One of the most important choices you’ll make as a business owner is choosing a name for your business. Your name is the face of your brand and conveys what it stands for.
So, how do you go about selecting a memorable one? If you have $50,000 to spend on a top-tier naming company, go for it. But if you don’t, here are a few tips I’ve gathered from my experience naming five businesses (and choosing my own name, Adelyn).
Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas and Seek Inspiration
First, think about what you want your company to be and what you want your brand to represent. Then, let your imagination run wild. Think of your favorite words (going through a dictionary is fair game) or words in foreign languages (though these may already be taken by others in that country). Go back to Greek mythology, history books, and English literature. Think of your favorite phrases, concepts, etc. If you have some time, you can even keep notes of names you like, whether it’s a street, a place, another business, etc. These days, you can even combine words to form something new. For example, the New York City neighborhood SoHo came from “South of Houston Street,” and it is now one of the trendiest areas in the city.
Step 2: Test for Pronunciation, Spelling, and Memorability
Once you have a list of potential names, run through the checklist below. Your name doesn’t have to meet all these criteria, but it’s good to at least hit most of them:
- Is it easy to spell?
- Can customers find you online and share your name with others?
- Is it easy to pronounce?
- Is it easy to type on a mobile phone?
- Is it memorable?
- Does it start with a letter at the beginning of the alphabet? (Should you be featured in an alphabetical list, you’ll automatically be at the top!)
- Does it refrain from translating as something strange or inappropriate in a foreign language? (This is especially important in today’s globalized world. Check out some of these names for inspiration on what not to do.)
Adelyn Zhou is the co-Founder and head of marketing at TOPBOTS, a leading marketing firm focused on the strategy, design and chatbots.
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives, and small business owners.