One of the most important things your new business needs is a name. Your business’ name will often be the very first thing your customers see, and the very first impression you make on any potential customers.
Endeavor to select a name that says something about you and your business that people in your target market will remember easily. If the name conjures up an easily recalled mental image, so much the better! This can be especially true on the World Wide Web where competition is fierce, and you really can’t bank on anyone bookmarking your site or adding it to her or his favorite’s list.
In the everyday brick and mortar world, a good basic idea is to simply use your last name followed by what you do. For example, Smith’s Lawnmower Sales and Repair or Jones’ Heating and Air are suitable. They are also easy to remember. You might also consider expanding the name by adding the town where your business is located. For example, you could use Smith’s St. Louis Lawnmower Sales and Repair.
Another avenue of thought might be to leave out your personal name entirely and simply become Tulsa Heating and Air. This makes you sound like the first choice locally and will make it easy for you to target your potential local customers. However, if you’re in a business with lots of competition, be sure to check with the proper authorities in your city, county, or state to make sure the name is not already registered to someone else’s business.
If you are going to be a business-to-business service provider or vendor, you might want to consider a more corporate sounding name. Think of a word to describe your business, and then add the word “Consulting.” I know, people are tired of consultants, but it will nevertheless work better with business-to-business customers and vendors.
If you’re pursuing an even trendier market, you might consider choosing a less formal name. For example, you might want to name your business after an animal, and incorporate that animal into your logo. If you don’t have a large marketing budget, a logo is an excellent way to get started branding your business. Be sure to have your logo professionally designed. It’s going to become your public face! Branding can be incredibly important for your future success. For example, look at the Government Employees Insurance Company – GEICO. GEICO utilizes that cute sounding gecko for virtually all its commercials now. What do you remember when you think of car insurance? Well, you might also think of Allstate. Are you in good hands? Yes, a catchy, attention-grabbing phrase is also an excellent way to identify your business to the public!
You can also employ a very short name or acronym. Take two or three words that describe your business, and shorten them to create one new word or acronym. So you end up with IHOP (International House of Pancakes) or IBM (International Business Machines) or P&G (Procter & Gamble)… This is a terrific way to express what your business does without anyone having a hard time remembering your business’ name. Even better, it makes for a great, easy to remember, and easy to type URL (web address).
Inevitably, for some businesses finding a good fit will be nearly impossible. In that event, you’ll just have to play with combinations of words until you come up with a name that sounds right and fits your business. If you do it well enough, it will be completely unique to your business. In fact, that’s not such a bad idea!
Another thing you might try is going to one or two of the web sites which show you the current keyword phrases that are being searched for in your product line or field. You could also google some appropriate keywords, and check the results pages for ideas.
Caveat – whatever name you select, invent, or decide on should be 1) easy to remember 2) easy to pronounce, 3) easy to type and 3) easy to spell. Also, as mentioned earlier, ensure that no one else has a prior claim on your new name. Do that before you do any advertising or logo design work. You certainly don’t want to design and build a web site around someone else’s name!
It is a good idea to bounce your planned name off a few other people to make sure it really is suitable. One good way to do this is to post a note inappropriate internet newsgroups, or in a business-oriented online forum.
Finally, after you have made a choice, sleep on it for a few days to make absolutely sure it is the right choice. Sometimes a couple of days make a big difference in your thinking and in your perception.