The name of your business is your calling card. It’s a first impression—and a lasting one. It affects not only how potential clients view you, but also whether or not they hire you in the first place. That’s why it’s so important to take naming your business seriously.
Here’s what naming experts recommend when choosing a name for your business.
1. Make it memorable.
The name of your company should be something that sticks in people’s brains. Focus less on being clever, and more on finding a name people will remember. It doesn’t have to describe exactly what your business is (though, of course, that’s always an option), but should at least represent the values and spirit behind it.
It should also be:
- Easy to spell
- Easy to pronounce
- Pleasant to say out loud
If people can’t pronounce it, they won’t say it, which means you’ll lose valuable word-of-mouth referrals.
2. Keep it simple.
People have a hard time remembering names that are long and complicated, so keep your name short and sweet. That will also help when it comes to the domain name for your website, as well as social media handles, which often have character limits. Also keep in mind that businesses are often listed alphabetically, so while you can still name you company Zeus Lighting & Electric if that’s what you’re set on, it may mean you are seen last.
3. Don’t pigeonhole yourself or your company.
If you know you’re only ever going to sell candles in Cape Code, then sure, call your company Cape Cod Candles. But if you’re thinking you’d like to expand to new products or markets down the line, you’ll want to use something less limiting. This also pertains to using your personal name; if your company is called Leo’s Landscaping, customers might feel like they’re not getting what they paid for if you send someone other than yourself to do the job.
4. Provide a clue.
If you’re not saying exactly what you offer in your businesses’ name, be sure to at least come up with a name that provides information about the services you provide, like Snapseat (a successful photo booth operator on Thumbtack) or Nikki Can Cook (a thriving personal chef).
5. Don’t be too blunt.
You want people to know what your business is about, but you also want it to seem like you put thought and time into coming up with the name. It may be easy to name your wedding photography business Chicago Wedding Photography, but it’s not distinctive, and it doesn’t provide a memorable first impression.
6. Get inspiration from your competitors, or at least know what they’re up to.
Look at what other people in your industry have named their businesses to see what you like and don’t like. If there are business names that you love, but that are in a totally different industry, see if using a similar formula would work.
7. Workshop it.
Ask potential clients and customers what they think about the name. Is it catchy? Can they spell it without seeing it written down? Does it convey what your business is? Avoid asking close friends and family who may already know too much about the business, as they won’t be able to give an objective opinion.
8. Trust your instincts.
If you come up with a name you love, go for it. You know what best reflects your business and the services you offer—especially if it checks out in all these other areas.
9. Make sure it’s available.
Once you come up with the perfect name, you’ll need to make sure that the website is available. Your company name should be your website domain name with the .com suffix. If that’s not available, find a new name rather than settle for .net or .biz.
Use Namechk to see if you’re the name you want is available. Namechk can also check social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to see if the name is available. Finally, if you’re going big, check to be sure you’re not violating another company’s trademark (you can use this database).
Above all, have some fun and take some time to make a decision. After all, you’re going to be saying it a lot, so you want to love it.