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Pro Tips on How to Name a Business

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You have the perfect idea for a brand-new business; you have the skills, the business savvy, and the passion. The only problem? You have no idea how to name a business, and you’re drawing a major blank.

Choosing a name when you’re starting a business is extremely stressful! This is essentially the handshake of your business: the first impression. Will it draw customers in with a sense of wonder? Will it feel professional and trustworthy? Perhaps, it have a pun-based punchline that makes your clients laugh?

A name isn’t something you want to end up changing, so it’s something you want to get right the first time. Here are some tips and tricks for choosing a business name for your woman-owned company that fits your personality and your goals.

How to Name a Business: Things to Keep in Mind

Before we get to the brainstorming stage, it’s important to keep these facts and constraints on your radar.

  • Make sure the website domain is available. If you think up the perfect name but someone already has laid claim to the web domain, the social media handles, and the United States trademark, you’re dead in the water. Make sure your name won’t be competing with other companies and organizations. If you want to name your spa Happy as a Clam, but there’s already a seafood restaurant with the same name, you’ll want to go in a different direction so you don’t confuse your customers. As soon as you have a possible name, check the domain.
  • Make sure it’s easy to spell. Even if the name you come up with rolls off the tongue, if it’s difficult to spell, people are going to have a difficult time finding you online. Try to use common words, and if you have to stray from those, make sure the word is phonetic.
  • Make sure it’s easy to pronounce. You want people to always be talking up your business; that’s difficult to do when they’re afraid that they’re going to say it wrong.
  • Keep it catchy. You want someone to walk away from your booth, your shop, your online presence, your casual conversation with the business name stuck in their head. Make a catchy business name to make yourself memorable!

Brainstorming Techniques on How to Name a Business

When finding the perfect name, sometimes the most difficult place is knowing where to start. You might have some vague ideas about words you’d like to include, but here are a few suggestions on how to get the cloud of ideas in your head down on paper.

  • Stream of Consciousness: This is the most barebones technique available; sit down with a piece of paper, your favorite pen, and just write every possible name that comes to mind. It doesn’t have to make sense, it doesn’t have to be perfect, and it doesn’t have to mean anything. They could even be names of companies that already exist that you like. Write with the freedom of knowing that none of these have to be your name you’re setting in stone. But with every name you write down, the closer you get to finding the name of your dreams.
  • Word Association: When thinking about your potential customers, what words do your target audience connect and resonate with? What words embody the spirit of your business? If you have some words you want to associate your business with, write them down and give them each their own circle. As you come up with business name ideas that incorporate that word, draw a line from the circle and write the business name idea. If you have a variation on that title, write a line from the title as you move out from the circle. This technique has elements of the stream of consciousness method, as it gives you the freedom to write titles that you know won’t make the final cut, but it gives the process a bit more structure for those of you who thrive on organization.
  • Business Name Generator: If you have a few keywords that you really resonate with, try using the power of AI to come up with a name! Websites like Namelix walk you through different options and preferences, such as name length and name type, and then generate some unique ideas for you to browse. Even if you don’t find what you’re looking for, these new options might spark some inspiration in your mind for the final name you select.

business name generator1

how to name a business: business name generator

how to name a business: business name generator

Next Steps

Once you’ve found a name you really like and you checked that it’s available, it’s time to do some informal market research.

Find some friends and family members you know won’t just agree with you to try to make you happy. Ideally, you can find some people in your target market, as those responses will be the most valuable to you as a business owner.

Here are some questions you can ask to get a feel for their thoughts on your small business’s potential name:

  1. How does this keyword from my title make you feel?
  2. When you hear this title, what do you immediately think of?
  3. If you didn’t know what my business idea was, would you think of my industry when you heard this name?
  4. Do you have any negative associations or connotations on any of the words in my title?
  5. Does my title sound too similar to a brand name you already know of?
  6. Is my title something you think you could easily spell?
  7. Do you think most people would be able to easily pronounce my title?

Be open to critique and verbally condone honesty. You don’t want your informal focus group giving false opinions just because they think it will support your ego. If they honestly don’t think the title fits the spirit of your business, it’s much better to hear now than six months after opening.

Looking for More Business Advice?

If you’re starting your business and feel that you could benefit from a community of boss babes just like yourself, check out Women’s Business Daily today! We have forums where you can ask the hard-hitting questions, resources to grow your business, and experts willing to lend their advice as you start on this nerve-wracking journey!

Invest in yourself and join our group of boss women today!

Sarah Margaret Henry
Published in Business, Featured Articles

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