Coming up with the perfect name for your business can be as difficult as coming up with a name for your first child.
That’s because your business’ name is an important part of your branding and how customers perceive your business, so you want it to stand out in a good way.
And as someone who has had to come up with business names before that are unique, memorable and on-brand, I can tell you that it’s not easy to do!
That’s why we have come up with 7 creative, practical and fun steps you can take to help you come up with your perfect business name. Be sure to check out our video for inspiration.
1. Know Your Business Mission
When you write out the purpose of your business, who you are targeting and what you hope to achieve, you will discover core values, perceptions and expressions that will help you name your business.
Take British recruitment entrepreneur and former Dragon’s Den investor James Caan for example. When he named his recruitment business that went on to make him rich, James thought about the image he wanted to present.
Back then it was the 80s, and James wanted a business name that sounded established. He decided to think of his business as a man and brainstormed the qualities that man would have. James invented a person he thought employers and jobseekers would trust and he named him Alexander Mann. And that became the name of his recruitment business.
2. Brainstorm Words and Emotions Related to Your Business
Pull out the dictionary, thesaurus or Google to your heart’s content to find words that relate to your business and words that stir up powerful emotions.
Words that strike a strong emotional chord are known in the copywriting industry as “power words.” Master, killer, intense, zen, easy, and bold are examples. Search the internet for a list of power words as they are very handy in naming businesses and products.
Take home renovations company Master Build for example. Master is a power word that conjures up professionalism and build describes what the business is about. Master Build certainly sounds like a name you can trust.
3.Look at Other Businesses in Your Field
You can easily search the internet for a list of businesses in your industry.
This step can help you discover business names that are already taken which can help identify names that you may want to avoid using. But it also can get your creative juices flowing and give you some general themes to stick to.
4. Think About What’s Special to You
Write out a list of names that mean something to you whether that be nicknames, pet names, books, movies, music or the name of your hometown.
You can then try mixing them together, joining them or making an acronym out of them. An acronym is a word that is formed from the initial letters of other words, for example ASAP is formed from the words As Soon As Possible.
Did you know IKEA is an acronym? The first two letters – I and K – come from the founder’s name (Ingvar Kamprad); the E is the first letter of his childhood farm (Elmtaryd); and the A is the first letter of his home village in Sweden (Agunnaryd).
5. Experiment With Letters, Numbers and Foreign Words
To help your business name stand out, you can play around with the spelling or add numbers to the words. For example, service station 7Eleven uses two numbers but the seven is a digit and the eleven is written out.
You could also try swapping out an English word for a foreign word that means the same thing. When choosing a foreign word or inventing your own word, you want to make sure it’s not hard to say or spell and that it does not have an undesirable meaning.
It’s always wise to search the internet to make sure you’re not taking on a name that means something bad in another language, especially if your target audience is global or for a specific region that you’re not familiar with.
A classic example of a name gone wrong is Irish Mist. That’s the name a Dublin drink manufacturer labelled it’s whiskey for Germany. The only problem is that “mist” is the German word for manure.
6. Take a Walk and Draw Inspiration from Your Surroundings
Sometimes the best ideas come to you when you’re not sitting at your computer.
Take a walk or go for a drive and pay attention to your surroundings. What words can you spot on billboards, shop names, street names, slogans on people’s clothes, the dog names you hear in the park, or anything else you observe.
If there’s anything you like, jot it down in a notepad or on your phone so you don’t forget it. Then later on, you can combine those words and themes to help you come up with a name.
7. Use A Business Name Generator
Sometimes, you’ve exhausted your imagination – not to mention the ears of friends and family – and need a little extra help.
If that’s the case, you can use a business name generator to help you find the best combination of all the names you’ve come up with. Just search the net for free business name generators and you’ll find lots of them.
What Comes Next?
After coming up with your perfect name, you should do a “sanity-check” – that involves bouncing the name off friends and family to make sure it’s easy to say, easy to spell, doesn’t contain any unwanted double-meanings and gives the impression you desire.
Once you’ve decided on your perfect name or a shortlist of names, you need to do the legal checks to make sure it’s not taken, and other checks to make sure the domain name and social media handles are available.
Check out our guides and videos that tell you exactly what checks you need to do before you start branding your business and ordering the business cards.
Disclaimer: Our articles and videos are here to inform you and the information provided does not constitute financial, taxation, legal, business or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as such. See our full disclaimer here.