So, you’re starting a business. As a small business owner, you know branding and marketing are crucial to getting your new venture off the ground – and a large part of those efforts is centered around your business name! Choosing the right name for your business is a major milestone. How do you decide?
Here at Redstory, we’ve helped countless businesses brand (or rebrand), and we’ve learned a lot about naming businesses along the way. Here are the steps we always recommend to land on a successful name that’ll serve you well for years to come.
Know your audience. To name your business well, you have to know who it’s for. If you haven’t honed your ideal customer profiles yet, it’s a great idea to bring in a branding and marketing professional to make sure you’re targeting your products or services to the right people. It might seem counterintuitive to do all of this audience work before choosing a name, but in actuality, having a concrete vision will help you name your company effectively.
Determine your vision. Sometimes, as businesses grow and change, a rebrand becomes necessary. But if you name your company well from the start, you’re less likely to need a pivot a few years down the road. When you have a clear vision, and a clear path to execute it, you won’t “outgrow” your first business name — because you always saw the eventual roadmap to success at every stage.
Brainstorm your messaging. Get out your notebook or step up to the whiteboard, and start to brainstorm words and phrases that represent your business. Jot down anything and everything! Then, highlight or circle the words that ring true and stand out. Then, do the same exercise with words that represent your culture and values. There might be some overlap in these lists, but even if not, you’ll see a complementary theme emerge between the two.
Dream up potential names. Use the lists you’ve just created as a jumping off point to imagine a few great business names. We recommend coming up with between 5-10 names – the first one won’t always be a slam dunk, but when you give yourself enough initial options, you’ll probably strike gold somewhere on that list.
Do your online research. Before you fall in love with one name and one name only, do your research! This is an important key in your business’s success. If your name will get lost in a crowd of similar brands, or you can’t secure a web domain, you’ll be frustrated before you even begin marketing. Here are the 4 areas you should look into before landing on a name:
Check existing trademarks through the USPTO. If you plan to secure a trademark and a business license, you’ll need a name that isn’t already legally claimed.
Do SEO research. Do other companies rank highly for your potential name already? Will you have a lot of competition with keywords and SEO?
Find available domains. In today’s world, you need a website — so make sure your name’s not already claimed. Thankfully, there are usually multiple options (.com might be taken, but .co could work depending on your business!), but you’ll definitely want to check. Buying a domain from someone can be complicated and expensive.
Check social media handles. It’s best to secure the same social media handle across all the platforms you plan to use! You might need to tweak the name a bit to make it work, but consistency is important here.
Once you’ve determined your business’s vision and audience, decided on a solid list of names, and jumped through the hoops of due diligence, you’ll be able to select a name with confidence. A great name is the start to a great brand. We can’t wait to watch you grow!
Need marketing help as a small business owner? Redstory can help. Let’s chat.