Coming up with a name for your business can be one of the more exciting aspects of entrepreneurship. You'll want to put thought and consideration into your name and be secure in your choice. With the right name, you can attract and secure customers for years to come.
The best name should help represent you and your business helping you establish your presence in your target market. When I first got started and my newsletter started to attract more followers, I wanted my name to somehow involve travel but still reflect who I am. After much consideration and research into what would work from a marketing standpoint as well as ensuring I was unique with my choice, Johnny Jet was born.
Here are a few items to take into consideration when developing your brand name.
1. Make a list of options in different categories.
When I first started out, one of my friends suggested I make a list of at least 10 different names in several categories including names that represent what my business will do, names that are a play on my name, names about what I want my business to eventually be, and catchy phrases. I admit, I never came up with over 40 names as my friend suggested, but I did give myself time to think.
Ideas started popping into my head at random times, mostly when I was driving. I recommend giving yourself time to brainstorm ideas and not put pressure on having your idea. For me, it was about two weeks of going back and forth with name ideas before 'Johnny Jet' stuck.
2. Say the names aloud.
Once you've got a solid list going, say the names aloud. Do they roll off the tongue easily? Are they easy to pronounce? Could they be mixed up with something else?
Have a few trusted friends or family members also say the names aloud to not only hear it from someone else but also to gauge how easily the names are said. This can be especially helpful if you are a fan of alliteration (ex. Chuck E. Cheese, Weight Watchers, PayPal, etc.). Consider how the name will sound when said over different mediums.
3. Think of the future.
As exciting as it is to think about what your business will bring to the market, don't neglect to think about what your business could potentially be. Having a very specific name or image may end up hurting your business later. For instance, don't limit yourself to a name like "Cupcakes for Cambridge" if you eventually hope to expand out of the Boston area.
Thinking of the future is especially important if you're in the tech business or in a market that is constantly changing. I liked Johnny Jet because it was a play on my name but it also was vague enough to include different aspects of travel. A business plan that has been thought out beforehand can help you navigate your ideas and give you a sense of what you would like your future to be.
4. Avoid only using initials or uncommon spellings of words.
For most businesses, using only initials will not help your business stand out. Additionally, names that have omitted letters or that have a mix of numbers and letters may be confusing and hard to remember. There's a good chance that potential clients and consumers will conduct an internet search of your name. Having too many variables may be discouraging.
5. Check the internet.
When I was first starting out, people didn't have as much of an online presence as they do now. Still, I'd recommend doing a search to see if anyone else is already using the name you want to use. A search on USPTO.gov and on Google Ads can help you check if your name or one similar to yours has been trademarked.
Once you've settled on a name and determined that it isn't already in use, I recommend securing a .com domain. This name will be a major decision for your business and follow you into the future. Therefore, taking your time and thinking of different aspects is a good idea.