So, you’ve got a great business idea and you’re ready to start making money off it – but, first, you’re going to need a company name. It sounds easy, right? But there’s a lot more to it than you may have thought.
Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the things you should keep in mind before taking the plunge and registering your new business name.
1. Know Your Audience
Before you do anything else, make sure you know exactly who your business is selling to. The last thing you want to do is choose a name that’ll inadvertently alienate some, or all, of your target demographic. Although it should go without saying, avoid anything controversial or divisive, and aim for a name that’s going to allow you to maximize your earning potential among customers.
2. Research the Competition
While copying your competitors is something you want to avoid, it’s always a good idea to compile a document that dissects their naming conventions. Examine the names of the most successful companies in your space and see if you can find a common trend. Do they feature technical sounding names? Do they feel “friendly” or “inviting”? By figuring out what has been proven to work within your market, you can avoid making branding errors that could come back to haunt you in the future.
3. Be Creative & Think Outside the Box
Giving your company a name that’s too similar to your competitors, or companies in other spaces, can prove disadvantageous. A memorable name is a great marketing tool, and if you can think outside the box, adding some creative flair into your process, your company will stand out from the competition.
4. But Not TOO Far Outside the Box…
The flip side of thinking outside the box is that it’s possible to take things too far. If you’re a media company, make sure to tag on a focus word like “media” or “productions” to let everyone know what you do. Using this technique can turn even the most abstract of names into a memorable, and sensible, moniker.
5. Make Sure Your Company Name is Easy to Spell
If you’re opting for a company name that’s a little out there, make sure it spells like it sounds. It might seem like a great idea to use a “ph” instead of an “f”, but unless it’s absolutely necessary, that might cause confusion for potential customers trying to find you online. The same goes for complicated words, or use of numbers instead of letters. Always put yourself into the shoes of your audience, and ask whether or not your name is as clear as possible, and that the spoken version of it lines up with the written version.
6. Don’t Limit Yourself with Your Company Name
If your business is starting off life as a graphic design studio, for example, but you have aspirations to transition into a fully-featured agency, make sure your name doesn’t create unnecessary hurdles down the line. Avoid making declarations in your name that may not accurately represent your company down the line, and always employ a little foresight before committing to a final name.
7. Make Sure the Company Name and Domain is Available
Once you’ve come up with some candidates you’re happy with, the next step is to find out which ones are available, both in terms of registered company names and online domains. When choosing a domain name, you want it to be as clear and concise as possible; and nothing works better than your company name. Try to avoid descriptive suffixes for your domain wherever possible because, as noted in point 6 above, the scope and actions of your company can be fluid over time. Boxing yourself in with a rash decision is never a good idea.
8. Have Alternatives
Never set your heart on just one potential name – always be open to several possibilities going into the final decision making process. There are many reasons why your favoured name simply isn’t workable when you get down to the nitty gritty of choosing, such as unavailable domains, similarly named competitors or even unwanted associations with other brands (particularly ones active in markets that could prove damaging to your reputation).
9. Get External Feedback
It’s always a good idea to get a second (and third, and fourth) opinion on your company name before you commit to it. The experiences and knowledge of others can prove invaluable when it comes to avoiding potentially embarrassing or damaging errors in judgment. The more people you speak with, the more effective the feedback will be. Try not to limit yourself to people involved with your company, target audience or industry, and instead spread things around. You never know what you might have missed, and the more perspectives you have, the better. One good tip here is to involve a friend or acquaintance who has a tendency to see innuendo in everything (we’ve all got a buddy like that!) – and if they can’t find a way to twist your proposed names into something uncouth, then you’re on the right track!
10. Don’t Rush It
No matter how long the process takes, it’s better to get it right first time than be faced with the prospect of a complete brand overhaul after launch. Not only can this prove to be incredibly costly, it also runs the risk of confusing existing and potential customers.
If you’re drawing a blank, or simply want an impartial third party to offer their expert opinion, Boundless Productions’ team of branding gurus is always here to help. To schedule a meeting with us, please call 1877.617.2811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org now.