You’re stressed about finding the perfect name for your business.
And you can’t move on until you settle on one.
Understanding some basics about business names will help you find the right name for your business.
There are two parts to a business name. The name and the tagline.
The name is what people recognize and refer to it. The tagline is the phrase under the name that clarifies what you do. When you’re looking for a business name there are two ways to approach it. Either try to find a name that is made-up and unique, or use a name that is descriptive of the business.
Made-up names generally are short and easy to remember. Examples include Google, Amazon, Udemy, Zappos, Xerox and others. These are large, successful companies that have become household names. When they were first started, did anybody know who they were or what they did? It took time, and a large marketing budget to become known.
If you use a made up name, will you have the money to promote it to become recognizable, or will it remain obscure? Which brings us to picking a name that’s functional.
A good descriptive name identifies, in a few words, what your business does. This by far is the more often used method. Examples here include Fresh Flowers, The Laundress, Gardener’s Supply, and International Living. While you may not know exactly what they offer, you get a good sense of the topic. This is the preferred method. A combination of normal words that are both interesting and informative, but not too specific.The specifics are left to a tagline.
Some businesses and blogs use a tagline to further define their business.
With Healing the Body, it’s clear that the website is about health, they add a tagline Don’t Just Survive Thrive to encourage you to take health seriously. In the example of A Scholarly Skater, the name is intriguing, but vague. The owner adds the tagline, Gliding through the world of art., making it clear that the focus of the site is art.
This is the benefit of a tagline. It helps give definition to the name and reinforces what you do.
The beauty of the tagline is that it’s easy to change. Unlike the name which is reflected in the domain you purchased, the tagline requires no re-registration or additional expense. Instead, you need to change the header.
How to find your business name
Let’s look at some ways to come up with names.
Brainstorming. You know your business best. Sit down with a pad and pen and start listing everything you can think of. Try to go for 30 or 40 names. You will find that you repeat the same names with slight variation, the longer you try the more creative you will become.
Expand your search. Take the topic or keyword of your business and put in into a thesaurus and see what alternate words come up. They may offer interesting possibilities. Use websites that combine and expand your keywords and synonyms. Try Bust a Name or Shopify which has a tool called the Business Name Generator, Both of them will create alternative potential names.
Try various combinations. Stay open to the results of these websites. Potential possibilities will show up, and some will have just the right feel you’re looking for.
Take what should be a long list and cut it down to your favorite 15. Assuming this is an online business, you need to make sure the domain name is available. Many common names are taken, particularly for the .com extension. Look them up in any of the domain registration software. There are many such sites. Namecheap and GoDaddy which will do a domain search and show if the name can be purchased. If it’s not available as a .com, it will list what extensions are available.
Eight things to avoid when choosing a name
- Don’t spell it funny- people will search for it using the normal spelling and be frustrated when they can’t find it.
- Make sure it doesn’t spell an inappropriate word when shortened or made into initials
- Name the business after yourself, unless you’re an artist, writer, coach or professional. It will be hard to sell later.
- Don’t use initials. It’s too vague unless you’re IBM or UPS.
- Don’t make it too long. It’s hard to remember and it discourages people from typing it into their browser.
- Don’t be too specific. You may want to expand your offerings in the future and the name is restrictive
- Don’t copy a popular name and add a slight word change. It will cause confusion and people may never get to your website.
- Don’t be so generic and wishy-washy that the name has no impact. An example would be Global Solutions or Consolidate Consulting.
You can see that finding the right name is not that difficult, if you follow the steps laid out here. A little time and research should yield an effective name for your business.
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