There’s a lot that goes into naming a business and it’s not something to be taken lightly. Sometimes the perfect name comes to you and sometimes you have to really work at it. If you've already got a great name in mind, have a NUANS search done to be sure it's not infringing on anyone else's business, if it's not, you're all set. If it is, or you haven't got a clue where to start, consider these points and options:
Self Explanatory – do you want people to know exactly what your company does or sells as soon as they hear the name? There are obvious benefits to having a self explanatory name but it doesn’t leave too much room for creativity.
Abstract – this leaves a bit more to the imagination for your customers but can work great for grabbing someone’s attention. You can get more creative if you’re taking this approach and leave it up to your logo and tagline to inform customers what your business is all about.
Memorable - you want people to remember your business. If your name is too boring, too long, too complicated or hard to pronounce, they'll be less likely to think of you in a time of need.
Coined Names – you can really get creative with this approach, making up your own word, combining two words or using one from a different language. If you’re using this type of name, don't force it and make sure that it isn’t too hard to pronounce or spell and it rolls off your tongue (think of Kijiji or Koodo), if people can’t pronounce it, they won’t say it.
What do you want your name to say? - you should try to give your potential customers a feeling as to what type of business you run. Is your business fun and creative with out of the box thinking or is it a by the books, get problems solved quickly type of business? Either way you should try to convey this in your company’s name and logo.
Think about the future of your company - if you’re focusing on something specific but think you may want to expand down the road, don’t box yourself in with too specific of a name. “Edmonton’s Pajama Shop” is no good if you want to expand to a whole clothing line that sells across the country one day.
Take a look at your competition - is there someone else out there doing what you are or similar? Find a way to set yourself apart from them. Koodo Mobile stands out with their name and bright advertisements full of coined words, letting customers know that they’re different from the other phone companies out there and directing themselves at a younger crowd.
Think about trademarks - you don’t have to trademark your company’s name however, you can’t be infringing on another company’s trade name. It might be fun to play off a well known company’s name when you're small and local but you could run into problems down the road when you expand and incorporate.
As well as domains - if you want to have a website or will rely on one in the future to sell your products globally, you’ll want to do a domain search. If your .com name is taken, you may want to reconsider or explore the options of adding additional words to your url. For example; if “XYZBeads.com” is taken, you could keep your original name and add a descriptive work like “jewellery” to the domain name; “FasionableBeadsJewellery.com”. Or you may also consider less popular domains such as “.net”, “.org” or “.ca”. Finding an available domain can be harder than you think - some people register domains for the sole purpose of making money off of a business owner in the future who really needs that domain. Annoying, yes.
Before you commit to a name, test drive it - think about it for a couple days, say it out loud, write it down, consider how it will look in a logo, and get other people’s opinions. You're going to build your company on this name; you want to be sure that other people will love it as much as you do and that it'll be a name that can grow with you.
Image courtesy Sicha Pongjivanich/FreeDigitalPhotos.net