Finding the right name for your startup has a significant impact on your success in the marketplace. Hard to spell or pronounce names can leave your potential customers confused about what it is you do and how to find you online. In contrast, a clear, and powerful name can be extremely helpful in your marketing and branding efforts.
Think of it this way, before you were born, your parents spent a great amount of time and energy thinking about your name. Why? Because they new that it was going to be one of the first things you were going to say to people when introducing yourself, for the rest of your life.
Same idea applies to your startup or solopreneurship. Choosing a name is an important step for you as a business owner, and it’s the first major decision that you're going to make. So how do you come up with a great name?
I’ve six tips to share with you, to get you going.
#1 To Be – Or Not to Be – The Brand
This decision alone can make or break you, so this decision should not be taken lightly. You need to decide if you are going to be the brand, or if you are going to have a brand name? If you’re offering coaching, consulting, or creative services, then perhaps your name and face will the best representation. If you have physical, and digital products to sell, as well as services that consumers can buy from you, then perhaps setting up as a company is your best bet.
Either way, you will be the face of the company and your name will be the representation of your place in the marketspace. Picking a strong name will make it easier for you to build rapport, trust, loyalty and income from your customers.
#2 Get Inspired
Are there certain brands that you follow or are devoted to in your life? Perhaps you are an iPhone user and refuse to use anything else? Maybe you only drink Coca-Cola and think Pepsi sucks?
Make a short list of 5-10 of your favorite brands. Ask yourself what is it about those brand names that appeals to you? Jot down three to four points per brand and then take the qualities you would most like to see in your business and apply them. This process will get those creative vibes going and make it easier for you to come up with that perfect name.
#3 Be Clear and Direct
Your name can be an asset or a liability for your brand. If your company’s name doesn’t clearly describe the products or services that you offer, then you will need a tag line or descriptive phrase to hook your customers.
A tagline or descriptor is basically a short phrase that accompanies your brand name. It’s used to quickly translate your business’s positioning and brand identity into a single line that customers can relate to.
Some popular business taglines include:
Nike – “Just Do It”
Apple – “Think Different”
KFC – “It’s Finger Lickin’ Good”
Taglines should be memorable, short, highlight key benefits, and generate buzz about your business. They are meant to provide consumers with an indication of your brand or business, and its market position in just a few simple words.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect name for your startup, now it’s time to see if the name is available. Hit sites like Google and GoDaddy to type in your new name and see if it comes back with any search results. It’s a bummer to come up with the perfect name only to find that it’s already in use or already taken.
Names are usually registered on a first come, first served basis. A company that had already registered a name has no obligation to turn over their name, and chances are they may not want to if they’ve already invested time and money into building their brand and name recognition.
If you plan to use your personal name as your business, but it’s already taken, think of creative ways to incorporate your name. For example, if your name is Sam Smith and you own a garden business, you can name your company Sam Smith Garden Supplies or Sam Smith Garden Company. There’s a big chance a variation is available, so get creative.
#5 Register Your Doman & Social Accounts
Once you’ve picked out that perfect name, it’s time to register it and secure your domain name and social media accounts. Domain names come in a variety of flavors. Your business structure will largely dictate which level domain you register. Nonprofits usually register .org, Commercial companies usually register .com or .net. There is a large number of choices out there. Just keep in mind that the goal here is to make it easy for your customers to find you online.
Your Social Media accounts should be easy to find as well. Avoid long and confusing names. Expert Influencer Academy is a lot easier to remember than Expert Influencer Academy 12456. The simpler the better. Again, this is a great time to try different variations of your name, make sure you get one that best represents your company.
Try to keep the same handle or name across all your social media platforms. You don’t want your potential prospects to have to memorize a lot of complicated name combinations if they don’t have to.
#6 Ask for Feedback
Once all the legwork is complete and you’ve found your business name, checked the availability of your domain and social networks, now it’s time to get feedback from your inner circle. Ask your close friends if the name you chose stirs emotions, has clarity and uniquely represents your business idea. Take notes and adjust as needed.
The important thing here is, don’t rush the process. Your name will represent you and your vision for years to come. It’s important that you get this right.
Charles Watson, M.B.A., T.M.
Digital Content Strategist / Founder
Connect with me on LinkedIn