At the start of a new business, most new entrepreneurs feel the name is not a big deal, so they hardly give it much thought. Choosing the right business name is as crucial as choosing a name for your newborn baby. A wrong name can make the life of the child unnecessarily awkward and complicated, a bad business name will also give your business or brand stifle growth.
Even if you don’t get the name right on the onset, changing the name is not an impossible task, but getting it right from the onset is the best. Some famous companies had to change their names due to the effect it had on them, some of them are listed below.
Cadabra >> Amazon
BussyBees >> The Bees
Research in Motion >> Blackberry
AuctionWeb >> eBay
BackRub >> Google
Burbn >> Instagram
Blue Ribbon Sports » Nike
Japan Optical Industries Co. >> Nikon
Marafuku Company >> Nintendo
Brad’s Drink >> Pepsi
Stag Party >> Playboy
Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo >> Sony
Walton’s Five and Dime >> Walmart
Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web >> Yahoo
How do you go about choosing the right business name for your startup?
Below are some tips to help you achieve the quest:
Keep it generic
In the year 1945, Sam Walton, a budding entrepreneur started a business and he called it “Walton’s Five and Dime.” When it got to year 1969, he renamed the company to “Walmart.” Changing the name of the company was as a result of Sam Walton wanting to expand his business model, appeal to the audience he wanted to target and wanting a name with simplicity; this made him choose a more generic name.
Though, it is not impossible to change the name of your business later on, but it will be more difficult at that point in time. Once your company has gained ground, doing a rebranding will cost more time, money, resources which can be better utilized somewhere else to help grow your business.
Keep it simple
Ever heard of the acronym K.I.S.S(Keep It Simple and Short). Names like Fiverr and Flickr did work, but these companies spent millions on marketing so as to reinforce their brands to prevent potential customers/clients from getting confused.
Once the company started growing, they had to buy the correct spelling of their domain names i.e., fiver.com and flicker.com. This was done because most customers were easily prone to spelling the name wrongly.
Make it memorable
It is not a good attribute if people keep asking you for the name of your company. You need a name that is catchy, simple, short and memorable.
Write down a list of ideas of names you like, rank them according to their length of spelling; the shorter the name, the easier it is to recollect. Try as much as possible to make the name 3 syllables at most.
A lot of change is going on in the world right now, so a lot of importance is placed on the name of a brand. A unique and memorable business name will set you apart from the crowd.
A great product alone doesn’t do the job of setting you aside, a memorable name does.
Evoke a feeling
Humans are primarily emotional creatures i.e.; we rely on our feelings to make our decisions. Your brand name should have a positive effect on their sub-consciousness. How will your brand name make your potential customer feel when compared to your competitors?
Let your brand name evoke a feeling that coincides with your brand image.
Test it out
When you have selected the top 3 to 5 names, you can ask trusted friends and family members for their take. Let them give you valuable feedback from the names you wrote down. Let them give you their first impression, you can’t tell, they might be your potential customer.
Amazon’s name was originally called “Cadabra,” like that magician’s phrase we have all tried “abracadabra.” Jeff Bezos changed it when he noticed that his lawyer confused it with “cadaver” which means a dead body.
Check for conflicts
So, before you finally pick a name, ensure no other business is using that name in the industry you want to go into. You can check via Google and then you can check from the Corporate Affairs Commission (C.A.C). Ensure you do this so as to avoid any legal headaches as you journey down the road.
Once you see any potential conflict for the first name, you will need to move on to the next one on your list. Sometimes, if the business using your name is in another industry, you may still be able to use it
Get the domain
In the world that we live in that is technology driven and almost everything is stored in the cloud, it is important you have a domain name that matches your company’s name. (Someone might ask, ‘what is a domain name?’, read here). Don’t just use any kind of domain name, use .com as it is the most popular and most trusted extension online.
It can be a brainstorming task to choose a business name for a new start-up or company, but once you are done with it, you will appreciate yourself when your business starts raking in the benefits. No matter the name you choose, remember to enjoy the journey as that is what life is all about.