How to Name Your Business: Introduction
Welcome! In this guide, our goal is to give you 10 essential tips on 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. By following our naming tips below, you’ll be able 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 and time-consuming. The thought of wasting time and energy on naming can be frustrating.
We created an extensively-tested, one-of-a-kind system that will help you choose a memorable name in record time. It’s called Naming Made Easy!
We designed the course to minimize the thinking you need to do! In the course, we generate business names using free online tools. The tools do the thinking for you. You only have to sit back and pick the names you like.
You can find a name with as little as a few hours of your time. It’s only $97, and if you’re unemployed, you can get it for free. For more detail, check out our Naming Made Easy course page!
Now, let’s get started with the 10 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 350 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 an awesome business name you love, 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. 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: Choose a Brandable or Hybrid Business Name
We break business names into three general categories: descriptive, brandable, or hybrid.
There are a variety of techniques to generate each of these name types. We go through them in Naming Made Easy. But in general, every business name will fall into one of these three categories.
Descriptive names describe what your product or service is. For example, a descriptive name for a freelance design business could be something like SeattleFreelanceDesign.com.
Brandable names don’t communicate what your business does. The upside with these names is that they are flexible if you expand your product and service offerings. Examples of brandable business names include Amazon, Google, and Apple.
Hybrid names include both descriptive and brandable elements. NameBounce is a hybrid name. The word “name” gives some context as to what NameBounce does, while the word “bounce” is a fun, brandable ending word.
We believe that either a brandable or hybrid name is the best choice for most businesses. Descriptive names are harder to trademark, showcase less creativity to customers, and limit the services that you can offer over time.
Make sure that you give some thought to your future product and service offerings before you make a decision. You don’t want to get locked into a name that doesn’t fit the long-term vision for your company!
TIP #4: Showcase Your Brand Values in Your Name
When you’re starting a new business, it’s important 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. You might specialize in family portraits, weddings, or corporate headshots. 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.
With NameBounce, we recognized that manual name brainstorming is stressful. We wanted to make our name fun and simple. To accomplish this, we included the word “bounce” in our name. And to top it off, we added orange colors throughout the website.
Make sure that you develop a cohesive brand identity that is synergistic with your name. With NameBounce, we wanted to communicate fun and simplicity, but also trust, reliability, and integrity. That is why we use blue colors throughout our website and in our logo.
You don’t need to fit every brand value that you want to communicate into your name. But it’s important to think about the link between your name and your brand values!
TIP #5: Try to Pick a Shorter Name
According to Google, 53% of mobile users abandon websites that take over three seconds to load.
If you choose a long name that takes time to type, you will experience similar results!
Remember, your prospective customers aren’t loyal to you over your competitors. If they need to type in a long name, you could be putting yourself at a disadvantage!
On top of that, trying to put a long name on your branding materials could create added challenges!
To find shorter names, search with NameBounce and check out the filters on the left side. Type a length or syllable count, and you’ll filter out any lengthy names.
TIP #6: Pick a Business Name That is Easy to Spell and Say
You’re going to mention your business name and domain name many times in the future.
If people aren’t sure how to spell your name, they will have a much harder time remembering your business.
You want to make your name clear for your customers. While companies like Flickr have gained recognition over time with a misspelled name, most businesses won’t scale to the level Flickr has.
Even if your name becomes recognizable over time, better names might have been available from the start.
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 important to make sure that your creativity isn’t stifled by trying to remember 20 different name ideas.
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, your customers, and your naming goals.
Your naming brief doesn’t have to be fancy or extensive. Our Naming Made Easy course contains a 12-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 the course, we will show you some great 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 formal trademark registration. That way is through 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 important 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 think has potential, try to register it as soon as you can.
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!
By 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?