You business name is the same as your pitch. It will follow your business around forever and will always be associated with your service – good or bad. In some ways, potential customers will immediately judge your business just by your name. If your name sounds old-fashioned, customers shy away and head towards competitors or well-known brands instead. On the other hand, if your name sounds interesting, customers will check your services out even if they’re not intent on buying. As a business owner, you should know the importance of generating interest and creating chances for sales.
This is why your business name should be given much thought, not just something that happens at random. Gone are the days when people used abbreviations about family members’ name or simple words. Competition in the business industry is as brutal as ever. If you’re not careful, you’ll be left behind before your business can take off. Here are some things to remember when you’re choosing your business name.
Easy to Pronounce
Company names that are easier to pronounce become catchy in their own sense. Take for example Coca-Cola or Walmart. Aside from being easier to pronounce, they also sound good when people say it out aloud. Going for a name that sounds like it’s a tongue twister would make it hard for people to pronounce or remember. With just that difficult name, you’ve already turned off potential customers and given yourself bad publicity. In some cases, customers even give you a nickname to make it easier for them to pronounce. Bear in mind that these nicknames might not be so nice and drive your reputation to the ground.
Give it Meaning
Make sure that when people hear your business name, they already have an idea what your business is about. It doesn’t have to be very smart or unique, just make sure that it’s understandable and carries your personal identity. Being too generic will make it too broad and lead to confusion. For example, naming your chicken restaurant “Chicken and Beer” will give it a very clear definition but make it also too generic. In some countries you might get away with it, but if people aren’t that impressed with your name, it loses its purpose.
Don’t Abbreviate Unnecessarily
A decade ago, business names and websites that abbreviated “you” into “u” or removed the letter “e” in their names started popping up. At first it was catchy and some eventually became popular like Flickr. Fast forward to the present, such names belong to an out-dated category and make it seem like your business is being run by an old-fashioned organization. In addition to turning customers off, it also makes it harder for potential customers to search for your business online. When they have to think twice or thrice if your name is spelled with a “for” or “4”, they won’t bother and simply move on to your competitor.
Test it Out
Before you decide on your business name, give it a test run. Ask your friends or colleagues if they think it’s catchy, easy to pronounce, and what is the first thing that comes into their mind when they hear that name. Remember that what might seem like a smart name for you could be considered tacky for others.
In addition, you can also test it out by using it in search engines. You will have a picture about what customers will see when they look for your website. What you’re selling might be different from the other stores in the results page, but it paints an overall picture for your business. If the customer doesn’t know anything about your business and they see that it’s bunched together with offensive or graphic sites, they will associate your site with those and leave immediately.
Using acronyms are also an out-dated style. Yes, big companies like 3M and IBM got away with it. But that’s because they started decades ago and have been around for a long time, they’re associated as household brands already. Unless you’re willing to spend billions just to get your business to take off, stick to simple names first.
If your business names involve 3 words or more, consumers find it easier to call you by an acronym. Keep this in mind when you’re choosing those words. It might sound good on paper, but when it becomes an acronym it might be dangerous instead. For example, American Telephone and Telegraph was called AT&T by their customers and that name has stuck for a long time. In another case, a business name like Awesome Seaside Services might result in an undesirable nickname.
Avoid Riding Other Company’s Names
For those lacking in creativity, it can be easy to simply copy a big company’s name or add a few words to it. This will give the illusion that you’re somehow connected to that company and draw in customers easily. Once customers find out though that you’re not connected with that business in any way, you’ll lose their trust and you might even land yourself in legal woes.
Don’t Use Telephone Directory Names
In the age of telephone directories, companies would scramble in adding the letter “A” to their names as much as they can (like AAA). This made it easier for customers to search for their phone number in telephone directories and thus boosted their advertising. As you may have already guessed, we’re already past the age of telephone directories and rely on the internet for almost anything. Don’t give the illusion that your start-up business was created 10 or 20 years ago.
Consider Company Growth
In the future, you might want to expand your company in terms of products and services. For your name, don’t mislead customers into thinking that your only a start-up company – forever. For example, if you name your business as Nick’s Barbecue Equipment, it makes it very specific and clear what you sell. However when you include other products and services, people will still associate you with barbecue equipment – nothing more and nothing less.
Consult Linguistic Resources
In many ways, you already have an idea about what your business will do and sell. Converting that into a catchy name can be very difficult and mentally exhausting. A problem with coming up with names is the right word doesn’t suddenly pop into your consciousness. If you’re stuck at this part, consider searching for similar phrases or words to your key service. If you offer repairs for example, you could replace the word “repair” with restore, refurbish, revamp, or fix. Each of these other words is catchy and makes your repair services sound top notch. Consulting a thesaurus can easily solve this dilemma.
Your business name is one of the things that customers notice first. In some cases it might even be more important than your store front or products. These tips for naming your business will point you in the right direction and also help overcome creative blockages in your company. The sooner you get naming your business out of the way, the sooner you can focus on actually running and making money.