Your business name is your first impression. A good business name will tell potential customers who you are and what you do, so it is fair to say that you need to make sure to get it right.
Finding the right name for your new business can be tricky; you might have the best business idea in the world, but without the right name, it could still fall flat.
A successful business name is the best friend of all small business owners and it will improve your online presence.
Luckily, there are a few basic rules to follow to make all the difference for your company or brand if you want to know how to name a business.
- Business identity – Your company brand name should reflect both the product and the values. It needs to be something that potential customers can identify with.
- Consider an alternative name – Name generator software is becoming more powerful by the day. Generating names is a fast way to find inspiration in your sector. Consider using an AI name generator, name your company in minutes with tools such as the free Zyro business name generator.
- Check availability – Use an online domain search tool to ensure your business or brand name isn’t registered as a dot com domain already. Don’t forget to check for social media pages with similar names.
- Register your name – Don’t waste time; great ideas get taken quickly. Establish your brand, register the domain names, and start your business’s online journey.
Let’s start with the standard creative methodology that you should follow when naming your business. Whether you are a small business, a big one, or a new business, some basic conventions underpin most business name choices.
1. Consider Your Brand Identity
Before you start brainstorming business name ideas, you need to think about what your business name will mean for your brand identity.
Your business name is one of your core branding opportunities. Its primary focus is to highlight the essence of your company in just a handful of words.
As such, it is always good practice to name your business after something that reflects business values as well as the product itself.
What is the unique selling point of your product? For example, if the focus of your business is sustainability, it would be good to choose a name that suggests something natural, renewable, and organic.
Think of the sustainable clothing company Patagonia – named for one of the world’s most beautiful and untouched national parks.
Another idea is to try and leverage the core values and emotions in your niche.
One industry example is aviation, an extremely competitive sector where ideas of safety, security, and prestige are paramount in getting an edge on your rivals.
Many airlines try to assert market authority by branding themselves as national airline regardless of whether it is a private company or not.
It is no coincidence that two of the largest airlines in the United States are American Airlines and United Airlines.
So, put simply, brand identity is how customers in your target market perceive you. On the surface, it consists of your logo, tagline, and voice, but should also include:
- Vision. It describes what the company aspires to be and what it aims to achieve in the long run.
- Mission. These words explain how the company plans to achieve set objectives.
- Values. Your values should be one set of cohesive principles and beliefs that describes what is most important to your company or small business.
Ask yourself these questions to help define your brand identity:
- What’s the core purpose of my business plan?
- Do I have a unique business when compared to my competitors?
- What are the values I want to uphold when I run this business?
- Who do I aim to please?
- How would my prospective customers describe me in a few words?
Answering these questions will help you develop the perfect company image that appeals to your customers.
2. Consider Alternatives
Now that you’ve found the core of your business, it is time to generate some name ideas through brainstorming.
Before your company goes any further, make sure to brainstorm at least five potential alternatives for your small business. It is unlikely that the first idea is the best. Brainstorming is an essential part of the naming process, and it is the most common for new businesses to come up with business name ideas.
One new way to find inspiration is to use business name generators. AI business tools are becoming more and more popular with small businesses and medium-sized businesses as a way to connect to their client base.
The free AI-powered free business name generator can generate ideas directly related to keywords in your business sector.
Simply type in a few words that reflect the core identity and focus of your business. A generator of names will provide an extensive list of valuable alternatives. Make sure to pick a few that feel right and consider what they say about your business.
You can pick any name and use it right away, or modify it a little bit. Change the spelling, add a prefix or suffix, or combine it with other words.
If possible, choose a creative business name idea with up to three syllables since they are easier to remember and always avoid obscure words.
Consider your audience as well. If you’re targeting a local market, it’s best to stick with business name ideas that sound familiar and nostalgic.
Or, if you want to expand globally, make sure the business names don’t have negative connotations in other languages.
Considering different business names could reveal an entirely new value relationship for potential clients. Once your business has decided on some alternatives, it is time to talk about the registration process.
3. Check the availability
After choosing a company name that suits your business, your next step is to check domain availability. Use a domain search tool to make this step faster.
It’s best to use your business name as your domain to help visitors avoid confusion when trying to find you online.
Your business should also choose the appropriate domain extension for your address. The different TLD’s (eg.: .xyz, .net) all have different associations. For example, .org is great for any kind of organization, meanwhile .com is perfect for commercial websites, but can be used on virtually any type of site.
Try to avoid uncommon extensions if yours is a small business, as this may decrease client trust since your business is less likely to rely on strong name association.
Lastly, while choosing the right domain name, take the time to check social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to see if there are business pages with the business name you’ve chosen.
These platforms are a crucial part of your marketing and branding efforts. Using your own name affects how easily recognizable your business will be.
4. Register the name
So, you’ve got your business idea, you’ve made your business plan, you might have even used our free business name generator to come up with a great business name idea that will really make your business stand out, and now it’s time to make things official.
Your company name is not yet your company name because you still need to buy the domain name and register it on all social media sites and create a personal email address matching your business name.
For US-based companies, you can register your business name online via IRS.gov. For European businesses, visit Europe Business register.
You can also consider registering with a domain company such as Zyro. One benefit of Zyro is that it provides you with domain privacy protection and a free SSL certificate. It is a reasonably priced domain, and for new users, it has a simple, functional renewal system that is easy to follow.
Enter your desired domain, follow the instructions provided, and the domain will be yours in less than a minute.
How to decide on the best brand name for your business
One common mistake in small business is that business owners do not spend enough time interrogating their chosen name.
Perform market research if possible, there is a strong chance that your business might resonate in a completely new way with a different name.
In a small business, with a lesser marketing budget, consider asking yourself some questions to ensure that your company name takes full advantage of its opportunities:
- Is it simple?
Simplicity is absolutely essential for effective comprehension. If your company name is too complicated, then you run the risk of making it impossible to remember or, worse alienating customers altogether.
- Is it easy to say out loud?
Linked to simplicity, this one also accounts for an often forgotten element in establishing customer trust—word of mouth. If people can’t pronounce your name, they will not tell other people about it. This should be a vital part of your brainstorming process.
- How does it compare to the competition?
While it is good to stand out, your business name must not go so far as to be unrecognizable in its sector. A small business with a smaller marketing budget may want to consider following the industry conventions when trying to get a foot in the door as it will aid your business plan.
- Is it timeless?
Trends come and go, but ideally, your company name will last the test of time. It is usually a bad idea to identify your business with something that might go out of style at any given moment.
Decide on a branding strategy
After picking a company name, it is important to decide whether your legal business name – the one that your company will register under – will be the same as your brand name or if it will operate under a different name.
For clarity, this is the difference between the two:
- Legal Name: The legal name of a business is the one listed on the formation documents and the one that is going to count in all your small business administration.
- Brand Name: The brand name of a business is the one used to market a company. It is the name that customers see.
At this point, there are three options available to a new business:
- The legal name is also the name of the brand
- The legal name and brand name are different
- The business operates with multiple brand names under one legal name
Take a moment to consider the nature of your business and decide which option makes the most sense in your niche.
Additional tips on naming your business
Let’s cover some additional tips on naming your business for maximum impact:
1. Short and simple
Your company name is how customers spread the message about your products and services through word of mouth, so it makes sense to name your business something catchy and easy to remember.
It’s good practice to come up with a name that is simple to pronounce, read, and write — preferably up to three syllables, and containing around ten letters.
It also needs to sound good when said out loud, especially in front of thousands of people.
Some giant companies are great examples of this, such as Google, YouTube, and GitHub.
2. Add a keyword to your domain name
Adding a relevant keyword to your domain name is a great way to improve visibility on search engine result pages and other platforms.
Each time people type keywords into a search query, they are more likely to choose to open domains or links containing at least one of the keywords related to the query.
For example, for those who look for a website that teaches how to make videos, they’ll probably be more inclined to visit Video School Online.
Try to put keywords into your domain name, but do it very wisely.
Back up your URL with website content that is representative of the keyword as search engine algorithms take into account content relevance.
Also, avoid keyword stuffing, as it violates Google’s Quality Guidelines and may end up hurting your SEO efforts.
Last but not least, avoid hyphens and numbers if possible. They make the domain name hard to spell verbally, making it harder to share.
What is a good name for my business?
Business names can do more for your project than you might first think and most companies will brainstorm business names as part of their guiding business structure.
Like a logo, your company name leaves an impression on your target audience and partners. It is usually the first thing someone learns about your company.
The name also summarizes what to expect from your brand. Each time customers encounter brand names, everything associated with them will come to their minds.
For example, consider brand names like Tesla. When people talk about Tesla, they won’t only think of electric cars, but also about the enigmatic inventor Nicola Tesla.
By choosing a company name like that, the business owner, Elon Musk, is drawing associations of creativity, genius, and the push towards the use of sustainable energy.
Catchy business name ideas are:
- Representative of your brand’s identity to the fullest possible extent
- Simple, memorable, and shareable
- Distinct from your competition
- Aligned with your branding strategy
Finding your perfect business name
So, there you have it. We’ve been through most of the major naming rules and conventions and by now you should hopefully have all the words you need to find the perfect business name idea.
Just remember, that before you start trading under your new business name, you should run a trademark search to make sure that you are entitled to sole proprietorship of that name. If even one other company sells under that name then you could face legal action.
For now, it’s time to get started working on your business’s mission and brainstorming company names that you can use to sell online today.
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