Things to be considered before you pick a name for your business or brand. You can’t have a business without a business name!
But the process of choosing the perfect business name that is both catchy and communicates what your business is about is by no means easy. Businesses have failed in the past largely due to a name that just didn’t work, so it’s important to get this right. Choosing a good business name is very important if it’s going to be successful and it’s key to differentiating you from your competitors. Customers associate a business name with the value it provides to them.
Before starting your quest for picking up the perfect business name, you should have a clear idea of what type of business structure you are going to have. This is important because rules regarding name registration vary depending on the structure of your business.
- If your business is a company, you need to register the business name at the time of registering your company.
- If you are a sole trader or have a partnership, you need to register your business name with the Trademark, unless your business is named after you or your partner.
Another obvious thing to do while naming your business is to check if the name is already in use. Technically speaking, unless a business name in india is registered as a trademark, it can be used by multiple entities. However, considering the brand value your business name carries, it should be unique and easily distinguishable from others.
How do you find out if a business name is already taken?
- Go to intellectual prroperty rights website- IPR India
- Serach engine
How to choose a name for your business
As discussed, the main purpose of a name should be to communicate what services you offer while being easy to remember and unique, if possible. Here are a few useful tips to keep in mind:
1. Be descriptive but not too general or vague
Don’t choose a name that is too vague or too meaningful. Generic names, like – Melbourne Painting Service, is not only boring but also not easy to remember. Moreover, it doesn’t stand out from other providers. Now consider the name PhotoBucket – descriptive enough, not boring, and not something you’re likely to forget.
2. Use related words in a creative way
Don’t be tempted to stuff keywords into your business name. Using plain keywords like General Motors doesn’t work anymore. But often, choosing a somewhat modified version of related keywords works very well, provided it expresses what your business is about. A good way to create catchy, memorable business names is to use alternate versions of common words related to the service you’re offering. For example, the name Attensa is quite perfect for the content aggregation tool.
The name is a play on the word attention – which is somewhat relatable to the service itself. Other examples include Digg (dig), Flickr (flicker) and Compaq (compact).
3. Think about what you want your business name to convey.
Your business name is an important part of your company’s brand identity. The name will appear in your company logo and on your business cards, letterhead, website, promotional materials, products, and pretty much everywhere in print to identify your company or your company’s products and/or services.
Service-oriented businesses should consider whether it will be easy for their prospective customers to recognize what services the business provides, based on the name of the company (example: Friendly Dog Walkers or Bright Accounting).
4. Brainstorm to identify name possibilities.
Once you understand what you want your company name to convey, you should set aside some time to brainstorm to come up with names for your new business. Think about words that describe your industry or the products/services you offer. Think about words that describe your competitors and words that describe the differences between your products and services and those of your competitors. Also, consider words that describe the benefits of using your products or services. Finally, think about words (and phrases) that evoke the feelings you want your customers to feel when they see your company name.
Here’s a handy ideas guide for many different industries like salon name ideas (and many others, including restaurant name ideas, consulting business name ideas, photography business name ideas, and much more). While brainstorming, look up Greek and Latin translations of your words – you might find new ideas from doing that exercise. Look at foreign words too.
Expect this process to take lots of time (it took us about 40+ hours to brainstorm and then another 10 to finalize names – we went through MANY possible names). Don’t forget to leverage resources, including a dictionary, thesaurus, and any other resources that you think may help.
5. Keep the name short, simple, and easy to write and remember. Also – consider acronyms of the name.
Don’t choose a name that is too long or complicated. Remember that your business name needs to be appealing to your customers. It should sound pleasant, familiar and conjure up positive emotions. It also needs to be easy to pronounce and remember.
Think about the names of companies you admire. They typically have a few things in common: their names are short, simple, easy to write, and easy to remember. (Examples: Apple, Google, Tesla, Slack).
Obscure business names are often difficult to write and even more difficult to remember. Plus, obscure names typically make it harder to create a company logo design for your business.
This is a problem because, for most startups and small businesses, word-of-mouth advertising is the most successful form of marketing. If your customers can’t remember your name or can’t spell it for others, it will make it difficult for them to help promote your business.
6. Don’t copy your competitors
Avoid choosing a name too similar to other businesses in your industry. It can mean appearing to be unoriginal, which is not good for your brand image. It can also mean potential customers confuse your business with your competition making it more difficult to get repeat work.
7. Avoid using your own name
Unless you are an established brand, avoid using your own name. Your name doesn’t communicate anything about your business and won’t mean much to potential customers. This may even cause problems if you ever want to sell your business in future or even if you wish to expand.
There are some rare examples however where integrating the owner’s name within the brand name can work well. Examples are – Automattic (named after its founder Matt) and PageRank (named after Google co-founder Larry Page). That said, PageRank is not a business name per se, it’s an algorithm.
8. Choose a name that’s scalable, Avoid names that are too narrow or too literal.
Pick a name that can expand your business. If you sell just books, you might one day sell stationery products or accessories too. If your service is based on a certain area, you might extend to other cities. So, select a broad name that can encompass your future growth. Example- ITC- International Tobbaco Company
9. Be careful with geographic names.
Some people use their city, state, or region as part of their company name. If you plan only to work in your city, then this might serve you well. But a geographic name could hinder you later. One great example is Minnesota Manufacturing and Mining. Initially, the name worked because the business was focused on Minnesota. But once the company grew beyond their industry and the state of Minnesota, they needed to find a new name – 3M.
10. Avoid obscure words.
Company names that help tell stories can be powerful and memorable (think about Google, for example). But obscure words or references might be difficult to spell or pronounce. Be especially sensitive if you’re trying to reach a mass audience (such as on the Internet).
Obscure or invented names can work – Xerox is a great example – but this often requires a huge marketing budget and tremendous effort.
11. Make sure you have a related domain
Once you’ve narrowed down your name options, you have to make sure the name you want to use is available. Check if the name is already registered as a trademark or acquired by another business. If you’re planning on having an online presence, which you definitely should, you’ll want to make sure the desired domain is available by doing a domain name check.
A domain name can impact your online visibility and influences your marketing efforts as well. That said, you shouldn’t necessarily abandon a good business name just because an exact domain is not available. Here are a couple of things that you can do instead-
- If it’s a parked domain, consider buying it. It’s probably going to cost you, but a search-friendly, memorable domain is worth it.
- Add modifiers to the name. Say your company name is Sleepytime and you sell pyjamas, but sleeptime.com is already taken. Then you can look for domain names like sleeptimeonline.com or sleeptimepyjamas.com.
- Be creative with domain selection. Nowadays, businesses use different top-level domains to make their URLs more memorable. For example, the blogging platform Postachio chose postach.io as their domain. They chose a ccTLD (.io) which is naturally a part of their business name. Another well-known example is del.icio.us
Choosing a name can be challenging when you’re setting out to start a business, but not something to agonise over! Remember to get opinions and ideas from friends, family or even potential customers. It’s always a good idea to get a few different points of view.
A business name is only your first step towards building a brand. Though it’ll give your business a good first impression, it’s up to you to meet the customer expectations and bring your business to success.