Posted by : Amanda Stein Sunday, June 10, 2012
Deciding on a name for your business can be a difficult challenge. From a marketing standpoint here are 10 points that you should keep in mind:
Keep it Short
This will help when you go through the process of selecting your website URL, social media user accounts and business cards. Your customers will have a better chance of remembering your business name if you keep it short. If you need to have additional wording to help a person better understand your business message, make sure that you have selected a strong focal word to use as the focal point of your logo.
Take for instance this business that stopped operating in 1924, "Southern Ohio Amalgamated Steam Traction Engine and Boiler Manufacturing Company." Try making that into a logo.
Don't be Confusing
Keep it simple. In the example that I gave above, you will see the confusion that it gives to the consumer. If your business covers a broad number of services and products DO NOT try to explain them all! Broaden the name. UPS is known for shipping, but the UPS Stores have a variety of other services and products other than just shipping a package: copying, shredding, moving materials and even P.O. Box-style boxes. The UPS Store is a broad but simple name that by it's very name indicates something more than shipping.
Give Your Business Name a Good Feeling
This can be a little tricky. Not everyone comes from the same background or feels the same way about certain experiences. You want to give people a 'trusting feeling' about your business name. Do not choose a business name that could be used in an inappropriate way or a name that could end up offending your potential customers. You could end up on a list like this: http://www.businesspundit.com/46-businesses-with-hilariously-bad-names/
You want to find a name that is unique and will not be confused with someone else. When you begin to claim domain and user names you will want to have a name that no one else has so that it is easier for your customers to find you. This is a point where in the future you could lose all credibility and trust from your customers. If there is even one claim made against you stating that you copied someone else's prior creation, it could discredit everything that you have worked so hard to build.
Test it Out
Once you've found a few names that you like, find a small group of people that you trust to give you their thoughts. You will want to make sure that you have a fresh set of eyes. See if they like the concept and hear what kind of questions that they have to ask. If you can, don't tell them what kind of business you are starting. See if they can figure it out on their own.
Will your customer walk away and remember your name? If you think there is a possibility that your name is going to fade off into the background, you may need to take a second look at your idea. Your business's name is how you will be remembered.
Easy to Spell
Sound it out. If your name is something new and it doesn't sound the same way that is spelled, you could have a problem. Word-of-mouth (your best type of advertising) is passed on through speech. It is likely that a customers will be searching for you without ever seeing any written form of your name.
Make it Relate
The best business names are those that relate to the product or service that you are trying to sell. Here is a great link to a list of businesses and how their names relate to their mission: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_company_name_etymologies
This also gives you a better story about the reasoning behind your name. You will be asked that a lot.
Easy to Say
If a person can't properly say your name, there is a pretty good chance that he/she will not be sharing the name with someone else. Make it easy. This goes along with making it easy to spell...Make your name sound like it looks.
Make it Catchy
I have a horrible memory, but there are certain business names that I will remember from the very first time I hear them. Why? Because they stick like glue in my brain. You need a business name like that. Something that a person will remember days after they hear it. How do you know if you've found that? Test it out. Mention the name once in the conversation. Don't emphasis it. Just add it in the natural flow of conversation. Ask the person a few days later if they remember the name. Test this out more than once. If your friends and colleagues remember it; there is a great chance that your customers will, too.
Just remember that this list is just how you should look at your business name in the marketing sense. There are many different factors to consider when setting up your business; which include, state laws and procedures. You will need to take a closer look into that information before you decide on a logo and print materials for your business. NEVER invest money into a name if you have not completed all of the necessary documentation!
If you have other tips and suggestions for a great business name, please leave your comments and suggestions below: