How to Create Great Name for Your Business

How to Create Great Name for Your Business

In the life of every business founder there is a magical moment. This is when you have to create a name for your business. If you’ve ever gave name to your child, you know how strong this moment can be. This moment is also important because it is hard to fix if you screw it up. So, in order to help you avoid any mistakes I will share with you couple methods and tips. Use this information to create unique name for your business and will naturally stand out.

Brand Name and Struggles on the Way

Before we dive into individual tactics you can use to create name for your business, we have to make one thing clear. The name you will settle with will with time, hopefully, become a brand. You should take this into account. Once the name will be established, you will have a hard time to change it. So, don’t rush this step. Think about it like about giving name to your child. I guess you wouldn’t do that in five minutes. You would probably take couple days or weeks to consider different options. You would also consult every choice with your partner.

Do the same thing when it comes to create name for your business. Consider many options and gather feedback from people close to you. Having said that, I don’t want to make you think that you have to abandon ideas you already have and like. Not at all. What I want to suggest is that you had listen to the feedback of these people. What you are looking for are any cues that the name for your business might have some issues. For example, is it hard to pronounce it? Is it hard to remember? Is it even hard to read it? Any of these cues can be reason to pivot and look for different name for your business. Or not?

Well, sometimes these cues can actually be a benefit. Although the name you chose can be hard to pronounce or remember, it will be also harder to forget once it will get to people’s memory. For example, have you ever heard about German digestif Jägermeister? What about Hoegaarden or Comme des Garcons? All of these examples are very difficult to just read on the first try. However, once you get that step right and create relationship to that brand, its name will be hard-coded to your memory. Complexity of these names also makes them unique and automatically stand out.

Difficult or Easy

So, should you go with something easier or difficult? My answer is it depends. If you are willing to take the risk and choose more difficult and complex word or phrase as a name for your business, do that. Just keep in mind that it will take more time until it will get momentum. You will have to give people more time to get used to it and memorize it. Fortunately, if your products are first-class, this shouldn’t be a problem. On the other hand, if you are relying on early momentum, you had better stick to something easy and simple. Do you remember Apple or Sony?

The last thing I want you to keep in mind is to take your time and don’t rush this step. Changing name of your brand and business is not easy. What’s more, it happens often that when you change the name of your brand, you will lose part of your customer base. Said, but truth. You will need to let your current customers memorize your new name. Here is the catch, people don’t like changes. In a fact, they hate them. So, any change smaller or bigger will only make your customers and fans uncomfortable. Some of them will also start to speculate about what’s the reason for change. This can end up very badly. So, take time and chose the best name for your business on the first try.

Takeaway: Creating a name for your business is not something you do in five minutes. Otherwise, you might regret it.

Giving Business Your Name

This tactic is one of my favorite ones, for two reasons. First, when you want to use your own name – first, middle or last – as a name for your business it tells me you are serious. It tells me you are in it for a long haul. People who want to build a business only to make an exit would never use their own name. It would make reaching their goal harder. Also, these people are also often afraid of failure. And, when you screw it up while leading business under your own name, your reputation goes down with it. Remember that building reputation is hard, not to mention resuscitating it.

Second reason why I like the idea of using your own name as a name for your business is your willingness to put your reputation on the table. You are basically saying that you believe in your business and you are willing to bet your name on it. If this describes you and your intentions, I already like you and wish you the best. Anyway, using your name as a name your business is a serious decision. If you fail and make enemies along the way, remember that you’re working under your name. You are basically going all in. You are betting everything you have on one hand. Are you willing to risk it?

On the other hand, if you succeed it will transform your name to brand. What’s more, when you will want to expand your business you can use the recognition and reputation you gained to accelerate your new venture. One great example of how this works is Virgin. This brand includes so many companies it i hard to count them. When new company is created under the wings of established and respected brand, people automatically suppose it’s reliable. This gives that company much better starting position. What if company fail? There is still high number of previous successes so the brand will be able to survive it.

Although this will be applicable only after you establish your business as a brand, it’s still reachable. The question is whether you are willing to take the risk and work for it. The thing is that it will take a lot of time. The brighter side is that, when you succeed, the benefits will be worth it. Just remember to never put your reputation at risk. Once you lose it, you will have a hard time to bring it back. So, never gamble with it.

Takeaway: Using your name as a name for your business will send a clear signal that you believe in what you do.

Using Existing Words

One of the most often used tactics you can choose to create name for your business is going with already existing words. This tactic is very safe and doesn’t require a lot of effort or creativity. All you need is couple minutes, pen, paper and dictionary. Next step is to brainstorm all the words related to your business and industry you are in. Your goal is to come up with as many words as possible. To unleash your creativity you can set a timer. Doing so will also help you avoid judging your ideas. And, don’t limit yourself only to words directly related, write down also synonyms and antonyms. This can make the name for your business more distinct and memorable.

When your list will contain at least fifty words (twenty-five for amateurs, one hundred for hustlers) you can move to phase number two. In this phase, your goal is to eliminate useless words and words that are too far-fetched. How to make the words on your list more resonating with what you do, and to name your business appropriately? Think about what do you want your business to represent. Meaning, think about what your brand should stand for. What are your core principles and values? What is your company’s mission statement?

What will happen if the words you used to create name for your business are not resonating with your principles? You will create unconscious tension and your customers will acknowledge it. They will feel that something is wrong here. They might not know what it is, but that feeling will be there. And, once that feeling is present it is hard to get rid of it. So, before you decide make sure the word or words you chose play well with your brand. That being said, you should also check if the word or words don’t have any other meaning in different countries or cultures.

Takeaway: Using existing words is a safe method to create name for you business. Just make sure it resonates with your brand and check twice that it doesn’t have any unexpected meaning in different cultures or countries.

Creating Shortcuts

Next useful tactic to name your business and make it unique is to use shortcuts. Shortcuts are great way to create name for your business. They allow your creativity to go as far as you want while forcing some constraints on it. They are also great for sparking new ideas. Why? Even if you don’t consider yourself a creativity machine, you can use shortcuts to overcome this. How? When you are running empty on words of your own choice, there is nothing easier than taking established brand names and shortening them.

You can also take more than one, shorten those words or only one of them and combine them. For example, think about Microsoft. Its combination of the words “microprocessor“ and “software”. Or, think about Swatch. This name is combination of “second” and “watch”. Or, obligatory, Instagram. In that case, the words is a portmanteau of “instant camera” and “telegram”. All of these examples are showing how easy and simple it can be. All you need is an idea of what your business does and then come up with words that are related to it.

The last tip related to shortcut method is to create a name for your business by combining your own name with industry related term. That way, you can transform your own name into a brand while keeping subconscious bond with the industry your business operates in. Another thing, if you have a co-founder, is to combine your names. In the end, you are partners. So, why don’t make it official by baptism of your company? It will be also a nifty trick to know how determined your co-founder is. Who knows, maybe it will force you to reconsider your choice.

Takeaway: Creating name for your business with shortcuts is simple. Take words related to your business, shorten them and combine them. You will be surprised with ideas you will create!

Using Anagrams

Another option to name your business you can use is to pick your two or more favorite words and create an anagram. If you ever played Scrabble, you know what anagrams are. Anyway, anagram is an activity in which you are rearranging letters of word or words to form new words. After shortcut method, this is another easy and relatively quick way create name for your business. Unlike with shortcuts, you are more limited. You can work only with letters that are available – present in the word or words you chose. However, that doesn’t mean that it will be less enjoyable or creative. Rather the opposite.

Many creative professionals will confirm that its actually through constraints and limitations how great work is created. By limiting yourself, you have to improvise and do as much as you can with tools available. One way to use anagram method is to pick one or more words related to your business, just like in shortcut method and rearrange the letters. You can transform this into a brainstorming session. Prepare pen and paper or computer, set the timer and unleash your creativity. Write every idea that will come to your mind without judging it until the time run out.

I forgot to mention one tip in previous method about shortcuts. Fortunately, I recommend it for anagrams as well. This tip is about asking people and getting feedback on ideas you created as a name for your business. Specifically, look for feedback related to complexity of your ideas. As we discussed in the “Brand Name and Struggles on the Way” part, more complex names will be harder for people to remember and stick. However, as we discussed in the “Difficult or Easy” part, with patience and effort, you can turn complexity into advantage. Again, it only depends on you.

Takeaway: Anagrams are a little bit trickier than shortcuts and much less used. Despite the constraints, anagrams can help you create unique name for your business.

Short is Memorable

The last tip I would like to share with you is that regardless of what method will you use, try to keep your ideas short. Keep in mind that shorter names are easier to remember. Shorter names can save you some money on marketing materials. You will need less colors and area to print your logo. Shorter name will also give you more space for the future in case you will decide to expand your business into other industries. Unfortunately, I can’t give you any number of characters you should aim for. Just make sure it is easy to read, at least on the second try.

Closing Thoughts on How to Create Name for Your Business

Creating name for your business is important step on your journey to establish your new venture. Enjoy it and take time to consider all options. Remember that this is not that part where you would want to make a mistake. Make sure your brand name resonates with you and your business. The last words of wisdom to leave you with? Keep it short, simple and memorable. Now, get back to work, hustle hard and stay humble!

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By Alex Devero

I'm Founder/CEO of DEVERO Corporation. Entrepreneur, designer, developer. My mission and MTP is to accelerate the development of humankind through technology.

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