One of the most important choices you have as an entrepreneur is what to name your company. As you begin a new startup, you have to weed through thousands of name possibilities. The logo, title, and name of your enterprise can significantly impact the success and trustability of your company even before you open the doors for business.
Choosing poorly can result in a great deal of regret and possibly even years of legal battles. So, how do you find a powerful and sharp name that carries a clear image and will easily help you market your brand? Here are five important tips you can use when considering which name to choose for your new business.
1. Don’t limit your success
Imagine walking into a store called Wipe-It-Away and finding nothing but school supplies for children. Now, that wouldn’t make any sense. Instead, imagine that name covering high-end towels and bedding, cleaning supplies, or specialty floor mats. The name needs to make the consumers curious about what the store includes and creating a pun-type name can backfire on the business.
The same is true for pigeon-holing your startup with a name such as Times-R-Us. You would expect something in the store dealing with time or related to time in some way. If that business sold fabrics and sewing machines, it would make no sense at all and be difficult for the consumer to remember instinctively.
2. Do a thorough name search
Once you have narrowed your search down to a few names, it is time to begin looking for that name in your state registry and on the internet. Consider finding a name with a ‘.com’ signifier because consumers associate the ‘.com’ names with authority.
If you find someone has secured the name but is not using it, why not request they sell the domain name rights to you? If you are still having trouble locating a name you can live with, try a service such as NameRobot name generators. You would be surprised at the number of ideas a generator can come up with that you simply overlooked or that never occurred to you.
3. Conduct a small market research
You might laugh at this tip, but it is an important step in choosing what could be a name that makes or breaks your new startup. Ask family members, long-time friends, and anyone else you trust with the secret you are starting a new business. If you can find four or five names, have each person rank their preference.
At the end of your small market research, you may find one name everyone loves, or you may scratch your head and wonder why not one person can see the obvious that you do about which name is perfect. That is the mystery of marketing to consumers!
4. Check foreign language implications
Once you have settled on one of two names, it is time to check foreign language implications. You may believe your name is unusual and choose something from old Latin, but it could backfire on you. While ‘avem’ means bird in Latin, it also means ‘we have’ in Portuguese.
Also, be wary if you are trying to be clever like a major car manufacturer did when they called an auto line ‘Nova’ because they discovered a problem – the research team was not thorough and the name meant ‘doesn’t run’ in Spanish. If you find yourself back at the beginning, start over with a smart business name generator.
5. Say it over and over
Once you have a name you are happy with, misspell it, sound it out wrong, and say it repeatedly until you are sick of hearing it. If the name doesn’t spell easily, isn’t sounded out simply, or difficult to say, you have a problem. An example is the simple word ‘fairy’ or ‘faerie’ or ‘faeree.’
The more clever you try to make a name, the more difficult it may be for the average consumer to locate you when typing a common term online. Another example is T-shirt and Tee shirt. If the consumer types it in one way, chances are they won’t find you if you list it the other way.
Now you have a name, and you are ready to begin the actual business of getting your startup off the ground. Congratulations!