What's in a Name?
Everything! Naming your business is that crucial first step that starts it all. It can be challenging, as it is the launching pad for your brand. Your business name should help people find you, understand what you do, and remember you. It takes effort, lots of options, and a little luck so we want to share some ideas to help your brainstorming and tips for naming your business.
BRAINSTORM AWAY. You know by now, we love any excuse to get out colorful markers and many sizes of post-its, and this is the perfect opportunity. Gather a few friends you’ve shared your business idea with and get thinking. Don’t forget the biggest rule of brainstorming… NO BAD IDEAS! You never know what word or phrase will lead you to that perfect name. Don’t hold back. Play some music, have snacks, and make it fun. You can even employ some little activities to help get through any sticky points.
Partner Buildup. The first thing you will want to do is get every idea written down. They don’t all have to be potential names, but can simply be words associated with the business idea, or words that reflect how you want the brand to make people feel when they think of your business. Give everyone a few minutes to write them down silently on a piece of paper. And then switch papers. Each person should now build new ideas off the page just given to them. If you have enough people in the room, switch once more. Then capture all the ideas on a large wall for discussion.
Categories. Now that you have some name ideas, push them further. Try some of these different categories to see what might happen …
Alliteration- Hey there, Pitch Partners, we see you ;)
Rhyming – See what you can do or try the Rhymezone website.
Letter Play – What happens when you remove some vowels or make the Cs into Ks?
Merge – Can you blend two ideas or parts of the business? Two names?
Day in the Life. Walk through the experience of your product with intricate detail. What’s it made of? What service do you provide? How does it work? At each stage, jot down words or ideas you may create into a name.
Once you have a good, long list, it’s time to blend and narrow down. Cross out any that you just don’t like or are confusing. Then vote on your favorites. It is really that simple. Live with them for a few days and see how they work.
RESEARCH A LITTLE. Take your top couple of names and see if they are available. You will have to register with your state so check and make sure the name isn’t taken. You should also check for the url on websites like Earthlink or GoDaddy. If the URL is taken, you might have to get a little creative to use a name you love so consider adding an extension to the beginning or end, or using .org, or .net. We also like to check the meaning in UrbanDictionary, just in case we stumbled into something inappropriate. Finally, scroll through social media a bit and make sure you can use your name there.
EVERYONE DOESN’T HAVE TO LIKE YOUR NAME. It is really best that you like it but when you start asking friends, don’t be overly concerned if they don’t. We recommend asking a few other questions when evaluating a new name… Do you understand it? Is it easy to say and remember? Does it connect to the business idea? Getting “yes” to these questions is far more telling than if someone likes it.
HAVE FUN. You’ve decided to start your own business and this is the first step. Enjoy it and don’t be too stressed. Some of our favorite, most successful brands have really crazy names- but they meant something to their creators, and that is what matters!