you can browse how they look in logo form with several different designs. This allows you to see how each business name option appears on any of your most prominent branding assets, from company logo and business website to merchandise and more. Additionally, you'll be able to secure a domain name from any of the choices right away.

02. Keep it simple and original

Choosing a business name that’s easy to say and recall will boost the chances of people being able to remember and recognize it. With that said, avoid using hard-to-spell names that can confuse potential customers. You don’t want to be spending too much time correcting others' misspelling due to lack of clarity.

Having an original name for your venture will also make differentiating it from your competitors easier to do. As you start building your online presence, you’ll need to shift your attention away from local companies and onto farther reaches of the web, thus considering how a unique name will help you get found.

03. Be meaningful

A great name should create some buzz around the business and its offering. Take the example of the supermarket giant Whole Foods, whose name has a holistic meaning to its target market yet is broad enough to appeal to even the most generic food shopper.

The name of your business doesn’t have to convey an obvious meaning but it should resonate with your audience vis-a-vis memories, feelings or specific terms.

04. Pick a name that’s scalable

When starting a business, there are many decisions one must take then and there to get off the ground. While there’s no way to predict what your company will look like in the coming years, you should choose a name that won’t limit your entrepreneurial growth over time.

Imagine if the skateboarding shoe company Vans picked a name focusing on footwear alone. Today, this international company has become a household name for much more, including clothing, fashion accessories and backpacks.

When coming up with a business name, avoid names based on a certain geographic location - you might extend to other cities, countries or continents - or those that are too specific - Nonna’s gnocchis could easily offer other types of pasta.

05. Consider acronyms of the name

Along the lines of keeping it short and simple, consider the acronym that will follow before you choose a business name.

An acronym is a term formed from the first letter of each word in a phrase. In fact, there are several multi-billion dollar companies that are better known by their acronym than their full name, including IBM (International Business Machines) and CVS (Consumer Value Store).

Though you might not want to use an abbreviation of your business name, your customers or other companies might refer to its initials anyway. Take time to properly investigate the meaning of your name’s acronym in order to evade an embarrassing result.

06. Beware of trends

Businesses that have successfully evolved over time share one thing in common: they’ve avoided falling into the trend trap. In a rapidly changing world, something fresh and promising can quickly become yesterday’s news.

Take the case of the recent ‘drop the vowel’ trend and the rise of brand names like Flickr, Grindr and Scribd. While it might have seemed hip or cool to do at the time, it still poses challenges like not being so easy to say, spell or recognize worldwide.

07. Make sure it flows when said aloud

Do a necessary check of your business name by reading it aloud and pay attention to the way it sounds. You want to foresee whether it sounds good or not when said in conversation, video, radio and by other people.

Use your name in sentences and speak about it with your acquaintances. How does it roll off the tongue? If a person has a hard time pronouncing your business name, then they might be inclined to avoid talking about it all together, which is far from ideal.

08. Test it with an audience

An effective way to validate your business name is by reaching out to friends, family, partners and investors to get their insight. Talking with them at this early stage of your business can give you further inspiration or have you rethink your name choice.

During these conversations, provide a list of questions for them to answer such as ‘What feelings does the name give you?’ and ‘Is it easy or difficult to spell in your opinion?’. Guiding their attention to these aspects could lead to better constructive feedback.

If you catch yourself having to explain a long and complex story about your name, consider this an undesirable outcome of what you hope to accomplish. As mentioned above, you want people to remember your business name, as if it were on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

09. Confirm that it’s available

Make sure that you can take ownership of your chosen business name. In order to do so, there are a few places you’ll need to check:

  • Search engines: Turn to places like Google and Bing to see what comes up when you search your name. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is being associated with something inappropriate. If you do business internationally, check for cultural references across the countries you plan on doing business in.

  • The domain availability: It’s extremely important as a business owner to have an online presence through the lens of your very own website. When you create a website, your domain name should be closely associated with the name of your business. So it’s crucial to check that this domain hasn’t already been taken.

  • Social media platforms: Do a search on social media to make sure that this name is available. Your Instagram handle, Facebook Business Page, and the other social media branding aspects of your future business are just as important as your domain name is.

  • Your local business registration service: Lastly, check that someone else didn’t already register a trademark under this name. If you live in the U.S., you can check with Uspto.gov. If you are located elsewhere, go on the host country’s government website and familiarize yourself with the process there for setting up a business.

10. Do a final check

Now that you have carefully chosen a business name, give it one more final run through before sharing it with the world. This begins by actually imagining that action. Can you imagine this name on a billboard? Or in the news? Envisioning your future and associated name will allow you to truly see if it’s a fit.

Stay patient while going through this final check. Allow the idea to marinate overnight, or even for a few weeks before making it official. Basically, changing your business name later on will be a lot more complex than doing it right now.

Needless to say, we trust that you are equipped with the right tools and motivation to take your business to new heights. Once you choose your name, the opportunities are endless for you and your business’ potential.

By Cecilia Lazzaro Blasbalg

Wix Blog Writer

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