When you are starting a new business, one of the most nerve-wracking tasks is actually settling on a name. Naming your business is such a stressful process in part because it feels so permanent. While it’s true that some companies survive rebranding initiatives, it’s very difficult (and expensive) to change a company’s name and retain any semblance of a customer base after you make the change. In other words, when you choose your business name, you’re pretty much stuck with it.
In a small business, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have the budget or resources for a full marketing push to help establish the brand, which is why it’s even more important that a small business gets the name right. You want to create a business name that customers are going to love, and more importantly, remember. To that end, here are our 5 most important tips for creating an awesome name for your small business:
1. Spell It Out
You may not think it’s incredibly clever to spell out exactly what you do in your business name, but being obvious can save you a lot of marketing dollars. There’s no question about what kind of business the Rock Rapids Bakery is and there is nothing wrong with saving your customers some time and legwork by telling them exactly what you do. This is especially helpful if you are a local business, which will rely in some part on foot traffic. When people see your logo – don’t make them wonder what you do, just tell them!
2. Short and Sweet
Iconic companies have something in common – they all have names that are short and easy to remember. Nike, Honda, Coca-Cola, Google – all these names are simple, short and roll off the tongue with ease. When naming your small business, you always want to err on the side of simplicity, because if it’s possible for a customer to confuse or misunderstand your company name, they will. Try to stick to company names that are 1-2 words long and are easy to remember and you’ll have an easy leg up on the competition.
3. Sticky Factor
Great company names, like great songs, just have a way of finding a way into your brain and sticking there. They are interesting and memorable and there is something intangible that just draws you in. While it may be difficult to put your finger on what makes a small business name sticky, you can get a feel for how memorable it is by running your idea past friends, family and collegues. Ask enough people and you’ll probably find that there is one name that is remembered a little more consistently than your other options.
4. Tell Your Story
Great brands make it a point to be great storytellers and tying your small business name into a personal story helps foster an immediate connection with the consumer. I think about Raising Cane’s, a fast food chicken fingers joint; the restaurant chain is named after the founder’s dog, Cane, and there are pictures of that dog plastered all over the place. Just knowing that little bit about the company gives me a personal connection and when I crave chicken fingers, it’s usually the first place I go.
Think about the people, connections and shared stories in your life and how they could form the basis for your company name. The personal touch may take a little longer to explain to potential customers, but it’ll help build a loyal customer base, which is a rare commodity in this day and age.
5. Make It up
If you’ve exhausted all your options and nothing in Webster’s Dictionary is really striking your fancy, why not be bold and just make up a new word? There’s no reason why you can’t – Google did it, Mozilla did it – you can make up a new word for your small business name too. It’s a bold option to invent something completely new, but often times, boldness leads to a lot of respect in the marketplace.
Just note that creating your own made-up name for a company can be a little dangerous as well – particularly for small businesses without large marketing budgets. You’ll have to spend a little extra time educating the customer about what your company does. When in doubt, combine two well known words to help get your point across.