Your business name is one of the single most important pieces to starting a business.
Because your business name has power.
It reflects your reputation, your mission, values, and represents what people (and customers) are searching for.
It impacts the way in which people remember, refer you, and perceive your business
When choosing your business name, there's a lot to think about in order to get it right - so it's important not to rush this process.
Let's take a look at everything you need to consider before deciding on a business name:
Things To Consider When Naming Your Business:
Simple is always better
This means a few different things. Your name should always be:
- Easy to spell
- Easy to pronounce
- Easy to remember
Consider avoiding long names as much as possible, as this will only lead your customers forgetting your name and feeling frustrated.
To test this point, try to think of any well-known reputable brand off the top of your head.
The first that come to mind for me are Alexa, Google, Nike, Apple - each unique in their own way (hence, easy to remember) , less than six characters and easy to spell.
Your Business Name Should Define What You Do
The name of your business should reflect a defining characteristic of what you do.
Before your customer goes to your website or speaks to you, the name of your business should spark some initial thoughts in their brain as to what you're all about.
For example, marketingexamples.com describes exactly what their company is about: providing great examples of marketing tactics.
Consider SEO When Naming Your Business
Bottom line: If you don't show up in google, you're going to make it that much more challenging for customers to find you.
There are several different aspects to think about when it comes to SEO & naming your business
- Try not to pick a business name that's crowded with other businesses
- Consider naming your business based on highly searched keywords
- Make sure the name of your business matches search intent and what people are looking for
Think about the emotions you want to evoke
Your business name has the power to evoke certain emotions and thoughts from your customer.
It has the ability to evoke a positive or a negative feeling. An inclusive or an exclusive feeling. A fearful or a loving feeling.
It's not to say that any of these feelings are wrong, but it's important to ensure that they are in line with your values and mission.
For example, the brand Death's Door makes me feel a bit risky and uncertain - but that's the point. They're selling Gin.
Try Not To Pick Something Too Limiting
Your business name should be fitting for the future and growth of your business, that way you don't have to confront a re-brand down the road.
If you choose something too narrow, it may be challenging to diversify your product and revenue streams down the road.
Here are some tips to avoid making this mistake:
- Try not to name the business after a particular geographical area (this makes it hard to grow in other areas)
- Try not to name the business after only one product you sell
- Try not to name something based on a current trend
Brainstorming Names For Your Business
If you're in the brainstorming phase and trying to come up with a business name, there are a few key things to think about in order to get the juices flowing:
- Write out a list of words that reflect your brand, personality, team etc. These should be the first things that come to your mind and you shouldn't have to think too hard about it.
- Look at the competition in the space and see if there's a common theme. Write down some keywords or phrases that resonate with you and add them to the list.
- Think about the emotion you want to evoke with your business name
- Ask yourself: If I had to describe my business in one word, what would it be?
From there, you can create a shortlist based on the words that resonate best with you and follow the naming guidelines above.
Find the domain for your business name idea
It's important to verify that the domain name is available for your business name idea.
You can search domain availability here:
Although .com names are the most common and easiest to remember, there are other options if your .com domain name is not available. Depending on your audience, it may not matter as much as you think.
It's also important to thoroughly check if social media handles are available.
As soon as you resonate with a name (or names), secure the domain and SM handles as soon as possible to ensure they don't get taken.
Examples of Great Business Names
When choosing a business name, it's critical that you look at other examples of businesses not only in your space, but business names in other industries that have done particularly well.
Here are a few examples of great business names (+ how some of these businesses came up with their name):
Competitor Analysis Example
One great way to name your business is by looking at the competition and getting inspiration.
Gia Paddock, founder of Boutique Rye analyzed other businesses in the space and added her own personal spin to her business name:
A popular national brick & mortar women’s boutique that many may have heard of is called Francesca’s… How original, right? So we came up with Boutique Rye named after our son, Riley. We put "boutique" in front to be a little different.
The name "Boutique Rye" checks the boxes for naming a business:
- Short and simple
- Easy to spell and easy to remember
- Clearly defines what the company does
- Optimized for SEO (people searching for boutiques)
- Unique and personal touch - tells a story.
Ask Other People
Sometimes, coming up with a name is as easy as asking other people, whether that be friends, family, people at a coffee shop, or in Spyq Sklar case, his own customer!
How we came up with the name Cat Sushi:
So, we put together a quick business plan and set aside some money that we were willing to risk. One of our loyal customers actually came up with the name. We still give them free cat food.
Read the full story ➡️ here
The name "Cat Sushi" checks all the boxes for naming a business:
- Memorable and funny
- Short and simple
- Obvious that they sell treats for cats
- Fun & unique story - their customer literally came up with the name of their business!
The Amazon Example
Formerly called "Cadabra", Jeff Bezos decided that the name was too obscure, hard to spell, and easy to misinterpret.
The name Amazon came from a simple dictionary search .
Jeff Bezos wanted something that started with an A, looked through a dictionary and came up with the word Amazon.
When he told his team, he didn't care for anyone else's input. He was set on it.
Here's how the word "Amazon" checks all the boxes (aside from being worth a trillion dollars):
- Represents the largest river in the world, making it very memorable
- The story and meaning of the word matches the vision of the company: To be the larger and better than any other business!
- The name allows for future growth opportunity - they didn't name something specific to just "books," even though at the time, that's what it was.
- Easy to spell, pronounce and recommend!