6 Steps to Naming Your Biz
I’ve seen plenty of new business owners stuck on coming up with a name for their new venture. It can literally keep you in this rut because you feel like how can I do my branding or get my website up if I don’t have a name??
Well, let’s get you unstuck and moving forward with your biz!
Here are 6 steps to help you brainstorm your way into finalizing your biz name:
1. DEFINE IT
Let’s start with the bigger picture and ask: What is your business really about? What services will you be offering? After you’ve defined that, ask yourself: What is my mission? What are the core values that I want to portray?
It helps to start with defining what your passions are. Write them down. Start discovering why you’re doing this and why you want to start your own business. Take note of the key points so that you can refer back them as you go through the rest of this process. In this way, you are ensuring that there’s a connection between the name and the underlying mission for your business.
Yup. Here comes the part that we all dread. This is a necessary step to get the creative juices flowing, however. It also helps to start with this because I need you to get in the right mindset to really optimize your brainstorming sesh.
You can start by using good ol’ Google for this. Take note of how other businesses in your industry are named. You should start to see a pattern or a general direction for “best practices.” This is just observation though - you don’t necessarily need to conform to industry naming trends but definitely be cognizant of how much you’re straying from it.
While you’re at it, go ahead and visit your competitors’ websites and consider how well the name and the company brand match. Jot down a few that you love. You’ll use this when you start to design your brand.
Quantity, not quality
That’s right. This is about coming up with a bunch of ideas that can work off of each other. Don’t worry about finding the perfect name right from the start. We still have some brainstorming to do!
Start with creating a list of 10-20 words that relate to your new biz. Then, create a separate list of 10-20 words -unrelated to your biz - that make you smile or evoke a positive reaction in you.
Of course, you can leverage the online Thesaurus to find synonyms for some of the keywords from your initial research and list. Another tool I like to leverage is Naminum. It’s like having a team of people brainstorming a list of alternative names based on a particular keyword.
Grab That Marker
Don’t be afraid to sketch out your ideas! Get to the drawing board. Don’t worry if you’re not great at drawing. It’s not about perfecting the art; it’s about getting the point across. You can get inspiration from your drawings to come up with a name. Additionally, it could also inspire your business logo.
4. NARROW IT DOWN
Hopefully by now, your brainstorm sesh brought out tons of naming ideas. Now it’s time to throw all your sticky notes onto the wall - like spaghetti - and see what sticks!
But seriously. Bring all your notes and sketches in front of you and let’s start narrowing it down.
Strike the ones that are just meh
Get rid of any doubles or names that are too similar. You can also consider bunching a group of similar names under your favorite of the batch until you feel like you can eliminate some of these.
Imagine that a potential client has asked for the name of your business so they could look for your website. Is it easy to remember? Simple to say? Would it be difficult to spell? People want to be able to easily find you online. Don’t set yourself up for missed sales opportunities because the potential customer couldn’t remember or spell your name!
You can determine this by testing the potential name with other people. Ask for their first impression of the name, including: how it sounds, what they think it’s about, how it makes them feel, whatever you would like to know. Although it’s ideal to do this with people who are not familiar with what you do, make sure you do this with people you trust, or in a group where others can give you honest and open feedback. (You can do that in The Adventurous Entrepreneur Community on Facebook.)
5. REALITY CHECK
After you brainstorm, it’s time to give your top choices a reality check and ask… Is it available/usable? I know that this the part that can kill a potential name so quick, you wondered why you even bothered with this in the first place.
But stay with me here. You’ve given yourself several options by now and if none of them pan out, I’ve got some tips to help you get around that.
My favorite tool to use for checking if a name is usable is Namechk. You’ll be able to see if the domain is available and if the name is available across social media, among other platforms. Don’t forget to check whether your name is available in your state or province.
What if it’s not available?
I got you covered. Here are some options you can use if the name you had your heart set on is not available:
One of the most common alternatives is to use a domain that doesn’t end in .com. As you probably have seen via Namechk, some of the popular website endings are .net, .org, .co, and .biz. You can check out a whole slew of other options on Namchk.
Additionally, you can play around with the biz name to integrate it with one of the domain ending options that make sense for your business. For example: the Fidelity blog, Indy Life, made their domain name goindy.life.
A third option is to compromise. Consider dropping a vowel or switching up phonetic letters (i.e. y for i or k for c). Some well-known examples of this are Lyft and Krispy Kreme. If you decide to go this route, just be sure that it’s a compromise you’re happy with.
If you’re still unsure about any of these, I want you to know that you are not the only one going through this. Plenty of well-known companies have had to make compromises with their business names because it wasn’t available. In fact, Box.net ultimately bought Box.com, Flickr.com bought Flicker.com, and GetDropBox.com bought DropBox.com. (Keep in mind though, that they were only able to make these acquisitions because they had enormous capital.)
6. DECISION TIME
You made it this far! You’ve done your research, brainstorming, and reality check. You’re down to your top two or three choices. Time to decide on the winner. If you have one instinctively pulling you in one direction, go for it! If not, there’s one way (my favorite) you can go about finalizing the name.
The Social Network - ask your connections! We are fortunate to have many platforms where we can do this. You can create a short and sweet poll on Facebook or LinkedIn, ask your followers in your Instagram story, hold a discussion on Twitter, however you can get feedback.
If you’re into analytics, you can also do this with Google Forms, which allow you to have all the results pre-analyzed in one place for you.
You can also use me as an additional resource. Reach out to me in my Facebook group, The Adventurous Entrepreneur Community, where you can ask for honest and open feedback in a safe and creative space. As a bonus, you’ll bring awareness to your new business and create a buzz within your network. Who knows? They may need your services one day!
To recap, here are the 6 steps to naming your new business:
Define it - What is your vision?
Research - Check out other competitors
Brainstorm - Write everything down, draw out your ideas
Narrow it down - Eliminate the ones you are crazy about
Reality Check - Is the name available across social media and as a domain?
Decision Time - All you :)
Alright, young padawan. You’re ready. I know this may feel like a lot of work but I want you to trust the process. This is a journey, and it begins with one step. Know that you have many resources available, including me <3
Now go name your business and tell me what you came up with!
If you’ve already got your name and are ready for the next step in branding your business, book a call with me!
Was this helpful? What were your biggest takeaways? How can I provide more value? Share in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by!