It is a common misconception among people who do not own their own business that certain creative aspects, such as designing the logo and, of course, coming up with a fitting name, are easy – fun activities with which to wile away a quiet afternoon. “If I had a business, I would name it…” is a common phrase uttered by the friends and family of a fresh-faced entrepreneur – one that, though well-meant, only clouds the creative waters further when it comes time to put a name to the face of a fledgling brand.
And, while it may be more enjoyable than the more quantitative tasks of accounting and stock purchasing, the stakes are, arguably, even higher – changing an existing name six months down the line is something most of us want to avoid (both for the business’s finances, and its reputation and credibility), and that means that we have to get it right the first time.
So, if you are pulling at straws trying to find the perfect name for your new business, read our top Dos and Don’ts below to ensure you won’t start second guessing your decisions as soon as you file that order with your local printers.
Do: Secure your domain name as soon as possible
The importance of your business’s name cannot be overstated. It is how word of your existence will spread through your target markets and, in a more concrete sense, how customers will find you online.
Your digital presence is unarguably the most important cornerstone of your ability to thrive, grow and, of course, forge a line of communication with your market. To that end, you must never underestimate the importance of building a strong and unique website – and to do that, you need to work with a domain register capable of supporting you through the creation and development of your site.
New businesses arrive onto the scene every day and registering your domain name as soon as possible in order to secure a strong, memorable and professional domain is incredibly important.
Don’t: Choose something that is hard to spell, or pronounce
You’ve likely heard it said that a good business name will be catchy and memorable – and while that is an excellent tip, it still leaves a great deal open to interpretation. ‘Catchiness’ is, in many ways, subjective, so how do you ensure your choice caters to the majority of people?
One of the best ways of achieving this is to ensure that your chosen name is clear upon first glance. Ensure people will be able to spell it (particularly important when you begin to build your online presence, and customers attempt to find you on search engines) and pronounce it – otherwise they may be reluctant to give you those all-important word-of-mouth recommendations.
Do: Leave it open for growth
While, at this point in time, your new business may be centred on a very small selection of products or services, paying too much attention to that limited offering when you name your business could set you back in the long run. If, for instance, you start out offering shampoo, then naming the business ‘Joyce’s Shampoo’ may limit your chances of making an immediate impact within the wider world of haircare as you grow.
The same goes for naming your business after the area in which it has been started. If, for instance, your cybersecurity business begins in Chicago, there is nothing to stop it from turning into a national – or even an international – venture. You may move or end up growing far beyond those initial parameters, so keep it open to change.
Don’t: Base your decision on your opinion alone
Spending hours or weeks pouring over ideas is a sure-fire way of getting so wrapped up within the process that even your once-sound judgement is temporarily thrown off. When starting a business, we expect this part of the process to be easy, and the fact that it ends up calling on all our powers of creativity and patience can mean that we grow exasperated – and a little desperate for that ‘golden idea’.
The solution? Bounce ideas off friends, family and, ideally, other business owners who are a little further down the line than you are. Talk to people who exist within your target market – anyone who can offer constructive feedback and get you out of your own head for some much-needed clarity.
There is no single formula that business owners can apply to the creative process behind devising a new, exciting and unique brand. While it would be helpful, agonising over spellings, portmanteaus, pronunciation and acronyms is a necessary part of the process – otherwise every new business name would be nothing more than a variation of the one that came before it.
Follow our Dos and Don’ts but, most importantly, trust the process – and your own passion for this fledgling brand – and allow you mind to wander before it finally hits upon that word or phrase than encapsulates everything you will achieve through your company in the years to come.