« Previous Article Next Article »

How to Name Your New Business

| 06.20.2013 |

The birth of every new business starts with the age-old question: What do we call ourselves? Entrepreneurs sit around tables in coffee shops, cafes, bars and offices, trying to come up with a business name that will stand out in the marketplace, reach the target market, be clear about what the business is all about, and still be interesting. Oh, and it has to sound catchy, too.


Unfortunately, many new businesses end up with sad, boring, unoriginal, uninteresting, weird or flat-out bad names. But you can put all of that aside - here's everything you need to know to come up with an awesome name for your business.


Step 1: Know Your Target Market.  First, you have to know who you're talking to. Who do you want to do business with? Once you get that narrowed down to a real description, then find out everything you can about that audience, especially what keeps them up at night.


Step 2: Know the Right Words. When you're thinking about your brand, you want to think about how you want that brand represented. So list out the words you want associated with your company. You're looking for adjectives like trustworthy, strong, fun, exciting, personable, and warm, for example. Use a thesaurus to come up with synonyms of the words and then add any other words that you think you might want to include in the name of your business, industry-related words. So if you were opening a sewing shop, for example, you'd want to add words like "stitch" and "needle" and "thimble."


Step 3: Mix It Up. Once you have your list of words, write each word on a 3x5 card and mix and match the words to come up with various combinations. See what inspires you. Remember that brand names don't have to make sense - they just have convey the right meaning to your target market.


Step 4: Ask the Right People for Input. Asking friends and family for help can often yield terrible results, largely because you're looking to people who are just as inexperienced at branding as you probably are. Plus, they may not be in your target market. So, for example, let's say you're coming up with a name for a business that has a target market that is decidedly female. Asking your husband for feedback probably won't yield useful results. Instead, ask people who are in your target market for their feedback on your favorite three names.


Step 5: Be Patient and Walk Away. Naming a business is one of the more challenging aspects of the start-up process. So don't get discouraged if the name doesn't come right away. In fact, if you get frustrated, just walk away from the process and do something completely unrelated. Some of the best business names come when you're not even thinking about it.


Step 6: Know When to Seek Help. Naming your business is so important that if you get the name wrong, your business really will suffer. If you know when you're so far outside of your element that you aren't the best person for the job, then you should find help from marketing and business strategy professionals. Sometimes, that is hard for entrepreneurs to do. But, ultimately, that can be one of the wisest decisions that you will ever make.


Susan Baroncini-Moe, is the author of Business in Blue Jeans: How to Have a Successful Business on Your Own Terms, in Your Own Style (Sound Wisdom, June 2013). She is online at http://www.businessinbluejeans.com.