I think the best place to start is to ask yourself branding questions, if you're not quite sure what branding is, visit here. In a nutshell, the formation of your brand relies upon people's perception of your business, products and services. Regardless of what you do, people will form an opinion of your business so if you can do something to steer it in the right direction, it makes sense to, right?
There are plenty of questions you could explore but below are some that I think are quite significant and could open up a whole bunch of possibilities for your business name!
- Why are you starting your business and how do you feel? for example, interestingly enough, Richard Branson along with his business partner chose Virgin because they saw themselves as virgins in business.
- Who are your ideal customers? what language do they use? words or phrases that come up often in their conversations? their likes and interests etc. you might find inspiration in what you come across!
- What services and products do you sell? Victoria's Secret sell lingerie, their name was apparently chosen because Victoria was after Queen Victoria and stood for class and refinement while Secret was what was hidden underneath the clothes. So maybe you could think of creative ways to describe what you do or sell.
- What makes you unique? your USP might give you ideas, for example, Snapchat came about from their unique way of sending quick messages/photos or short snaps that disappear.
- How do you want your customers to feel? Boost Juice gives the connotations of being lifted and energised, it's positively suggesting how their customers will feel after having their juices.
- Do you see your business expanding in the future, will you want to expand your skills or will you want to sell? I mention this because you might intend to sell your business in the future so you would probably want to avoid a business name that refers to your own personal name. Or if you think that there's a possibility in future that you will up-skill, don't be too narrow with your business name and include a specific area of service. You can use your subtext or tagline for this!
- What's your brand personality, values, beliefs? for example, if you're selling organic products and you believe in providing pure products, you might want to reflect this in your business name.
- Who are your competitors? if you don't know who they are, you can't differentiate yourself!
If you're a visual person, you could create a mood board of images/quotes/colours/shapes that captures your brand, maybe this will prompt certain keywords.
When you're ready, start brainstorming keywords, a thesaurus comes in handy for synonyms!! Jot everything down that comes into mind, don't filter yourself, this can come later. Put things together and play around with combinations, have fun with the process!
Once you've narrowed it down to a few, make sure you let it sit with you for a little while. No rash decisions with this okay, you don't want to wake up with regrets.
- Ask yourself if it feels right when you say it (pretend you're answering the phone to a potential client) and if it looks right when you write it down
- Get other people's opinions, specially if they belong to your target market
- Remember that simplicity is great for memorability, alliteration also works well for memorability
- It's great to be clever but not if people simply don't get it
- On the flipside, don't be so generic that it's not striking.
There's also other things to check:
- Whether it's already taken or if there's anything registered that's very similar
- If the domain name is available
- The vanity addresses for your social channels.
If you're in the position of choosing a business name, hope you have found this post helpful!
Are you an existing business? I would love to hear how you came up with your business name and if you have any advice for those that are on the quest to find one - please just share your thoughts in the comments!