As you spend time on social media today, pay attention to the sheer number of ads you’re hit with that encompass every type of business. If we were to ask you to name some you’ve seen, you’d probably struggle for an answer. There are just too many to remember. Now more than ever, companies must place emphasis on choosing the perfect small business name.
So, you can no longer just piece together your name with another word and hope to land an excellent business name. Our digital landscape requires that your target audience remember the name and get excited by it. In fact, this is so crucial that entire platforms are devoted to helping founders create epic business names.
But, as vital as this process is, it shouldn’t be that complicated. There are really three main steps involved in naming your business.
#1 Create a Brand Image
The name is among the most important aspects of your small business. But, there’s no way around creating a brand image before choosing a name.
Therefore, the first step to successfully naming a small business is to have creative brand imagination. This is the most underrated naming tool, which is a shame. Brand imagination is your ability to develop a mental image of your brand and determines how your company is perceived.
To stir your brand imagination, you need to answer these questions:
- How should your brand feel and look to its audience?
- What are the core values of your brand?
- What tone do you want to embody?
- What type of emotional response do you want to evoke?
Understanding these aspects of your business will place you in the best position to formulate business name ideas.
While this first step will take the most time, knowing who you are as a business and how you compare in the market will make the next steps easier.
#2 Brainstorm Small Business Names
Now it’s time for the fun part! Gather your team (if you have one), grab the whiteboard and some markers, and brainstorm to get closer to your small business name. This process is not analytical, so there’s no need to evaluate the names just yet.
This step is simply meant to be creative, so don’t be afraid to write down every name idea you can think of – the good, bad, and ugly. After all, you never know what will come from a word.
If you happen to get stuck in the brainstorming process, use these tools to add some zing:
- Dictionary or Thesaurus
- Rhyming words or Industry slang
- Visual names or Root words
Another thing we recommend is that you include people from different demographics in your brainstorming process. Asking people with varying backgrounds will give you insight into other notions about pre-eminent vs. innovative names. And this alone can be a deciding factor if the name works with your audience or not.
Toward the end of this step, you should have an extensive list of possible names. Now it’s time to start creating a shortlist. So, go through and remove any phrase or name that doesn’t align with your brand’s identity or audience.
You’re done with this step when you have a shortlist that contains about ten solid names.
Don’t we all wish that our first pick was the best pick? Unfortunately, this rarely happens for most small businesses. Therefore, you must put your chosen name through a series of tests before celebrating victory. Here’s an overview of the validation process:
- Collect Feedback: One of the most essential steps in validating a business name is ensuring that it aligns with your target audience. This is especially true for online companies, so gather feedback to ensure your audience likes the name. Utilise people you know, such as family, friends, neighbours, or even those you know from the local supermarket.
- Domain Search: Today’s businesses must have a website. So, before settling on a small business name, ensure a good domain is available within your budget.
- Trademark Check: The last step of the authentication process is to conduct a thorough trademark check. This is important because most words carry at least some degree of a trademark. Having this information ahead of time will save you from headaches and legal fees down the road.
Small Business Name Conclusion
Ultimately, you need to understand that a brand name can either make or break your company. Be sure to choose a memorable name that aligns well with your brand’s image and tone and evokes the right emotions from customers. Always remember that even with the best business model and products, not having an epic name can cause your advertising to fall flat.
Follow our three steps outlined above, and you are sure to come up with a perfect name for your small business!
Our Guest Contributor
Grant Polachek is the head of branding for Squadhelp.com, 3X Inc 5000 startup and disruptive naming agency. Squadhelp has reviewed more than 1 million names and curated a collection of the best available names on the web today. We are also the world’s leading crowdsource naming platform, supporting clients from early-stage startups to Fortune 500 companies.