The name of a business lays a foundation for it. That’s why the naming process is so important. But it’s not always easy. These 10 Do’s and Don’ts to finding the best business name ideas will help you tackle every obstacle that may come your way in the naming process and get your name game on.
The Story Behind the Name “Spanx”
Sara Blakely, the founder of “Spanx”, spent a year and a half on bad names. That’s until she turned to some of the most recognised brand names in the world for inspiration.
After much trying, testing and asking – she landed up with “Spanx” from the word spanks – changing the “ks” to an “x.” To date, Spanx is one of the most recognisable names in the shapewear industry and valued at 400 million US dollars.
What can we take away from her story? For Sara, the process was long and gruelling. Nevertheless, the name is fitting and answers all that her business name should for her idea.
We rounded up a list of the 10 best do’s and don’ts to finding the best business name ideas. Read on!
Do – Start with your story
Your name should tell your story. Keep in mind that your name will live on every brand communication – from business cards to the website and promotional material. So start by considering what you’re trying to convey with your name – from your purpose to your offering.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What makes you different?
- What unique challenges have you overcome?
- How does your perspective on the world differ from others?
- What value can you provide?
Do – Stick to simple
Keep your name short and simple. It should be easy to read and easy to recall. If your name isn’t simple enough to remember, it may be tough to get word of mouth circling. So, think simple, punchy and catchy.
According to A Hundred Monkeys Creative Director and author of “Don’t Call it That” – Eli Altman, creativity is only a small portion of coming up with a name. It’s how your name works and fits into the bigger picture of your brand that plays a more significant role. A great name needs to work both creatively and strategically. Here’s what you need to consider when brainstorming your name:
Creatively: How does it sound? Is there a clever play on words? Is it memorable?
Strategically: Will your audience understand it? Does it make sense? Is it available?
Do – Say your name out loud
As you go through your naming journey, you’ll learn an important lesson. A name that looks amazing on paper, doesn’t always work when it passes your lips.
Your name must be easy to pronounce. You’ll want it to be clear enough for your customers to easily understand what you do, especially as a small business. If it’s easy to read, write and pronounce, it’ll be easier to remember. A name with a nice ring to it has a higher chance of being remembered. So, say it out loud.
Do – Your research
It’s best practice to ensure that your name is original and will work in the industry you’re entering. Only then can you claim the name by filing for a trademark. Doing so, will protect your unique business identity from being copied by anyone else.
Sometimes even the most original sounding name may actually not be as original as you think. So, make sure that the name you choose isn’t already taken.
How do you check business name availability? A simple search on Govchain or a name search on social media will help. Scroll through the search results to see if there’s another business out there with your name. If there is and they already have a presence, then it’s back to the drawing board.
Do – Take Your Time
Ask any parent, finding the right name is hard. The process can be long and even a bit frustrating, but in the end, it’s worth it. Especially when 71% of consumers make a purchase based on a brand’s name. So, don’t rush yourself. Take that extra time to think about your name – the sound, the meaning and the recallability.
Don’t – Limit yourself
When brainstorming your name, consider how your business may evolve and grow over time. You want to ensure that the company name can grow with you, and that it doesn’t box you into one category should you want to branch out at a later stage.
To avoid doing so, don’t be overly obvious with your product or service. Rather go for broad associations of your business. For instance, if you’re opening a bakery think of associations to bread – for example warm, fresh, etc.
Don’t – Play it too safe
Or you’ll end up sorry when you realise that your name doesn’t present any uniqueness to that of your competitors. Think outside the box. Be prepared to go back to the drawing board as many times as it takes until the name you have ticks all the boxes.
“The whole point is to stand out from the crowd. But these days we’re so afraid of making a mistake that we market-test creative, cool, and fun names to death. They all end up sounding the same.”
— Danny Altman in Fast Company
Don’t – Overcomplicate it
It may be tempting to come up with a completely new word for your business. But, unless it’s really easy to remember, spell and pronounce, best to tread with caution. Find the sweet spot between descriptive, safe and literal. Most importantly, keep your name simple.
Don’t – Involve everyone in the process
Alec Issigonis designed the first Mini, which soon became the most loved car of all time. He believed in the importance of collaboration. However, including too many different opinions into a single project was ineffective.
The vision Alec had for the mini was a small, economical car. And he wasn’t willing to compromise on his vision by having too many voices in the project. So, on his own, he designed the Mini. Alec coined the phrase to illustrate that while collaboration can be essential, it doesn’t necessarily mean all roles should be equally weighted.
Why? Involving too many people will most likely end in one-of-two ways – not reaching a final agreement or compromising and ending up with a very safe, too literal name. A better method would be to involve key decision-makers of the business.
Don’t – Settle.
Don’t go for a generic name that won’t leave a lasting first impression on your customers. Your name is the first thing your potential customers see (and hear), so let it reflect your brand personality and character. Let your name entice people, and your work speak for itself. When you finally have your name, go ahead and reserve it. Here’s a step-by-step guide to name reservation.
With all that in mind, remember that a great name for your business exists. You just have to discover it. You’ve read this far, and that’s a step in the right direction. Now, take the next step. Go ahead, name and conquer.
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