How to create your perfect business name

BY ISABEL GUTIERREZ

© Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

© Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

One of the most frequent questions I get asked by entrepreneurs who are starting a new business is how to call it. They have clear ideas on how they’re going to deliver their products and services, some have even taken the time to find the right manufacturer and suppliers, but when it comes to select an appropriate name, they are stuck.

Names matter. Most new parents spend months short-listing their favourite boy and girl names in preparation for the arrival of their new baby. They want it right.

When choosing a name for your business, you should give it the same consideration as you would give to your newborn. Ultimately, this is your brand’s signature.

Your business name is your portal to building a magnificent brand. It should capture your essence, carry your values and be an ambassador of your promise. Besides, it should give you the scope to grow and evolve.

No wonder setting your heart on the right one may take a while. To make this process a little bit easier, here are some suggestions on what you may want to consider:

1. Depict what you want to be known for

Think about what you do. Then think of your products and services. Finally think of what sets them apart and the value they add. Your name should encompass all these considerations. Start by writing down words that truly convey your craft, and for a day or two, play with them. Create different combinations until you have something that feels good, resonates with your heart and reflects the type of business you aspire to create.

2. Know and understand your audience 

Having a very clear idea of the type of customers you would like to attract is essential. Firstly, you want to ensure your name appeals equally to women and men. So ditch the gender stereotype assumptions and focus on your audience’s social profiling instead. Understanding their needs, what challenges they face and what value your business will add to their lives will enable you to create a name that connects with them.

3. Use your own name

Why not? Your business is your idea, so in essence, it’s you. This option has a lot of benefits if you specialise in a particular craftsmanship or service and want to create an iconic, specialist label. Think of John Lewis, for example, or Selfridges, businesses that today still carry the original vision and values of the men behind them. By using your name, you are giving your business trustworthiness.

4. Choose a name that can be easily pronounced and spelled

From experience, I know that for English speakers pronouncing my surname can be challenging. This is why I decided to give my business a completely different name. When going through different options, make sure your name sounds good when it is said aloud. People should feel confident when saying it. You want your name to build a reputation on excellence and not awkwardness.

5. Avoid acronyms

They are impersonal and quite frankly, can easily be forgotten or misspelled. People associate names with people. Names convey humanity. Don’t be a robot.

6. Avoid foreign words

Unless you are opening a restaurant and want the name to reflect the type of cuisine, stick to English. Wonderful, plain English. English is the language of business worldwide, use it and make your business world-class.

7. Check the domain is available

This is very important. After weeks of brainstorming, shortlisting, testing, and finally deciding on your perfect name, you want to make sure you are able to buy its domain. Start by purchasing a minimum of two years, this will give you the opportunity to save it for a reasonable amount of money and time.

And a final piece of advice: never use a business name generator tool. This would be like digging your business’s grave before its birth. Be creative. Be playful. Be you.