What’s in a name? When it comes to naming your new business, quite a lot, actually. Choosing your company's moniker is one of the most important decisions you'll make when you start a new business, as it’s the first thing that needs to sum up everything your company is about. That’s because, for better or for worse, your business name creates a first impression.
Think of it as a first handshake; it can say a lot about the person before you even get to know them. So where do you begin? Talk to some business marketing experts and they’ll say that names should be informative so customers know immediately what your business is. Some believe that overly-descriptive names are destined for failure. Others think names that are too generic will become background noise. And all of these rules aren’t even considering any competitor research or potential trademark issues.
In other words, a lot goes into searching for and choosing the perfect business name. Fortunately, there are a handful of steps you can follow—from the early research phase to the final decision-making phase—to make sure you’ve done your due diligence and landed on a name that’s just as cool as the business itself. If you’re ready to launch your new business name, follow these simple steps.
Step 1) Go Back to The Basics: Ask Yourself What Your Business is All About
Start by deciding what you want your name to communicate. It should reinforce the key elements of your business. The best way to start this process is by reviewing the very foundation your business was built on. For example, consider your mission statement, your business plan and the unique value you bring to your industry (aka the product you’re so passionate about). Think about your target audience, too. Who did you envision serving your product to from day one?
Once you take a deep look into your business, ask yourself these two important questions:
- What do you want people to think and feel when they see your business name?
- And if your company or product name could only convey one thing, what would it be? That should be your jumping off point.
Step 2) Now It’s Time To Get Creative
Here’s the fun part. You did some soul searching and have a clear vision for your business. Now, it’s time to introduce some creativity. The more free-thinking you can be during this stage, the more ideas you will generate, and the more possibilities you will have to choose from. You may want to conduct a series of brainstorming sessions to come up with as many business name ideas as possible. There are also a lot of name generators available that can give you a helping hand, too.
If you’re feeling stuck, consider a few of these tried-and-true creative brainstorming strategies to land on the perfect name:
Create A Mood Board To Discover Your Business’ Identity
For the more visual creatives, a mood board can help you capture the true personality of your business without ever having to say anything. How is this helpful? Knowing the exact vibe you want your business to exude is a great precursor to zeroing in on the right name. You can easily create a mood board on Pinterest—just start searching for images or quotes that accurately represent your business!
Write Down Every Single Idea You Have
Sometimes those off the cuff, no holds barred brainstorming sessions can be the best way to unlock the next great idea. Why? Because the best ideas come when there are no restrictions or guidelines. Give yourself (or your team) a specific amount of time to rattle off any and all uncensored thoughts that might have anything to do with your business. Write everything down, take a breather, and then come back to revisit what you came up with. Keep the ones that feel right (your gut instinct is everything here), and don’t be afraid to let go of the ones that just don’t work.
Have Fun With Words
Once you have your mood established and a curated list of potential words, think about unique, new ways you can represent them. Try alternate ways to spell them, like removing vowels, to make them more unique but still understandable (it worked for Tumblr and Toggl). A thesaurus is another tried and true brainstorming tool that you may have never thought of. Pick your favorite words from your list and consider their alternatives. This might kick your creative brainstorm up a notch and help you make a good idea even better.
Still stuck? Don’t forget foreign languages. If you have an idea of the word or phrase you want, but it’s lacking a certain je ne sais quoi, consider translating it into your favorite foreign language. Just make sure it’s easy to pronounce!
Step 3) Do A Gut Check
Do you have a name that you totally love? Now it’s time to do a quick gut check to make sure you’re on the right track. You can easily do this by asking yourself a few simple questions.
- Does this name match the formality of the business I’m starting?
- Is the name too hard to pronounce?
- Is the name too long?
- Can the average person easily spell the name?
- Are there any unfortunate double meanings of this name?
- Will everyone else understand my brand name? Or is it too narrow of a pun?
Step 4) Do A Search To Make Sure Your Business Name Isn’t Already Taken
This is a big, if not the most important, step in naming your business. If a state finds that the name you intend to use has already been claimed, misleads customers, or doesn’t follow their state-specific naming guidelines, they will reject your incorporation documents.
For example, all states require that your name not be deceptively similar to any other business or organization on record. Registered trademarks are typically off limits as well. Some states also have explicit restrictions on the use of terms common to certain industries (this typically covers financial businesses).
Before you officially decide on your business name, you'll want to check to make sure it's not already trademarked or that you’re not infringing on someone else’s copyright. If someone does have a name similar to the one you like, consider another option.
You can quickly and easily conduct an online business name search to protect yourself and your business down the road.
Are You Ready To Choose Your New Business Name? Swyft Can Help!
For more information on naming restrictions in your state, or states in which you are considering forming your new business, please contact us today!