7 Tips for Finding the Perfect Business Name

Never underestimate the power of a brand name. The name of your business is going to play a role in forming your customers’ first impressions, and will help define the nature and identity of your brand. Unfortunately, too many business owners neglect this stage of the process, choosing the first business name that comes to mind or failing to see the negative connotations of the name they chose.

So what’s the right way to come up with a business name?

Tips for Getting the Perfect Name

Assuming you’ve already written your business plan and you know what your business is about, these tips can help you find the perfect name:

  1. Be prepared to generate lots of options.

    It’s unlikely that you’ll find the perfect business name in a flash of inspiration, or in a bid to come up with the perfect idea in a single brainstorming session. Instead, it’s more likely you’ll come across something that fits only after generating dozens, if not hundreds of candidates. Be prepared to generate lots of names before you finalize your decision.

  2. Do your research.

    You’ll also need to do your research in advance. You can start by looking at companies like yours that already exist, and study their names. You can’t copy these names, obviously, but you can take inspiration from them. Which features seem to work? Which features don’t? When you come up with name ideas, you’ll also need to look them up to see if they’re already taken in your state. That way, you can avoid investing too heavily in a name that’s already been used.

  3. Get creative.

    Try to make your business’s name unique. If it sounds too much like a hundred other businesses that are already in existence, it isn’t going to be memorable. And depending on the industry, if you just use your name as the title of the business, people might think you’re boring. Get experimental, and come up with something original.

  4. Make it simple.

    At the same time, it’s wise to keep your business name simple. The shorter your name is, the easier it will be to remember and replicate. Plus, it will probably be easier to spell, so you can have fewer miscommunications and ensure your brand isn’t misrepresented in publications. Having a brand name that’s easy and intuitive to pronounce is also beneficial.

  5. Translate and check.

    If you’ve come up with a unique name, it’s a good idea to see how it translates to other languages, so you can proactively avoid a PR disaster. In some cases, your unique business name might translate to a profane or confusing word in another language. In other cases, the direct translation of your business name (or its tagline) could cause problems in other markets. If you’re focusing on English speakers in the United States, it may not be much of a problem, but it’s worth warding off these potential issues ahead of time.

  6. Be careful with puns and jokes.

    You might be tempted to come up with a clever pun or a play on words for your business, but exercise caution here. An inventive, genuinely funny, and charming play on words can make your business even more appealing. But if you go too over-the-top, people might not take you seriously. Depending on the joke, you may seem unoriginal, or you may seem too gimmicky for the average customer.

  7. Test the name.

    Once you have a handful of name candidates in mind, start testing them out with your target demographics. Ask people to tell you what they think the business does after only hearing the name, and ask them if they have any positive or negative connotations upon hearing it. After a few rounds of testing, you should either have a frontrunner, or be motivated to go back to the drawing board with more information about how your demographics think.

Claiming Your Name

Once you have the perfect name for your business, it’s time to start claiming. If you’re starting an LLC or a corporation, you may need to register your formal business name with your state. You may also want to claim your domain name as early as possible, to avoid someone else poaching it. From there, you’ll want to claim your handles and profiles on social media.

While it’s possible to change your business’s name in the future, for most entrepreneurs, this is the name you’ll stick with indefinitely. Make sure it’s a good one.