What’s in a name? Well, quite a lot actually. Once you’ve decided to set up a business, deciding what to call it is usually one of the first things to do. Thinking of a name though isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially if a few of you are starting up together - getting a name that everyone likes and agrees on can be a feat in itself. There may not necessarily be any strict guidelines on how to do this, but we’ve put together a few basic tips to help you decide on your business moniker! (how to name your business!)
Decide what you want it to say Some people choose business names that are pretty self explanatory about what they do whilst others prefer more abstract names that have nothing at all to do with the business itself. Decide from the off what you want to convey. Choosing a more abstract name can be a brave move, especially for a startup but can also help it stand out amongst its’ competitors. Using a series of initials might have once been the norm, but is quite passé these days. Also, think of the bigger picture and the branding and marketing you will have to do. Does your chosen name help or hinder with that?
Pick something memorable Try and choose a name that is unique and doesn’t sound like at least 50 other businesses out there, especially if they are in the same business sector. Pick a name that is memorable and not easily confused with another business name. Also, it’s pretty popular to combine words to create a name and in a sense an entirely new word - YouTube and Facebook are prime examples of this. Also ask family and friends on their views - especially the more blatantly honest ones.
Use a name generator If you’ve exhausted all your own ideas, it may be worthwhile using one of the free online tools that can help generate a name for you. The patient brainstorming partner that is Panabee can help - simply enter a couple of words and it will make lots of suggestions and variations on the words for you. Dot-o-mator is another option which lets you enter a word and choose one of their suggested endings, again providing you with lots of options you may never have thought of.
Think of your market If you are planning on world domination, it’s pretty essential to do a bit of research about what your name could mean in other places in the world. Try and choose a name that can be universally accepted and also one that isn’t already an established name in another country. Checking existing trademarks is essential too!
Do a Google search A quick search on Google should help you determine pretty quickly whether or not your name is a good one. Apart from letting you know what other businesses already exist with your favoured name, it can also tell you how your name may be misspelled and hence confused by potential customers and clients. If your name doesn’t appear to generate very many results on Google, that can be a good thing since it can mean you have more chance of standing out and your SEO could improve as a result. Also use tools like namechk to see if your preferred name is still available across the main social networks. If not, back to the drawing board...
Use a thesaurus If you have a particular word in mind but feel that it is perhaps over-used or just not quite right, you can always resort to your old trusty thesaurus and find a whole host of synonyms that may be more apt. Make sure that the word or words you choose have positive connotations though!
Say it out loud It’s all very well seeing your business name written down but if it doesn’t sound right when you say it out loud, chances are it’s not that good. If you say it to someone and they continually ask you to repeat it, mis-hear what you say or mispronounce it, it’s perhaps time to re-think and choose a new name.
Standing the test of time Choosing a name that is too ‘of the moment’ can be a big mistake. Whilst it may seem like a great way to capitalize on current trends and hence maximize impact, in the long term it is unlikely to do this. It could ‘date’ your business and end up being a millstone round your neck. Many startups have gone the way of dropping vowels in their names in a bid to have a more unique name, but really because the name they may have actually wanted has gone. Flickr may have been successful but that doesn’t mean your business will. Choose something that can’t really be linked to a certain time or date.
Check if the domain name is available You may have a good business name, but then find out that the respective domain (website) name has been taken and is being used by a few different companies already. Worth checking out and www.123-reg.co.uk would be a good place to start in both checking and buying your domain name.
Basic tips perhaps but essential all the same. What about you though? Got any great tips for how to name your business? Why not share them with us over at the forum..
Mi-IDEA Manchester looks for disruptive startups
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