If your business is to thrive, then its name requires serious consideration. Business experts unanimously agree that coming up with a name is the most important part of the brand development process. Your company’s name is the first thing that people will see on your website, shopfront, or in adverts. It will define your brand.
In addition to defining your brand, a well thought out name can also attract customers. Names that are catchy or unique can effectively capture your audience’s attention. Unfortunately, thinking of a unique name for one’s business is notoriously difficult.
This article will offer some expert tips for creating the perfect company name:
A complex name can make it difficult for potential customers to find your website. This is especially true if you aren’t ranked highly in Google’s search results. For this reason, you should avoid complex names. If your business’s name is a single word, stick to a word with four syllables. If it has two, then four syllables in each word will work well. Anything more than that is too much and can be confusing for customers. While having a shorter name won’t have any bearing on your ranking, it will make it easier for customers to track you down.
Don’t limit your business’s growth before it has even started by picking too specific a name. It’s generally best to avoid referencing your business’s niche or the area that you founded it in, in its name. Limiting your business to a particular product or area is a very bad idea. If you choose to start selling other products in the future or expand to other cities, a name like “Plywood from Glasgow” could limit the extent of your growth. Try to pick a name that’s not too narrow.
While you shouldn’t put too much focus on finding a name that’s catchy, at the same time you don’t want a name that’s boring. Your business should be something that’s taken seriously, so a childish name isn’t advisable. On the other hand, you don’t want your business’s name to suck the life out of everybody that says it. No, you need to find a balance between the two. How you choose to find this balance is entirely up to you. Keep your name mature, but short. The shorter and snappier the name, the catchier it will be.
When selecting a name for your business, you have the opportunity to convey a message. While short, catchy names like eBay and Gumtree are great for grabbing people’s attention, in the long run, they can damage a brand’s reputation, with customers taking them less seriously. Instead, select a name that’s direct, to the point, and meaningful. If your business is involved in the distribution of tools and hardware and your name is Paul, for example, then “Paul’s Hardware” would be a great fit. It’s not too limiting and gives you room to grow but conveys a very direct point. Customers will know exactly what they’re getting when they visit your website, shop, or phone you up.
Before you select a name, conduct a thorough search. Find a website where you can check your business name in your country. E.g. If you’re living in the UK, you can check company names in the UK here. If you go ahead and register your business using a name that somebody else uses already, you can get taken to court as we will explain in greater detail toward the end of this article. You can also confuse customers, especially if the other businesses rank higher in Google’s search results than you. Potential customers will visit your competitor’s website when looking for yours because theirs is easier to find.
You also need to avoid naming your business something that’s similar to another. This can cause a lot of confusion. If your name is too similar to another business, your customers could unintentionally visit their website when searching for yours as just mentioned in our previous point. If there are any businesses that bear similarity to yours in name and they are established in their niche, it’s best to find another name, even if the name you have chosen seems perfect in all other respects.
Make sure that your name is relevant to your business’s niche. If your name bears no similarity to it, customers who see your business’s graphic artwork may struggle to determine what your business’s purpose actually is. This is another reason to avoid silly, short names. Your business’s success actually relies very heavily on the readability of its name. If the name is too confusing, customers simply won’t associate your business with its niche. This could prevent them from visiting your website or learning more about you.
There are lots of websites that offer help with creating names. These websites include generators and thesauruses. There are also business professionals who will help you to develop a name for your business, of course for a fee. Using these websites is a great way to get unique ideas for names. If you are going to pay somebody to help you to develop your brand and business’s name, then make sure you thoroughly research them. Don’t settle on a business development professional until you are confident that they have the experience necessary to help you get your business off of the ground.
When you have developed a list of names, ask your friends and family to give you feedback on them. If possible, get feedback from your intended audience also. A good way of communicating directly with your audience is through social media. One can search for one’s audience through tags and locations. If out of the names you have presented one or two come up, again and again, remove the other names and ask for feedback about the remaining two. You can then use your gut instinct and the feedback given to make a decision.
Another way of determining whether a name’s good or not is to speak it and see how it sounds. Some names look great on paper but sound ridiculous when spoken aloud. You also need to make sure that when it’s spoken aloud, it doesn’t confuse your customers. Sometimes names, when said out loud, can be confusing to spell. You need your name to be as concise as possible. If customers can’t spell your business’s name, they might not be able to find it. This will render radio adverts and other similar forms of marketing completely useless.
Your business’s name is something that you will have to live with for a very long time, especially if it takes off and becomes successful. For that reason, it needs to be something that you are satisfied with. If you are unhappy with your business’s name then you’re going to find living with it rather uncomfortable. Even if everybody else likes a name and you don’t, you shouldn’t go with it. Ultimately, your business is like your child, so you need to be happy with everything. Your satisfaction is one of the most important things.
Even if your business is registered in the United Kingdom, it’s best to go for a “.com” domain name. This is because .com sounds and looks much better. Web-users instinctively associate .com websites with more successful businesses than they do with .co.uk, .net. or .org. If somebody already owns your website’s .com domain, which is very likely, then you can buy it from them. Buying somebody’s website if it isn’t currently in use is a very simple process. More often than not, they won’t charge you a particularly high sum.
Just to be on the safe side, it’s also worth conducting a copyright and trademark search. If there isn’t a business registered under your business’s prospective name, it’s unlikely that copyright or a trademark will be held either. Even so, you do need to check just to make sure. If it transpires that a trademark or copyright is held in your prospective business’s name, then you could be taken to court and sued. Ignorance will not be a suitable defense if taken to court, because of how easy it is to search trademarks and copyrights.
Once you have decided upon a name for your business, you can go ahead and create graphic imagery with it featured. When you’re thinking of a name, keep your business’s graphic imagery in mind. Some names are very hard to include in a logo because they are too long. Others are too short, which risks appearing mysterious. If you aren’t a trained graphic designer, then you can hire one to handle your business’s imagery for you. Make sure to read reviews, research, and network in order to find the most qualified person for the job.
If you want to start a business, then your business’s name requires a lot of thought. As this article demonstrates, there are many different things to consider. The name of your business is something you will have to live with for a long time, so give it serious consideration.
Matthew is a former journalist who now writes exclusively about economics and business. He previously wrote for several of Britain’s most recognizable newspapers and media sites.