Tips on Creating a Great Business Name
You’ve got a great product/concept/service to share with the world. You’re ready to jump in with both feet. You want to get out there and make your first impressions count. So what are you going to call your business?
Those who’ve grown up with an unfortunate nickname can tell you that a name should not be given lightly. A great deal of thought should be placed into this permanent attribute of your upstarting business, with consideration to how people will understand your name, if it is memorable, if it says what you want it to about your business, and if it is associated with anything negative that you were unaware of.
Here are some tips to help you through your name-making journey:
- Make Sure it Makes Sense: Just because your favorite color is pink and you really like dogs doesn’t mean you should name your carpet cleaning business “Pink Puppy”. The name should relate directly to the business at hand. This may seem obvious, but all too often, people get caught up in a “great idea” that grows into something unrelated. This is especially easy to do when a business owner has gotten so deep into the logistics that the obviously nonsensical things tend to make sense to them. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the carpet cleaning business in Stratford, Connecticut to include some of the following words: carpet, rug, Stratford, Connecticut, Tri-state?
To avoid this mistake, start the naming process with a word brainstorm. Think of nouns, verbs, and adjectives that relate to what you are going to be offering or the experience you want your customer to have. Branch out into new words using an online thesaurus, such as Thesaurus.com or Wordnik.com to generate synonyms that inspire you.
- Dare to be Kitschy. Even the most straight-forward and professional of business services and companies can usually stand to get a little kitschy. As a consumer, are you more likely to remember the store that is called something incredibly bland and generic? You don’t have to have an incredibly corny name to make your way into customers’ memories, but having a name that’s memorable enough to be searched for later is vital. A simple example is the “Men’s Wearhouse” chain. The play on warehouse vs. “wearhouse” may be kitschy, but is certainly memorable.
One other kitschy creation that’ll keep your audience coming back for more is the use of rhyming words. While they’re usually rooted in the true mission or order of business, the final outcome of rhyming words in a business name has had notoriously famous effects. Think about 7-Eleven. The origination of the name was rooted in its (then) obscure hours, but the way the name of the company rolls of the tongue was sure to leave an impact, and it’s certainly done so for decades!
- Be Truly You: You’ve heard it since you were young, right? Be you. Be unique. Be an individual. The same thing applies when you’re talking about your business. You don’t want to be mistaken for being someone else (just like you don’t want someone else to be mistaken for being you). Make sure you check your name of choice is available as a URL, and on all the major social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and YouTube. If you sell pizza in Milford, you may not want to name yourself “Best Pizza”, because there are likely hundreds of “Best Pizza” restaurants in the US, and the name is almost certainly taken online and on most social media websites.
- Take a Test Drive: What are your friends for if they’re not good for honesty, right? Run your name of choice by them, and ask them for honest, true feedback. Talk to your neighbors, frenemies and even random people on the street or at the local pub. It may take a little pounding off the pavement, but the more test-driving you put into your new name, the more miles you’re likely to get out of it when you hit the road. You may have not noticed that “Kelsey’s Clean Organics” is hard to spell, or that “Cubby Clothing” rhymes with “Chubby Clothing”, but your friends will.
And the final test? Would you feel comfortable to say it, wear it, and hand out products with your new name on it? If so, great! Get ready to start the new adventure with a new, first-impression-worthy name!