8 things to consider when naming a business

8 things to consider when naming a business

Have you read our blog, 5 tools to help you create the perfect business name?

If so, then you’ve likely spent several hours playing around with some of the free tools we mentioned.

The temptation is to focus on something catchy and memorable, and a name that resonates with your target audience. But, there's a lot more that goes into naming a business.

The first stage is to understand how and where your name will be used. Once you've set out your criteria, you can then move onto picking a name that is fit for purpose.

Here are 8 considerations to make when naming your business.

1. List your choice of names and possible alternatives

If you haven't already fallen in love in one particular name, make a list of possible options and variations that you are happy with. It doesn't have to be a long list, just enough to leave some wriggle room when you come to dealing with the points below.

2. Sample and test

The best way to see what names resonate with your audience is to try them out. Ask for feedback from friends and family, particularly those who would likely be your typical customer.

The more distant the person, the more likely you will get honest and impartial feedback. A survey amongst your social media following is one of the easiest ways to receive great, honest feedback.

3. They’re permanent, kind of…

You'll often read that a name is like a tattoo. Once you have it, you're stuck with it. Whilst this is somewhat accurate, nothing in business is permanent. True, a rebrand can be a costly and time-intensive exercise, but it can also be an incredibly valuable exercise.

Getting your name right (taking into account the points in this list) is great for businesses just starting out, but it's not impossible to make a change later down the line.

4. Create something memorable

Having a name that's short and snappy will pay dividends for your businesses. The last thing you need is a name that's easy to forget. A forgetful name is a forgetful business.

5. Descriptive or distinctive

This is an important issue when it comes to naming a business, product or service. A name is commonly either descriptive (in that it describes or has a meaning in relation to the business or product), or distinctive (and has little or no relevant meaning).

Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Which way you go really depends on the how you intend using the name, how you want it to reflect your brand, and the legal rights you may want to secure over it.

6. Domains and availability

How and where do you want to use your business name? Are you planning to set up a company? Will you be operating from a shop front, online, or both? One of the most important steps in naming your business is checking whether you are free to use it. This is commonly known as a clearance search.

Searches may include company register searches, trade mark searches, internet searches, and checking whether any social media accounts have already been created under your chosen name. If you find your name has already been taken, you may need to consider variations which can still be associated with your business.

.Com web addresses are the most commonly used global top level domains (TLDs). Finding a good .com domain is becoming increasingly difficult. Many of the remaining domains have been claimed by 'squatters', who hold the domain in the hope of selling them at a significant mark-up.

The good news is, new TLDs are constantly being released, and this helpful infographic shows just how many options are still out there.

7. Meaning, spelling and pronunciation

This probably seems like an obvious one. Be wary of any negative connotations that your name may have. They may not seem obvious to you, but others may associate your name with something negative.

A name that's difficult to spell can also cause problems. If your customers can't pronounce or spell your name, finding your business or spreading the good word can be difficult for them.

Finally, if you are looking to trade internationality, check whether your name, or similar variations, could mean something completely different in another country. A problem that many businesses have faced in the past, forcing them to rebrand when entering new markets.

8. Leave room for growth

Finally, pick a name that leaves room for growth. A narrow and descriptive name can limit you to a specific sector, product or business model. Consider your long-term plans, and what you hope to branch out into. Select a name which provides some longevity. As we covered above, a rebrand is always possible, but can be costly exercise.

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