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How to come up with a business name?

If you’re wanting to start a new business and you haven’t thought of a name yet then this is the post for you. There is a lot of pressure on getting your business name right. You don’t really get a chance to change it once you’ve released it to the world so you have to make sure that it’s catchy, relevant and just an overall good name that fits with your business. You can do all the planning in the world for your new business but without a name, it’s almost impossible to launch it.

1) HOW TO PICK A NAME?
If you haven’t thought of your business name yet then I would recommend that you research and write a list of possible business names. A great site to use is a site called Random Word Generator. Once you have a good enough list then start crossing out ones that are too hard to say and any that you know are already in use. At this stage you should have some words that really stand out, they’re the ones that you need to research and check first. Make sure that when you do narrow your list down to a select few of potential business names that you check what the individual names actually mean and what happens when you search Google for that word.

Still finding it hard to come up with a name? Okay, so maybe it’s time to start thinking outside the box. Here’s a list of other ways that you can figure out a name for your new business.

– Acronyms
These are used quite often. Some real world examples would be companies like the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and AOL (America Online). So all you have to do is take the first letter of every word in a phase of words or names. Top tip: Make sure that the letter you use actually stand for something as you will get asked in the future what those letters stand for.

– Mash-ups
Be careful when it comes to mash-ups, they either work or they just sound ridiculous. Some good examples would be companies like Evernote (from forever and note) and Groupon (From group and coupon). So all you have to do is mix two or more words. Top tip: Try and make the words relevant to your business.

– Make a grammar mistake on purpose
This one could be a little risky but if you get it right then it’s super effective. Think of companies like Flickr. Flicker was more than likely already taken when these guys started. Even though you don’t say it with the E you still call it flicker. So all you really have to do is either add another letter or remove a letter. Similar to Flickr is Tumblr. Top tip: Make sure that you can still say the word even if the letter you have removed is not visible.

– Use your own name
If you’re not convinced by any other names, why not just use your own? Many of the most well-known brands were actually their inventor’s or owner’s name, like Thomas Edison (Edison bulbs) and James Dyson (Dyson Vacuums). If you have a fairly boring or generic name, then make sure to add something else to it and try and it keep it related to your industry. Please note that this, in my opinion, is the last resort option. Top tip: It’s a lot easier to create a brand that isn’t all about you.

2) DO YOUR CHECKS
Once you have a list of potential business names then make sure that you do a thorough internet search. Check search engines, social media sites and anywhere that the potential business name could be getting used. A great site to check for registered companies would be companycheck.co.uk. A final check would come down to checking for trademarks. You can do this by clicking here.

3) AVOID HARD TO SPELL NAMES
A good business name can really make you stand out from your competition. The easier the business name is to pronounce and the catchier it is then the more likely it is that people will remember you. This is something that is an absolute must when it comes to your business name. Imagine if Google would have called themselves something like GeneralInternetDirectory.com? Not really the same ring to it. I don’t think people would really say ‘Oh why don’t you just General Internet Directory it?’ Google it sounds a million times better. See where I’m going with this? In an ideal world, you want a business name that just rolls right off the tongue, short and easy to remember.

4) THINK OF THE LONG RUN (DON’T LIMIT YOUR FUTURE)
Picking a name that is too narrow may cause your business problems in the future. Imagine if Amazon had just called themselves ‘Online Books’. So avoid putting in specific words that are related to what your business does right now as that may change in the future. That doesn’t mean that if you sell clothing that you can’t put clothing in your business name. What I mean is, if you currently sell women’s clothing, keep out the women’s bit as you never know that you might want to sell men’s clothing too in the future.

5) GET ALL THE DOMAINS YOU CAN
This is quite an important one. You could have thought of the best name in the world for your business but you decided to keep holding off buying those domain names because money was tight. The chances of one of the other 7 billion people in the world coming up with the same name as you are quite high. So as soon as you see that it’s available then buy it. Trust me, I paid 100 times the market rate for one of my domain names. Make sure that you always start with the .com domain name and all the other relevant domains. If you are a business that will only ever be focused on the UK market, then, of course, don’t worry about every domain name out there. But if you plan on going global with your brand then make sure that you buy as many as you can just to be safe.

6) MAKE SURE THAT THE NAME SOUNDS GOOD WHEN SAID ALOUD
You might have something written down on paper that sounds perfect in your head. Make sure you say it out loud numerous times. Also, ask as many people as you know to say it out loud too and get their feedback about it. I can’t stress the importance of keeping clear from words that are hard to say.

7) MAKE SURE YOU ARE PERSONALLY HAPPY WITH THE NAME
As the business owner, you will have to live with the business name that you have chosen forever. While nobody has heard of you, make sure that you really take the time to get it right before releasing your business name to the world. Make sure that you are really happy with it and that it will resonate with your future customers.

In summary, make sure that you have a really good think about how well the business name that you want to use sticks in people’s mind. The easier it is to pronounce and the easier it is to remember then the better it will be for your future customers to remember you. Also, my last point would be to really make sure that you have checked everywhere online to see if the name has been used anywhere. Remember that if someone has created a Facebook page, for example, using your potential business name and they haven’t posted in a while then you may be able to use it. You’re best off checking if your potential business name is officially registered as a company or not before doing anything else.

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