It can be super challenging choosing a business name that clearly reflects your business vision and essence – and that someone else isn’t already using!
As I’m sure you’re aware, every country has a business name register. You’re only allowed to register a name that isn’t already in use by someone else, which narrows the options considerably in many cases.
But how do you create a business name that ticks all the boxes? And what makes a great business name?
A great business name is:
- It speaks for itself.
- It makes sense to your target market.
If you’re struggling to find a business name you love, I sincerely hope my top ten tips below help you! They’re designed to help you create a business name that you and your customers love.
10 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Business Name
1. Decide Whether you’ll be a Personal Brand or a Business Brand.
A personal brand is where your business is named after you. For example, I’m a personal brand, being Kate De Jong – Fempire Coach Pty Ltd. A business brand, on the other hand, is where your business name is not related to you in any way. For example, Fempire is a business brand. The coaches operate as personal brands within the overarching Fempire franchise.
Whether to personal brand or not is a whole topic unto itself that we cover in other articles and resources. However, here are some quick pointers to figure out whether you should be a personal brand or a business name:
- Use a personal brand if your customers are buying you (e.g. you’re a coach or a sole trading service provider of any kind).
- Use a personal brand if you are the face of the business.
- If you plan on building a larger business with staff and contractors, then it’s probably best to use a business brand name.
- Use a business brand name if you intend to sell your business to someone else when you retire or move on.
2. Make Your Business Name Clear.
Ideally, your business name should communicate immediately to your audience what your business is about. If you’re a personal brand and you’re using your name, be sure to include some clarifying words in your name. For example: Rhiannon Blackaby |The Wholesome Health Coach. It’s clear that she’s a personal brand and she’s a health coach. Try to get the balance right: Be descriptive and concise and not too general or vague. Anyone should be able to understand what your business is about from your name.
3. Keep Your Business Name Simple and Positive.
Choose a name that’s as short as possible and simple. Your business name needs to be appealing to your customers, being easy to pronounce and remember. If people trip over your name, they won’t be able to easily tell others about you and they might not remember it themselves! Also, ideally, your name should sound pleasant, familiar and conjure up positive emotions.
4. Try Using Related Words in a Creative Way.
You can try using a play on words of related keywords, provided it expresses what your business is about. A good way to create catchy, memorable business names is to use alternate versions of common words related to the service you’re offering.
Clever examples are: Canva (short for design canvas), Flickr (the flicker of a camera flash) and Compaq (compact). I’ve been working with a client recently who came up with a great name for her new pet food e-commerce chain – Bowlsome. It’s wholesome food in a bowl – very clever!
5. Be Original (Don’t Copy Your Competitors).
Avoid choosing a name too similar to other businesses in your industry. Appearing to be unoriginal (or a copycat) is not good for your brand image. It can also mean potential customers confuse your business with your competition, making it more difficult to get work.
6. Choose a Name That’s Scalable and Future-Proof.
Pick a name that can expand your business. For example, if you sell just books, you might one day sell stationery products or accessories too, so choose a name that can accommodate that expansion. Also, if your service is based in a certain area, you might extend to other cities. So, select a broad name that can encompass your future growth.
7. Make Sure Your Name is Available and You Have a Related Domain.
Once you’ve narrowed down your name options, you have to make sure the name you want to use is available. Check if the name is already registered as a trademark or acquired by another business. You can check the availability of your business name in Australia using this link. If someone’s already using the name you had in mind, you’ll need to find a different business name.
8. Try to Avoid Using Acronyms.
Many big companies use acronyms of their name, like IBM and KFC. But at the start of your business, when your goal is to establish your brand, acronyms will only confuse your potential customers. Also, there’s a great possibility that your business acronym will match with someone else, making it very difficult for you to rank in search engines. I personally find it really hard to remember names of small businesses who use an acronym as their business name.
9. Make it Search-Friendly.
As you know, search engines are always trying to match customer searches with businesses using relevant keywords. Sometimes a simple business name that says exactly what you are works best. For example, the name ‘Perth Business Network’ works great for business owners looking for business networking groups in Perth. Nicholl Plumbing is a plumbing business run by the Nicholl family. Anyone searching for them will easily be able to find them. Sometimes saying exactly what you are is the most powerful approach!
10. Final Advice.
Choosing a name can be challenging when you’re setting out to start a business, but not something to agonise over! Get opinions and ideas from friends, other business owners, family or even potential customers. It’s always a good idea to get a few different points of view.
If you find a business name you love and it’s available, the next step might be to trademark it to prevent others from using it.
You’ll also need to secure the domain name for your website. You can make sure your desired domain is available by doing a domain name check. If someone’s already using it, you shouldn’t necessarily abandon a good business name just because an exact domain is not available. Here are a couple of things that you can do instead:
- If it’s a parked domain, consider buying it. It’s probably going to cost you, but a search-friendly, memorable domain is worth it.
- Add modifiers to the name. Say your company name is Sleepytime and you sell pyjamas, but sleepytime.com is already taken. Then you can look for domain names like sleepytimeonline.com or sleepytimepyjamas.com.
- Be creative with domain selection. Nowadays, businesses use different top-level domains to make their URLs more memorable. For example, the blogging platform Postachio chose postach.io as their domain. Another well-known example is del.icio.us.
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In service to your success,
Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Fempire Coach for Thriving Female Entrepreneurs
+61 424 176 658