Brainstorming session: How to name my business

Brandstorming: How to Name Your Business or Product

One of the primary goals of branding is to build value around your brand over time.

You brand differentiates you and helps you sell your products and services. In addition, by the time you’re ready to exit the business, the name itself should be worth something if you’ve done your job. The more intrinsic value your brand has, the more money you can make by selling your business or licensing it.

The brand name is just one part of the overall brand strategy, but it is an important one. Whether you are naming a startup or a product, you need to settle on a name before you can move forward with other branding and marketing tasks. You can’t very well create a logo or design a website without a name.

A good name should match the essence of your brand, help you attract the right audience, possibly convey information about your products or services, and be a primary ingredient in becoming a well-loved, unforgettable brand.

Consider this: a company with an unremarkable brand name could spend thousands of dollars on advertising, paying for billboards on the highway and buying radio ad space. But when it comes time for a potential customer to take action and contact them, some people won’t even remember what to type into Google to find them.

Think of the missed opportunities!

The less memorable the name, the more money you have to spend to drill this into people’s brains (and that’s not even to speak of the money it takes to convince them your products or services are worthwhile in the first place).

Having an awesome brand name certainly won’t guarantee any level of success, but having a bad name can actually stifle it.

Having an awesome brand name certainly won’t guarantee any level of success, but having a bad name can actually stifle it.

Ideally, your name should be the same for the life of the business to maximize your branding efforts. While there is a time and a place for rebranding, it is incredibly costly and time consuming. Before you run out and buy 100 embroidered polo shirts with the first business name idea you think of, think hard about your business name.

Answering these questions up front ensures you are not overlooking opportunities or potential problems.

  1. Are you building a personal brand or a company?
  2. Does the name make sense for the product or business?
  3. Should you include descriptive words in the name?
  4. Is the name appropriate for your audience?
  5. Is the name easy to pronounce and spell?
  6. Do you want to stand out or fit in?
  7. Is the name too long?
  8. Is the name memorable?
  9. Does the name limit your scalability?
  10. Is the name available?

To dig deeper into each one of these concepts with business name examples, enter your email to nab our free 20-page guide!

Choosing the Right Domain

In addition to choosing a great business name, every good brand name has a solid domain name for their website that is easy to spell, doesn’t have any weird characters and isn’t too long. Domains can be even more difficult to find than the business name itself. In general, we still recommend trying to get a .com rather than .net, .biz or any of those fancy domains like .guru or .photo. Many consumers aren’t savvy enough to understand those and will still type in yourdomain.guru.com. Or they will just by a force of habit be emailing you and type name@yourdomain.com instead of .guru. This can be a major business problem if people who are trying to get a hold of you can’t find your website or send you an email.

There are times when using a .net is better than a .com if the only available options are too long or have a hyphen. For example, it’s probably easier for consumers to type in philosity.net than it is to type visit-philosity-philidelphia.com. You’ll find yourself having to remind people on the phone or radio what a hyphen is.

There are a few things you could do if you have a name you love that someone else is already using. You can add more specificity or descriptor words to your actual business name to make your idea more original and be more likely to nab a good .com. For example, the word “summit” is likely used in hundreds or thousands of business names already, but by adding some descriptors to the word, you could have “Purple Summit” or “17 Summits” all to yourself.

You could add a location such as Minneapolis Summit or you could add those product and service descriptors to make it more unique such as Summit Fitness Programs.

Or you can keep your business name as is and add words to the domain name. For example, you could try something like “trysummit.com” or “getyoursummit.com” even if summit.com is taken.

The Bottom Line with Naming Your Business

Naming your business is an important decision. And you want to love your new business name. After all, you’ll be saying it out loud, typing it over and over, and plastering your logo on any piece of plastic or fabric you can find for the next number of years.

But as big of a decision as this is, don’t fall into the trap that many would-be-entrepreneurs find themselves in. Don’t get stuck on picking a name to the point that you just never start your business. As an entrepreneur, quick, confident decision making is a supreme skill. The key is to do your homework, get feedback, hire professionals when you can afford it and then jump in with no regrets! Happy naming!

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