Business Naming For Startups
Business Naming For Startups
by Steven Schlagel
Finding the right business name can be a real strain on the brain. If you feel like it shouldn't be this hard, you may be wrong. Naming a business is one of the first marketing decisions a new business needs to make, and the wrong business name can sabotage all your hard work. This is your chance to give your new business the best possible beginning.
Where to begin
The best place to start is knowing what you want that name to say. If you are a sole proprietor, you might want people to remember you personally, so your own name might be involved.
If you want people to remember the business itself, you might want the business name to reflect its purpose. This will be a better strategy if, in the future, you can see yourself possibly stepping down so someone else can run the business.
Concentrate on the message
Every business should have a value proposition, or something that sets it apart from the competition. Your business name is on the front line when it comes to appearing unique.
One approach is to name your business with meaning and purpose, with direct reference to what the business is or does. Another approach is to name your business with creativity and flair. Some business names work best by piquing the curiosity of potential customers with a fun play on words.
Where do business name ideas come from?
Write down different words that match your goals for the perfect business name and describe what you want people to remember about it.
Then, get out the thesaurus and write down synonyms, homonyms, and alternate meanings. Play around with different combinations of phrasing, rhyming, variations, the meaning of a word in a different language - whatever comes to mind. Write anything down at this point. You're building a working list of choices.
Select the best choices
Now that you have enough random business names, begin the elimination process. Anything that definitely sounds strange or off-message gets crossed off the list.
Next, show the list to your friends or your management team (or both) and get their input. This might result in a longer list at first, but that can be a good thing. Two heads are definitely better than one when you are deciding what to name your business. Some new start up businesses build their lists by hiring professional at business naming creators or putting together a focus group for consumer research.
Now, take your list and prioritize it. Which sample business names communicate your value proposition better than the others?
The field test
You should always test your ideas in some way. Can you pronounce it easily? Are people likely to remember it? Does it evoke anything embarrassing if you translate it into another language? Does it effectively communicate your message? Does the name fit well on your marketing materials?
Picture your business name ideas in print, whether the name will appear on a box, a billboard, a business card, a vehicle, a playbill, or a retail tag. Make drawings if you need to. If something doesn't look positive now, it probably won't look positive later.
What is the best choice?
Your list should be a lot shorter by now, and the name at the top of that list could be the right name for your business. Set the final list aside and see if your choices still look good. Ask yourself the key questions again while taking that second look. Get your people back together, if you need to. Your final choice is right there in front of you.
Fictitious names and copyrights
Business name availability is an important consideration for this last phase of the business naming process. You must avoid duplicating someone else's name, either outright or suggestively. A Google search can help, and so can your Secretary of State's office.
Finally, don't let an article on the internet complete the business naming process. Hire a legal professional to help you with the fine print on copyrights, trademarks, and business name availability. It may save you a lot of time and money later. The right business name can help you become a success!
About the Author:
Steven Schlagel, CPA, CVA, CFP, JD is a small business coach and consultant. This article on finding business names is just one of many you can access by clicking here. If you want to know more about him or his services visit My-Small-Business-Mentor.com.
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