The following article is a guest post. So you have a great product or service to sell that you know people will buy. You also have a killer business plan drawn up that you feel confident about. All that’s left to do is market your business. But there’s one problem: you don’t have a name. Naming a business today seems especially tricky.
Gone are the days of naming your business something like “Smith and Sons Internet Company” Huge tech companies like Tumblr, Snapchat, and Facebook have cool names that seem to fit the business so perfectly, it’s difficult to imagine that someone actually had to sit down and come up with that name. But the perfect name for your business is out there. Here are some tips on how to find it.
1. Don’t try to make the name so cool that nobody knows what it means. People may now know that the shoe company Nike was named after the Ancient Greek goddess of victory. But you can’t afford to choose such an abstract name that nobody knows what you do. Nike’s advertising budget is much bigger than yours and they can afford to remind people that they sell shoes.
2. Brainstorm a list of names. Write down as many names as you can think of, even if you know they’re horrible as you write them. When you’re done writing, look at your list and go over each name. If you don’t like a name, make a note next to it like “too long” or “boring.” You might not find your name on the first try, but repeating the process with your notes in mind will help you drill down to a short list of possible contenders.
3. Consider your domain name and SEO possibilities. Check to see if possible names have an appropriate domain name available. Don’t choose a name that is so similar to another company that a simple misspelling will send potential customers to your competition. If you’re going to cater to local customers, consider including your city name in the business name to help your SEO.
4. Don’t get too cute. Using a pun in your business name is a great way to stop people from taking you too seriously. Unless you’re opening a pet grooming business, it’s best to avoid wordplay. Think about the kind of customer you’re hoping to find with your name. If you want a serious customer that expects the professional level of work you know you can deliver, choose a name that speaks to that.
5. Search an ASIC database (see Infotrack for more on this). Once you have a possible name, search a directory of Australian businesses to make sure the name you name you want isn’t actually being used by or trademarked by someone else. Maybe more importantly, searching the ASIC business listings can tell you if the name you’re thinking about has any negative baggage tied to it, such as past court filings or litigation against other similarly named companies.
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