How to Name Your Business: Introduction
Welcome! In this guide, we outline ten essential tips to show you how to name your business.
Business owners have a wide variety of views on naming. Some of them spend six months finalizing their choice. Others may finish their search in 10 minutes. Since you’re reading this article, my guess is that you fall somewhere in between.
Choosing the right business name is essential as you launch your new business. Your business name will appear on your website, business cards, legal documents, and more.
If you decide to choose a new name at some point, it will cost you time and money.
You’ll have to rebrand your website, order new business cards, and create new legal documents. On top of that, your customers will have to remember you by a new name.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go crazy learning how to name your business. Instead, follow our naming tips below to pick a great business name!
Before You Get Started: There’s an Easier Way to Do All of This
Figuring out how to name your business can be stressful. The thought of wasting time and energy on naming can be frustrating.
If you’re interested in a comprehensive naming solution, get full access to our premium name generator for just $47 by clicking here.
We’re confident that it’s by far the best name generator on the market. Using it, you’ll find names that would legitimately be worth $2,000+ on resale sites. We also included several bonuses, including a naming mini-course. Click here to see exactly what you’ll get!
Now, let’s get started with the ten tips!
Tip #1: Don’t Worry If You Have to Use a Modified Domain Name
Finding a great domain name is getting harder by the day. As of this writing, there are over 370 million registered domains. That represents more than one domain for every person in the United States!
There are great unregistered domains available. I found one for NameBounce, and I considered several other exact-match domain options.
While an exact-match domain is awesome, it isn’t essential for your new business.
Almost every new business owner struggles to find an exact-match domain. As a result, many business owners are starting to use domain name modifiers.
Businesses as large as Tesla and Dropbox used modifiers in their domain names. Tesla used TeslaMotors.com, while Dropbox used GetDropbox.com.
You don’t want to compromise on your business name to get a domain name. Pick a fantastic business name, then find a domain that fits. Don’t stress yourself out over this!
TIP #2: Don’t Sleep on Alternative Domain Extensions
We believe that alternative domain extensions will become more popular over time.
The number of registered domain names is forcing business owners to start utilizing different extensions. As a result, these extensions will begin to become more recognized in the eyes of customers.
Only 40% of registered domains use the .com extension. Some extensions within that remaining 60% may be just as valuable for your business. Here are some of the best domain extensions to choose from:
- Country code extensions (such as .co.uk, .in, and .nl). If you do business in a specific country, a country code extension could be better than a .com.
- .org. This extension is the best option if you are looking to start a non-profit. Some for-profit businesses (like Craigslist) also use the .org extension.
- .net. Customers trust this extension as a secondary alternative to .com. If you choose a .net extension, consider keeping the .net extension in your company name (like media.net).
TIP #3: Pick a Name That Will Fit Your Future Growth
You don’t want to pick a name that will outgrow your services. To choose a flexible name, you’ll need a pure brandable name (like Amazon) or a hybrid name that hints at what you do (like DoorDash).
Name flexibility is essential if you think your business model will evolve. For example, DoorDash’s name fits any delivery business. But GrubHub’s name limits its delivery service to food only. Of course, they could add more services, but their name wouldn’t make sense.
Descriptive names can work fine too! Sometimes it’s better to niche down. For example, Dropbox exactly describes what the company does. Customers need less added context to understand the service. But if you pick one, it helps to be confident that your services will fit the name.
TIP #4: Showcase Your Brand Personality in Your Name
When you’re starting a new business, it’s essential to pick a name and brand that stands out.
Let’s say you’re starting a photography studio in a big city. There are likely dozens of other photographers in the same area. How do you stand out?
Of course, you can stand out with your services. For example, you might specialize in family portraits, weddings, or corporate headshots. In addition, you could offer innovative pricing packages.
Another way to stand out is by having a creative business name that communicates your company’s brand personality.
Just like humans, the best brands have personalities. Your brand could be fun (like NameBounce), trustworthy (like Bank of America), or funny (like Geico). Or a combination of multiple personality traits!
It’s essential to communicate your brand and differentiate yourself in the marketplace. By having a name that fits with your brand personality, your business will stand out!
TIP #5: Try to Pick a Concise Name
Quick, which word is easier to remember and say out loud? Apple or Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?
If you pick a short, easy-to-pronounce name, your customers will have a much easier time remembering it. And it is much more likely to grab their attention.
Of course, longer names can work great too. But in general, shorter is better. I generally recommend trying to keep your name under 15 total letters.
TIP #6: Pick a Business Name That is Easy to Spell and Say
If you pick a name that’s easy to spell and say out loud, you’re in business. People will be much more likely to 1) write about and 2) talk about your business.
The spelling doesn’t have to be COMPLETELY intuitive. For example, someone could spell Celevolt (on our name generator sales page) as “Celavolt.” But if I had to spell it to someone, I would say “C-e-l-e-volt.” Easy enough. Almost every name will need to be spelled out sometimes.
But if your name is long AND challenging to spell (like Profilactic), forget about it.
TIP #7: Make a Brainstorming List
When you brainstorm names, make sure to note down any ideas that you think have potential.
You’ll want to be as creative as possible during the brainstorming stage. It’s essential not to stifle your creativity by keeping 100 different name ideas in your head.
Using NameBounce, creating a brainstorming list is easy. Click a star next to a name, and we’ll add it to the favorites list on the right side of the page. Make sure that you write the names down elsewhere if you are clearing your browser’s cookies!
TIP #8: Understand Your Business Before You Start Brainstorming
If you were to hire a corporate naming agency, they would ask you to fill out a questionnaire called a naming brief.
A naming brief is a short document that helps you understand your business, customers, and naming goals.
Your naming brief doesn’t have to be fancy or extensive. Our Business Naming Toolkit (which complements our name generator) contains a 9-question naming brief.
You don’t want to bog yourself down by answering 50 questions. Instead, focus on developing a high-level understanding of your business. You want to make sure that your name fits your future with the business. And you want to make sure that it fits your target audience.
TIP #9: Check Trademark Availability
One essential part of learning how to name your business is to understand how trademarks work.
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design that distinguishes goods and services in the marketplace.
Trademark disputes are expensive. You don’t want to change your name because it infringes on a trademark.
After you determine your final few name candidates, I recommend running a trademark search.
In Our Business Naming Toolkit, we show you several steps that you can take to screen your names yourself. The first step is to complete a direct-hit trademark search on Trademarkia or with the USPTO.
In the course, we will show you some fantastic deals on comprehensive trademark searches. A comprehensive search will tell you if your name is safe to use.
As a side note, if you’re in the United States, there’s a way to protect your name without a formal trademark registration. That way is through the use of the “TM” or “SM” symbol.
Unlike the ® symbol, using TM or SM has limited legal significance. But these symbols are helpful as a credibility indicator for customers. And they will discourage other people from using your brand name.
TIP #10: Give it Time, But Get the Domain Name ASAP
It’s essential to take your time and make the right business name decision. But you’ll want to keep in mind that there are over 350 million registered domain names, and that number increases by the day.
If you find a great available domain name, it’s important to remember that anyone in the world can register it.
Domain names are affordable relative to what they are worth to businesses. That’s one of the reasons why you see domain investors park and hold domains.
If you think of a good domain name idea that you believe has potential, try to register it as soon as possible.
Registering a domain name doesn’t mean you should stop your name brainstorming process. If you end up choosing another domain name, you can register a new one and point your website hosting account to it. You can drop the domain that you didn’t use after it expires.
BONUS: Use a Business Name Generator!
Finding a business name manually can take a long time. We had over 100 name ideas in a spreadsheet before building our business name generator!
Using a tool like NameBounce, you can generate thousands of free business name ideas in a few seconds. If you spend 30 minutes searching on NameBounce, you’ll have dozens of great ideas that you wouldn’t think of otherwise.
On top of that, you don’t have to worry about finding a business name with a matching available domain name. By using a business name generator with built-in domain availability checks, you will know that the matching domain name is available!
Check out our business name generator here. Type in a word or two, and you’ll get hundreds of business name ideas in a few seconds!
How to Name Your Business: Conclusion
Hopefully, you have a much better idea of how to name your business! The tips above will make it much easier for you to find a memorable name.
Ready to get started with your naming process?