How to come up with a business name
Although it seems so simple, coming up with a name for your brand when you start an online store is no easy task. While some entrepreneurs get struck by divine inspiration and their business name emerges from thin air, it is more common to struggle through the brainstorming process. The name of your business can make an impact on your branding, your audience and your employees, so it's important to take it slow and avoid rushing into a hasty decision.
This guide will take you through the process of coming up with a great business name, starting with what makes a business name good and the types of business names that are commonly used as a starting point. Then, we will move on to the step-by-step process on how to come up with a business name for your online store, how to choose a domain name for your brand, and more.
Here’s all the things you need to know to come up with great a business name :
- Get focus on your company
- Brainstorm and narrow down possibilities
- Check availability
- Get feedback
- Register your business name
- Don’t forget to think about a domain name
- Bonus : use a business name generator
What makes a good business name for your brand or your company ?
Standing out in a saturated market is vital to startup success. Statistics indicate that 90% of startups fail within their first year of business and only half of all startups make it to five years. Choosing a good business name can help your startup get noticed. Luckily for entrepreneurs, there are a few key elements to consider when choosing a good business name to help guide your process:
1 - Make it memorable for the people
With so many brands moving towards ecommerce, consumers are inundated with ads for brands of all kinds, so catching the eye of your target audience should be one of the top priorities when it comes to choosing a business name. Choose a name that not only makes an impact, but that is easy to remember.
For example, you could use rhythm or repetition to get stuck in your audience’s mind, or choose a funky or abstract name that gets your audience thinking or even base your name off of how good it looks in a logo. Whatever you do, make sure you find a name that your audience can easily remember.
2 - Create a great feeling
Evoking a feeling within your customers is just as important as picking a name that is easy to remember. The energy of your business name should speak to the type of business that you are in while simultaneously attaching a good feeling to your brand.
For example, some names mix consonants and vowels to create a quirky word, and others use rhythm to create a name that rolls off the tongue. A good business name will have a ring to it and convey an emotion to your customers with your trademark. Before you settle on a name for your startup, say it out loud and use it in conversation and pay attention to the feelings that it generates within you.
3 - Speak to your audience
A strong business name will speak directly to the wants and needs of your target industry. Playing off of common words within your industry is a great way to tell your customers what you are all about without really telling them anything, choosing the best business name has to be part of your marketing strategy ! For example, words like bit, dev, or code all paint an image of a tech brand while terms such as cove, tide, or wave convey the image of a surf brand. Essentially, choose a name that your customers can identify with.
Types of business names
If you’ve decided to start selling online then you’ve probably been wondering what type of business name would be best for your company. According to your business, your industry or even your customers, here are some of the most common types of business names to choose from:
- Acronyms or abbreviations - An easy to remember, shortened version of a business name such as CVS, IKEA, and AT&T.
- Names of people - Your name, a founder’s name, or other inspirational person related to the business. Think McDonald’s, JCPenney, or Goldman Sachs.
- Compounds words - Combine two or more words to make up a business name such as SnapChat, Airbnb, and DoorDash.
- Made up words - Create your own unique and catchy business name. Think Xerox, Kodak, or Haagen-Dazs.
You can also go for a simple name like Apple, or a more complex name like Lululemon. You should also consider the length of your brand name. A name that is short might be easier to remember than a long name. But a long name that evokes a feeling in your customers might work better than an ordinary shorter name.
How to choose a domain name for your business
Choosing a domain name for your business is just as important as naming your brand. There are two main parts of a domain name that company leaders should pay attention to: the domain and its extension. For example, “prestashop” is our domain name and “.com” is our extension, but there are countless domains and extensions available.
Some examples of available extensions include:
Something else that companies should think about when choosing a domain name is perhaps buying multiple domains. There are a few reasons why a business might want to purchase multiple domains. For one, having multiple domains increases your chances of coming up in search results. Multiple domains means multiple keywords and maybe even multiple audiences.
Another reason to have multiple domains that redirect back to your main website is to prevent user error from having an impact on your site’s usability. If someone misspells your domain name then it will be more difficult for them to find you on the internet. You must think about that in terms of marketing : by anticipating potential misspellings and typos, you can automatically redirect users directly to your website, you avoid to lose traffic and your customers won't be disappointed.
Perhaps the best reason to purchase multiple domains is to prevent other businesses from stealing your brand image and ideals. For example, if you own every iteration of codecult.io then other companies won’t be able to use any part of that name in their branding without one of your domains popping up in search results.
Whatever route you decide to take when choosing a domain name for your business, above all else, you need to find a domain name that is not already registered to someone else or you could end up with a lawsuit. Just like you don’t want other businesses poaching your business name ideas, others certainly won’t like it if you poach theirs.
How to come up with a perfect business name step-by-step
Using a step by step process to choose a business name isn’t for everyone, but it can help you avoid critical mistakes during the process of discovering a name for your business. Here is a step-by-step process for coming up with a business name.
1 - Get focused : company, customers and product
Think about the following questions to gain some perspective and provide direction for the brainstorming session. Write down your answers and keep them in mind as you come up with potential business names:
- What is it that you want to achieve with your business name?
- What do you want your company’s name to represent? A product? A service?
- How do you want your business name to make your target market feel?
- What are the main priorities of your company?
- What type of business name are you looking for?
And any other questions to help you hone in on the perfect business name.
2 - Brainstorm
There are many different brainstorming techniques that can help you and your team start to put together a great name for your company. No matter what method you choose, the important thing is that you allow the creativity to flow according to the guidelines that you set in the previous step. If you start to get off track, come back to your answers to get settled back into a creative flow.
During your brainstorming session you should plan to write down a few different lists. One should be a list of keywords that resonate with your company’s goals, products, and personality. This will ensure that your name conveys the right message to your target audience.
The next list should be a list of the names of your direct competitors. You can discuss the factors that work for each one, as well the factors that you don’t like so much. While you shouldn’t seek to copy anyone else’s name, you can gain inspiration for your brand from the names of others as well.
Finally, the last list is for you to write down any ideas that come to mind during your brainstorming session. However, if this method doesn’t work for you, there are many other ways to conduct a successful brainstorming session.
3 - Take a break
It’s important to take a break to clear your mind after hours of brainstorming. Take an hour, a day, or maybe even a week to let your mind have a rest from thinking of business names. When you come back to your list, you will be refreshed with a new perspective – and maybe even some new ideas.
4 - Narrow down possibilities for your business name
When you come back to your list of potential business names after your break it’s time to narrow it down. Immediately cross off any names that no longer sound good to you or that you don’t think represent your company or your product very well. Remove any overly specific names as well as names that are too broad. At the same time, make a notation or a mark next to some of your favorites. Keep doing this until you come down to only 2-3 business names, and rank them in order according to your opinions on them.
You can always go back to the drawing board if you come back to your list and you decide that you hate the names that you came up with before. Choosing a business name is an important step when starting a business, so don't be afraid to go through a couple different brainstorming sessions.
5 - Check availability of the name
Now that you’ve chosen your final candidates for the name of your startup, it’s time to make sure that the names are available to be used for your business. It’s important to have a few choices in mind just in case one of the names that you choose has already been taken by another company.
The easiest way to check if a business name is available is to plug it into Google or another search engine and comb through a few pages to see if there are any businesses already using the name you’ve chosen. You should also do a domain search so that you can find out if someone else owns the domain and whether or not you can buy it from them. If you come up empty handed, don’t worry. Return to your brainstorm and come up with something more original.
6 - Getting feedback will help you
Before you go live, make sure that you test the name of your business to make sure that it can perform with members of your target audience. There are many ways to test your business name, from focus groups, A/B testing, and so much more. What you want to accomplish with testing is to discover if your business name is attractive, is easy to spell, easy to remember, and what kind of energy it has and how that affects the way that your target audience feels about your brand.
7 - Register your business name
Congratulations! You’ve chosen a great name for your startup. Now you need to register it so that no one else can use your name for their own purposes. Even if you are not 100% sure that you will stick with this name forever, it’s still a good idea to get it registered to avoid issues in the meantime.
Here are some places that you will need to register your new business name (in the United States):
- Secretary of state website
- Federal trademark database
- Register your domain (or domains) online
Other ways to get business names ideas
If you have gone through all the steps and are still wondering how to name your business, don’t give up. When it comes to making up a name for your business, you don’t have to do it alone. There are alternative ways to come up with a business name besides coming up with one on your own.
Crowdsource or hire a writer to brainstorm names
Crowdsourcing can be a very effective and low cost way to generate some ideas with an outsider's perspective. While crowdsourcing apps and websites run the gamut as far as the services they offer, there are several freelancers and volunteers among people you can find who are willing to contribute their ideas their ideas for your product, in exchange of a small fee.
Use a business name generator
When it comes to naming your business, sometimes the hardest part is getting started. A business name generator is great for generating potential business names that inspire your thought process or even find names that work perfectly for your business just as they are.
A business name generator work by taking one of your suggestions and utilizing a unique algorithm to create several options that sound good together and match your brand dynamic. Most business name generators that you find online will do an okay job of coming up with unique names, but the best name generator usually come as an ecommerce platform package.
Buy a business name
While many entrepreneurs already have an idea for their business and the types of products and services they’ll offer, there are others who thrive on rebranding and creating success where others may not be able to see. If this sounds like you, then you might benefit from buying a business name and creating a brand based around the name. You can buy an existing business or take over an expired domain name. Instead of the business idea inspiring the brand or the name, in this case the name inspires the business.
Naming his business : conclusion
Whether you are starting an online business from scratch or moving your brick-and-mortar store to an ecommerce outlet, then you need to learn how to come up with a name for a business that will help you stand out from the crowd. In this comprehensive guide, we discussed the different types of business names, how to find the right domain name, and what makes a good business name.
But when it comes to starting a business and choosing the right name, each entrepreneur will have a unique process. The name of your business might be the first thing that people hear, read or see about your business, so it's crucial that you choose an original and creative name that accurately portrays your business and optmize your branding. So remember, take it slow, follow this guide for inspiration, and don’t forget to turn to others for input and advice when you get stuck.