You settled on a great business idea. Now what will you name your company? It’s important to take the time to choose a business name wisely because (1) it’s your first connection with customers and (2) making changes later on can be costly, especially if your customers become familiar with the current name. Below is a list of tips to get the naming process started off on the right foot.
Where to start?
- Consider your competitors’ names and take note of trends: what’s the tone? Strong, luxurious, warm, nature-themed? Which names do you like better, and why?
- Ask peers and potential customers about each name’s association with the service/product? Look for an emotional connection. What values and emotions do you want to convey to customers through your brand?
- Write down ten names.
- Keep them short! For memorability, ease of conversation, and for marketing purposes (social media handles, website, logo, printing, etc), a short name is often more effective than a longer name.
- Most experts caution against using your personal name in your business name. It creates the possibility of cornering yourself should you expand, and it may make your business harder to sell when you are ready to retire/exit. When you create a business, you are creating a new entity with its own brand.
- Some businesses combine two words. For example, SaladGo clearly communicates that their company specializes in to-go salads. Blueland is comprised of two common words which makes it memorable and easy. TripAdvisor helps people plan trips.
- Visit your state corporation commission website and check to see if the business names are available in your state. (Virginia name check availability)
- Check to see if the domain is available online. Tip: keep it short!
- You can purchase one domain that works as a website URL and as an email domain. For example: website – www.marigoldcandles.com and email – email@example.com. If you want these domains to be different, you will have to purchase two different domains. Our office recommends that all businesses create a business email account which is easily available from Gmail, it’s approximately $7/month. Domains generally cost between $7 and $13 annually.
- You do not have to include ‘LLC’ in your domain name or social media pages
- Big Tip: If a domain you are strongly leaning toward is available at an inexpensive price, purchase it immediately. If you don’t, the domain may not be available or only at a very high price later.
- Check to see if social media handles are available. Make all social media handles identical across platforms, if possible.
- Eliminate the names that are unavailable or did not resonate with well. Hopefully, you have a few good options remaining.
You narrowed it down to 1 – 3 options. What’s next?
- Test it out. Is it easy to use and remember in conversation? Example: “Marigold Candles has the best fragrances.”
- Is it easy to spell and pronounce? Sometimes business owners try for a complex play on words or use an abstract name, but this can be harder for customers to remember or to find online. You don’t want to add extra challenges to your marketing initiatives.
- Ask potential customers for feedback.
- Make a decision and move forward with registering your name and branding your business.
Have fun with creating your Business name and if you are looking for guidance, please reach out to a consultant to get help by filling out a request for consulting form.