Choosing a business name is one of the most important, yet potentially most perplexing steps to starting your own business. The pressure is on to pick something that embodies your brand and tells people what your business is about. There is also the added element of trying to make it interesting/witty/unique/bold and all other adjectives in between.
If you are at point in your business, it can be exciting and challenging. However, starting with these tips below can help take some of the stress out of finding that great business name that stands out from the bunch.
What’s in a Name?
At this point, we assume that you have a solid idea of what your business is about, who it aims to help, and more. If this is the case – great! – now we just need to name it.
There is a lot of information to consider before choosing your name. For some, they have a business name picked out way before they even have a business model written out. For others, it doesn’t come so easily. Personally, I wrote my entire business plan draft before the name clicked. A lot of people rush through the naming stage, but we are here to help you pick a name that suits your business.
5 Tips to Choosing an Awesome Business Name
1. Ask “Why”
Ask yourself, what is your why? Do you know your mission statement and your business values? What does your business represent? Your “Why” needs to be precise and clear to anyone who reads it. This is one of the more difficult steps, but absolutely essential. Don’t be surprised if it takes a while for you to condense your whole idea into one sentence, or less.
2. Think Big
Consider the bigger picture. Don’t build a business on what you may achieve or what you know is achievable. Build your business as if it’s the next Uber. It’s innovative and changing the world. When I was at university, my lecturer told me, “Your big picture should be borderline offensive, it should be so big that people tell you it’s unachievable – Never doubt yourself, always aim high”. This little sentence makes a lot of sense – you don’t want to rebrand halfway because your color scheme doesn’t work in certain countries now you’re going global. Design with your dream in mind.
3. Consider Branding and Tone of Voice
Your branding should all be cohesive. Everything should look like it belongs to the same brand. Think same fonts, same style, same feel. Tone of voice is the brands personality – imagine having a fun, bubbly, outgoing brand with a boring name. It doesn’t match.
Let me give you an example: My business is called Co-Pilot Global. My tone of voice is, “This is your Co-Pilot Speaking”. My website constantly refers back to the name with travel jargon such as “welcome aboard”, “paging the pilot”, “check in”, and “take off”. Everything is cohesive. And before you ask – we aren’t even a travel company! We are a flexible working platform. Do you see how everything links together? No matter how big I think the whole brand still works and can still apply.
4. Ask: What Are You Offering?
While branding is important, being too branded without enough business transparency can hurt you. Ask, what are you actually offering? Unless you have a HUGE marketing budget, don’t go with a made-up name like Google. You need people to know what you’re offering in less than 2 seconds of opening your site or seeing your socials. If your name doesn’t already tell you, then use a tagline to convey this to the audience.
For instance, look at the brand Showpo. Do you know what they sell or service they offer? Nope. However, their tagline is “Your Go-To Place to Shop”. The branding is all beautiful women dressed up just like a…. you got it – ShowPony. Again, the branding links with the name but the customers know exactly what the business does.
5. Do Your Research
Learn from my mistake – I spent time and money quickly snapping up social media names to only find the business name wasn’t available on the government database.
Make sure before you knuckle down on an idea, that the business name is available, the domain name you want is available, and all your social media channels are available. If you need to trademark something, you should also check that database.
Ultimately, it costs money to set up a business and A LOT of time. Don’t buy anything until you are 100% certain it’s what you want. Stick up post-it notes all around the house with the name and if you still like it in a week, then buy!
Don’t Over-Think It, Don’t Under-Think It
Picking a name for your business may seem like the end-all-be-all when it comes to branding, and in a way it is. But, there is always the potential to adapt your brand and even business name to how your business evolves over time. Get feedback from potential customers, branding experts, and even strangers on how your chosen name fits with your brand.
Ultimately, you want to pick something that not only appeals to you, but also the people you aim to serve.
There are plenty of stories (many of them humorous) about well-known brands that have changed their names as they have grown over time. Though picking a poor business name is not a good move early on, picking a good one (albeit not the “perfect” one) likely won’t make or break your business. What matters above all else is the vision behind it, what your brand represents, and what value it provides to your customers. With this in mind, we are confident that you will choose a name that is unique to YOUR business and stands out among the rest.
Are struggling to pick the ideal name for your business? Leave your questions and ideas in the comments below!