It can be difficult to come up with the perfect name for your new business. There are many points you need to consider and getting it wrong could mean your startup never gets off the launch pad. In this post, we’ll look at 8 tips to help you find the ideal name.
1. Use a name that epitomises your brand
Your brand is what makes you different from your competitors. It tells the customer, ‘This is what we’re about.’ It’s not focused solely on the products or services you provide, it also shows what kind of company you are, what your values are and who your customers are. It’s your identity.
When you choose a name, you should consider how well it epitomises those things and represents to the world who you are.
2. Take your time before deciding on a name
Don’t use the first name that you think of. Try brainstorming lots of names first, just to get your mind thinking of all the different options out there.
To help you get started, think of words that are associated with your industry or the products and services you sell. You should consider words which describe how your customers will benefit from your services, e.g. The Better Bed Co. or Greener Cleaner.
If you get stuck, there are plenty of name generators out there, such as NameMesh’s company name generator.
3. Choose a name that is easy on the brain
You want your customers to be able to remember your company name, know how to spell it and be able to type it easily. For that reason, try to pick a name that is short and simple and not spelled in an unusual way. So, if you’re setting up a business in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, it’s time to think of something a little easier for your customers.
4. Think of the future
Rebranding is an expensive and risky venture. For that reason, you want a name that will last your company over the long term. Whilst the name you choose today might be perfect for your startup, ten years down the line it might not be a great fit.
As companies develop they often branch out into new products and services so limiting yourself through your name might not be a good idea – for example, calling your company BMW Car Servicing and then expanding into different makes of cars.
Similarly, the products you sell now may no longer exist in the future, so using those in your name may not be a good idea, either. The Floppy Disk Company might have served you well in the 80s but not today. There are exceptions, of course: Carphone Warehouse doesn’t seem to have been hampered by the fact that no-one needs a car phone anymore.
5. Avoid simple descriptive names – be unique
Name’s that are memorable and stand out from competitors are great for helping to get you noticed. This can be really effective if you are trying to break into a market that is dominated by established companies.
In the UK, for example, most of the ‘Big 6’ energy companies have descriptive names: NPower, British Gas, EDF Energy, Scottish Power. Many of the newer companies entering the market have opted for more original and memorable names such as Ovo, Bulb, Ecotricity, Spark and Zog.
6. Think carefully about using place names
Place names can be either helpful or a hindrance, depending on the nature of your business. If you are a fashion brand it can be beneficial to link your name to a place that has associations with fashionable things, take Rimmel London and DKNY (Donna Karan New York) as examples. It’s not been a problem for many financial institutions, either: Halifax Bank, Skipton Building Society, Coventry Building Society, etc.
However, for local companies with big ambitions, it may not be a great idea to call yourself after a small town and then find yourself operating regionally within a few years. Barnsley Builders might be okay for now but after a while, you might feel that Northern Builders was a more suitable option.
7. Don’t choose an obscure name
Your name should tell your customers something about your company and while it’s okay to use invented words, e.g. Skype, or form a new word out of two others, e.g. LEGO (a contraction of ‘leg godt’, Danish for ‘play well’), words that are simply obscure for the sake of it won’t do you any favours unless you have the financial resources to promote your brand and get the name known.
When you mention this to people, often the response is, ‘What about Google?’ But, Google is a deliberate misspelling googol, a vast number (a 1 followed by 100 zeros) that signifies the search engine’s ability to sift through vast quantities of web pages. The name, especially its pronunciation, is directly linked to the company’s values.
So, whilst WAK might be a great name for a private security company, Ungl isn’t much good for a carpet fitters.
8. Don’t forget the importance of your domain name
Whilst branding is vital, you also need to remember the importance of your website’s domain name. Domain names that include the keywords you want your company to be found for tend to rank much higher than those which so not. Hence, a building company called ‘Smiths’ would rank much better with the domain name smithsbuilders.co.uk than simply smiths.co.uk. Now that there are lots of different domain extensions to choose from, you can even have smiths.builders as your domain name.
Before deciding on a name, you need to make sure the domain name is available and not in use by another company, otherwise, you might be left high and dry. Apple didn’t own apple.com until 2012 and no doubt will have paid an eye-watering amount to obtain it.
If you are looking for a company name for your startup, hopefully, these tips will have given you something to think about and will help you in making your choice.
If you are looking to see if your chosen domain name is available, you can find out by using our free domain checker. We also offer a wide range of affordable web hosting packages for startup businesses and e-commerce stores.