16 Golden Guidelines to Land a Name for Your Start-Up

So, you have finally decided to give your business idea the green light. That’s great! 

But as a start-up, you know it will take a while to develop a solid business plan. You need long hours of conducting market research, designing business models, and checking out the competition before finally gunning for it and turning your idea into your reality.

One of the little snags that delay the process is finding a name for your start-up. This is where most start-up dreamers get stuck in. Mostly before starting a business, you have one or two great ideas. For some, they get ideas along the way. When it is time to make a final decision, they are overwhelmed with how great all the ideas seem to be. How do they pick a name that is guaranteed to work?

If this is your current predicament, I understand how this can be a pretty tough nut to crack. 

Naming your start-up seems second-nature. However, it is not always the Eureka moment some people deem it’s all cracked up to be. For the vast majority, they have to wait it out until the idea hits them.

No pressure there, because naming your brand is one of the absolutely critical factors you need to zero in on when starting your business. Whatever name you select will forever be linked to your brand, its image, and its vision. Getting it right from the get-go is a must.

While taking your time is acceptable, there is a way to streamline the process and set things in motion. Here are 16 tips you can use as a reference to make sure you end up with the right brand name.

1.Short and concise is the way to go.

Your choice of business name should be appealing. It should have an easy recall, so your target market won’t have to struggle to say your brand name loudly. Think about world-famous companies: Apple, Nike, and Walmart. No one has to pause to catch their breath or think before stating these brand names.

I came across this interesting research performed by an insurance broker from the United Kingdom. According to the study, the average length of company names in their area has 22 characters. Moreover, more than half of the businesses with 17 to 24 characters are not successful.

These names are obviously longer than the names I have previously mentioned. However, it is still proof that the longer a company name is, the more likely it is to fail.

Bear in mind that there are other ways for your start-up to reflect its vision other than its name, so don’t feel like you need to give it a whole sentence just to get the word out. 

Two-word sentences are relatively common. In most cases, they work, depending on the industry they are in. Who has not heard of Waffle House or Whole Foods? These names may have two names, but they are reasonably easy to remember. For one, they seem to roll off the tongue because of how short the syllables are.

Another benefit of having a short and catchy name is that it makes marketing your brand loads easier.

2. Choose a name with easy spelling.

It is not enough to keep it short. If there are many possible ways to spell your brand name, people will get confused. This is especially evident when a prospect searches for you online. People will not discover you if the spelling is too complicated.

Here is a good tip-off: choose names with the same spelling as the way they are pronounced. People won’t exert too much effort remembering this brand with a strange spelling they want to check up. It is best to avoid doing anything extreme. For instance, adding an extra H in the spelling is a major no-no.

3. Don’t choose a name with a specific niche, product, or target.

Your start-up probably has only one goal right now, but who’s to say that it won’t change in the future? Your business doesn’t need to be specific. If you are selling guy’s denim now, naming your company “Jeans for Men” won’t bode well for you in the future?

What are you going to do should you decide to branch out to shirt-making? Or if you expand to offering women’s clothing. Your brand will no longer be evident in your chosen name. 

Naming your company after the area of your local store is also not a good idea. Calling your shop Wedding Couturier of Washington DC won’t be suitable for your other shops should you decide to open a new location in San Diego or other parts of the US. You could opt to name it after your street, so long as it is easy to spell if you want to pay homage to where it all started.

4. Look for the available domain name first.

If you think it’s time to choose a name, you could rely on GoDaddy’s tools to check if there is a domain name for your chosen name.

Most businesses do it the other way around. They try to land a company name first, then check if the domain name is already taken. Let me tell you how things can go downhill should you decide to do things this way.

Suppose the company name you chose, already has a registered domain under.com. In that case, you might be tempted to choose other extensions, such as .biz, .net, or .org. The thing is, most consumers assume that .com businesses are THE legit brands. The others are just copycats/ So you’ll only be driving to that .com website, and losing business opportunities left and right.

Others tweak their company names a bit just to acquire a .com domain. After all, no one wants to throw away those months of hard work spent on coming up with a name. Unfortunately, suppose your target domain is already registered. In that case, your only choices are to buy it or brainstorm once more for a new name.

5. Browse social media profiles for added due diligence. 

This is an extension of your domain search. You want your name to be consistent in all your public profiles to strengthen it, giving you a better chance of successfully marketing your brand.

Check if your choices are still available for all leading social media platforms. Again, don’t make the mistake of doing this the other way – landing a name then checking its availability online. 

If you end up using different handles for your social media accounts, it may confuse your prospects and lowers your reliability. It will have a negative impact on your new company, striking out on your first attempt to spread brand awareness.

If a name is available on most platforms, except for one or two, try reaching out to the user. Ask if they will be willing to give up their accounts to you for a price. If they say no, it is better to come up with a new name.

6. Find a name that will stand out from the crowd.

No one wants their brand to be just like everyone else. Your name should captivate and lure customers while also differentiating you from other businesses in your niche. Avoid using names that are too ordinary. 

Who has not heard of names like Michael’s Pipes? Tons of plumbers named Michael or has a close relative named Michael probably called his little biz as such. 

You want your name to define you. Therefore, it should stand out from the pack.

7. Practice saying the name out loud.

When brainstorming, people focus more on how the name is spelled. While I already highlighted the significance of easy spelling, you should also bring your attention to how it sounds out loud. 

A word that is easy to spell does not automatically mean it is easy to pronounce. Ensure that when you say it aloud, it won’t be easy to confuse it with another word. Moreover, it should not sound inappropriate, by itself or in connection with other words.

8. Be open to suggestions and feedback.

It may be your business, but deciding on a name does not need to be a one-man’s job. Two or more heads are always better than one.

Ask your partners or staff for suggestions. They can all pitch in ideas and explain their concepts to you. In the end, you will always have the final say. 

If you are not short of ideas, write down a list of five to 10 names. Ask close friends and family for their insights. If there is one name that sticks out like a sore thumb, you need to put that into consideration. Maybe the name is catchier than others.

9. Choose a catchy name that your customers will love.

If your brand name speaks to the customers, they won’t forget it. 

Do not confine your thinking to the present moment. Think big. Your ideas should be achievable at the moment but never undervalue potential growth. Consider how your brand name will sit with your marketing campaigns. Take into account mottos and other marketing elements. Is it going to be easy coming up with a slogan with the name you choose?

I know it is impossible to know for sure if a name is appealing or not. Moreover, there are no tools that can measure it for you. However, you need to trust your gut and ask others for their opinions. 

10. Leaf through the Secretary of State records.

You need to register your brand name before you get things started. Maybe you are going to form a corporation or an LLC. 

For US start-up companies, you should check out the Secretary of State records. You can examine if there are businesses with similar names as yours. If the name is too indistinguishable, the state may require you to come up with a new name.

Look for lawyers who can assist you with the registration process, because they can do more than that. They can also help you out with the research.

11. Research about trademarks

If you feel like you landed a perfect name for your biz, you don’t want anyone stealing it from you. Look up its availability at USPTO.gov to verify if you can trademark it. The website will also give you all the information you need to learn about trademarks and the procedure to apply for your own. 

12. Pick a name with relevance.

I mentioned a while ago that it is essential to choose a name that won’t inhibit your business’ potential for growth. However, it does not mean you are free to choose whatever you fancy. 

It still needs to be related to the niche you are in. Do not name your restaurant, “Yellow Flowers”. Is the example too weird? I guess so. I just want to make sure I can get my point across. 

13. Do not fail to consider what will become of your logo.

Your brand name is the center of all your campaigns, but it does not mean you should compromise your logo design. There are plenty of color schemes you can take advantage of since visuals are better than words. 

A remarkable logo will get you far. Just picture McDonald’s two golden arches. When thinking of a brand name, think about possible logos as well. 

14. Give brainstorming tools a chance. 

I know how trying it is to name a business. But you are not alone. Aside from your business partners, you have innovation on your side. 

You can give tools such as NameMesh to choose a domain name. Namium is another platform that can help you come up with a name based on a particular style. It generates ideas as you look for domain accessibility concurrently. Talk about shooting two birds with one stone.

15. Take a deep breath and relax.

You already know this part, but the question is — are you doing it?

This article underlines the importance of choosing a great brand name, but it does not have to eat you alive. Where am I going with this? What I’m trying to say is. Do not let this fundamental part of project development hold you back for months and months. 

It may take longer, but it is okay. There is no such thing as a perfect brand name, so stop striving for it. Do not overthink it. So long as the name has the following features, you’ll be alright:

  • The domain name for your brand name is available.
  • There are no social media profiles for it yet.
  • The brand name ticks all the requirements.
  • The majority of the people are happy with it.
  • Trademark is an option.

 16. Ask yourself if you are happy with it.

The minute you choose a name, you will have to live and breathe with it. Your campaigns will revolve around it, and you will always see and hear it whenever you are discussing work.

If you are not pleased with it, why subject yourself to this torture. Bear in mind that this start-up is yours. It’s your baby. You only pick the best names for your baby or baby-to-be, right? 

If you just shrug it off, you will feel unhappy with yourself and your decision, which will eventually translate to how you run your business. That’s not something you want, right?

Wrapping Up

What is in a name? A lot. The name of your business should reflect your goals, views, and your brand identity.

If you are struggling to think of a name or are not sure of your first choice, I hope this guide has helped get your creative juices flowing or solve your dilemma. Allocate a period to just think things through. If you breeze through it, you might regret it. A name can make or break not only your business but also your sentiments in your brand new venture. 

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