Coming up with a business name

Whether you decide to operate your business as a sole trader or limited company, coming up with a name for your fledgling business is necessary.

Although it may seem like a trivial decision, for many businesses coming up with a business name may take days, even weeks, to come up with a company name they’re happy with.

By naming a company, you decide its identity, personality, and eventually its future. The decision of coming up with a company name should be taken with extreme care and clarity as every aspect of your business future depends on it.

No, I haven’t heard of it.” & “No, I don’t like this name.” are common phrases among customers who are asked to buy a product of a new brand. Below are a few simple tips to help you come up with a company name.

Short & Easy to Remember

People tend to forget names which are unrelated, difficult to remember, and/or are long. Although your brain’s capacity to store information is unlimited, it still faces challenges in retaining information such as names because of many reasons. These include:

  • Relatedness;
  • Not in their own language;
  • Difficult to understand, etc.

Even though most of you must have read about the full form of BMW, very less would actually remember it; just because it’s too hard to remember. Keep your business name short and easy to remember. Trying to include too much information in the name could hinder memorability, fluidity of speech, and catchiness.

Coming up with your company name

To make this fraught process a little easier, below are some quick simple, methods for coming up with a company name.

The “name + profession” method

Solid, uncomplicated, and matter-of-fact, this method may be a little dry but it’ll do the job. Simply take your name, append what you do to it, and Bob’s your uncle.

The “sector + animal name” method

If you’re after something a little more fun, the addition of a random animal can work wonders for your company. Just remember to choose an animal that people like – nobody will want to hire a company with a name like Dung Beetle Consulting!

The portmanteau method

If you’re a modern social media whiz kid, more adeptly your business name should have a suitably future-proof name. Inventing new words that will make people’s eyes pop out in wonder, compared with using tired old words.
You can also combine words to describe professions, in the same manner used by Disney whom invented the phrase ‘Imagineers’. Web designer who also does some Consultancy? You, my friend, can be called a ‘Web Consultigner’. Photographer by day but Engineer by night? Is it timely to register Enginography Ltd.

The awesome word method

Looking for a business name that screams authority, simplicity and a difficult-to-buy domain name? Simply choose a short, snappy verb or adjective and you’ll be set.

The “ideas above your station” method

Ambition is a great thing to have; indeed, it’s a necessity. In the same way that employment coaches will tell you to dress for the job you want, not the job you have, you might feel like naming your company based on what you hope it will grow into, rather than what it is now.
For example, “The Website Mega-Warehouse International Ltd.” sounds far more impressive than “East Swindon Web Design” – just be careful you don’t get carried away.

The “what do you do again?” method

You’ll want your business including its name to be cool, enigmatic and elusive? The kind of business that operates from a top-floor office in the City of London, and always earns loads of cash. If this is the kind of image you want to portray. Names like “[blank] Solutions” or “The [blank] Group” can be your friend. It might seem a little confusing for people who’ve never heard of your name before, but let’s be honest, they probably couldn’t afford your fees, could they?

Other things to consider when naming a company

Brevity – A simple rule, keep your name to no more than two syllables and no more than ten letters. A simple name is not only easier to remember therefore easier to search for on internet.

Discoverability – Organic brand searches (when someone types the name of your business into a search engine therefore lands directly on your website) can bring in between 10 and 50% of traffic to the average company website. Your name has not only be easy to spell and dis-similar to other results, otherwise you could lose potential visitors.

Do a simple internet search before you decide on a company name to see what competition you’ll have in search engine results – if there are some big, established companies it now might be time to have rethink.

Connection – Your name should evoke some sort of connection or understanding. A great example of this is PayPal, which does both – ‘Pay’ tells me what it does and ‘Pal’ evokes the idea of a relationship.

Company Naming Do’s and Don’ts

If you’re trying to come up with something wacky or unusual to call your business, here are some simple Do’s and Don’ts that you can easily follow ensuring you don’t get too carried away.

DO’S

  • misspell the name – It might just be worthwhile to slightly misspelling a word instead of having to pay someone off for a domain. There are plenty of good examples of this, includingFlickr,Reddit and Digg.
  • use exotic domain extensions – The .com craze has  saturated the market and now there are loads of others to choose from .take, to .fm. More and more Top-level Domains are becoming available every year, giving you a better chance to come up with a perfect name for your company name.
  • test your ideas – Ask your friends and family what they think of the name. Could you create a survey and gauge popular opinion using social media platforms? Or you could take it a step further and go out in public and ask people on the street what they think. After all, it’s them that you have to impress.

DON’Ts

  • make the spelling too irregular – It’s possible to take creativity too far. Take, for example, oooooc.com, what does it tell you about its service?  It’s also pretty impossible to remember, who’s going to remember how many ‘o’s there are?
  • be careless with your URLs – Think how they look, and how people might misread them. In underlined links, ‘g’ and ‘q’ look similar – could this possibly confuse people? Be alert, or you may end up like the unfortunate owners of whorepresents.com or penisland.net.
  • overthink it – Although your business name does matter, the perfect option might not be out there. It’s best to choose a name that you feel comfortable with and can get behind the one you were forced to choose by following set of rules (such as these!).

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