HOW TO FIND A BUSINESS NAME IN 12 HAPPY STEPS
My daughter screeches in the backseat whilst I’m driving.
„PLEASE TURN UP THAT SONG…I LOVE this song mommy“.
My daughter is 7 years old.
And being the most amazing mom in the world (pat on the back and big smiles). I got into the habit of helping my kids identify the instruments being played in a song, as well as the names of the artists. Because I think this is a good thing.
But to be honest, the names of artists tend to be difficult to pronounce, and their fictional names are also sometimes a little difficult to remember.
You know, back then it was just Otis Redding, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner…then things went onto GreenDay, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, No Doubt, Lady Gaga – Yes I hear you – there’s also Rolling Stones and the Beatles…but you knew every band members NAMES (big smile).
You’re creating a personal brand, that’s going to be with that person or pet or in our case, business, for a VERY long time.
The names that stick in our minds are obviously the ones that make the most impact on us and who create the most artist or „brand“ awareness. And the more often a song is played and mentioned, the more we’ll remember and buy the song or album.
Having a „brand“ name isn’t easy to choose though. I’m sure you’ll agree. For example, if you’re a parent looking to name your unborn child or if you have pets that you’re wanting to name. You can confirm that name-finding is a tad – „stressful“.
No wonder really. You’re creating a personal brand, that’s going to be with that person or pet or in our case, business, for a VERY long time.
So how DO you ease the stress of name-finding without being filled with doubt? As with anything in life, you’re going to have to take yourself through a slow process. There’s no rush. So take your time. And enjoy the ride.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
#1 TRUST YOUR INTUITION
I’m sure you’ve had moments where a very soft voice inside your head, will prompt you „not“ to do something because it may not be a good thing to do. And I’m sure you’ll agree that you don’t often listen to that soft voice in your head, and when something „not-so-good“ happens, you want to kick yourself for not listening to that soft voice. Well, that soft voice in your head is called INTUITION. And I urge you to listen to it. Whenever I work on name development for my clients, I ensure that after I’ve gone through my process that I ALWAYS come back to hear what my intuition has to say. I note after every name what the pro’s and con’s of a name are. And then test the names based on my intuition. Nine times out of ten. My intuition has never failed me. And it won’t fail you either. So LISTEN to that soft voice in your head a.k.a. your Intuition.
#2 DISCERN BETWEEN A PERSONAL VS. PRODUCT BRAND
A personal brand is named after you. A product brand is something fictional that you can make up for a product e.g. „Apple“ (has absolutely NOTHING to do with Steve Jobs or PC’s). Some more examples for a product brand would be perfumes, FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods). Personal brands would include: Mercedes, Ford, Robin Sharma, Ellen (Ellen De Generes Merchandise). Write down a minimum of 100 names. You want to ensure that you’ve got a wide variety to choose from.
#3 KEEP IT SHORT – USE YOUR TAGLINE
Too often I see names that include not only the name but the tagline too. This is too much. Why? Your tagline is something that could change in the future. But your logo is something that shouldn’t change at all – or very slightly. The tagline also makes the logo design and development very long. Brainstorm for short names of up to 12 letters maximum.
#4 AVOID STARTING YOUR NAME WITH GUTTERAL LETTERS
Psychologically, names that start with difficulty or that don’t flow at first mention, conjure up negative emotions. And you don’t want that … These letters include: ck, g, cr, k.
#5 AVOID “TWIST“ ON NAMES
When forced to come up with a catchy name, many aspiring entrepreneurs simply take part of an adjective and weld it onto a noun. The results are names that have a certain twisted rationale to them, but look and sound awful. Examples such as QualiServe, or TranquiSpa. It’s a bit like mixing chocolate syrup with ketchup, each ingredient is great on its own but combined – terrible. Other common examples include: Ameri, Tech, Corp and Tron.
#6 AVOID LOCAL NAMES IF YOU WANT TO GO INTERNATIONAL
Is it your vision to grow your business internationally? If so, then I suggest you choose a name that doesn’t bind you to the geographical area that you’re in. Examples of this could be Vienna Sausages. In this case I would suggest a product name for your sausages and include in the tagline that the sausages are from Vienna.
#7 WATCH YOUR SPELLING
Often business entrepreneurs want a name and notice that it’s been taken and so „invent“ a new spelling for their name. Although this is super creative, your customer, whom you want to buy your product has never heard of your made-up name, and will find it difficult to find you.
For example: Write business and not Biz. Or Quality and not Kwalitee.
#8 IS YOUR NAME VIABLE ONLINE?
We live in a social world, where the concentration span has reduced to 3 seconds and we’re faced with over 60 000 impulses per day. Which is probably why, most social media channels have reduced character texting to the minimum to keep attention spans up. This challenges you to put what you want to say in a few sentences. For example:
>> Twitter – tweeting in 140 characters (if your name is super long, you won’t be able to say much within these parameters)
>> Email marketing: Your headlines should be catchy, fun and entertaining. If your headline is all about your LONG business name, you defeat the whole purpose.
>> How will your name look on a small square mobile app icon?
#9 TRADEMARKS & Co.
This is such a delicate matter. As every country has different trademark and patent regulations. I suggest you review online if the name is already taken in your URL. Additionally contact your country’s Trademark & patent institution and inquire if your name is available. It may be that your name could be used in your country but not in another country for example.
#10 DOODLE YOUR NAME
This is one of my favorites to do. Taking a piece of paper and writing down the name, drawing it in different ways (like a kid) and adding the „.com“. You’ll quickly get a feeling if it’s a great name or not.
#11 SAY THE NAME ALOUD
Keeping the name in your head allows your brain clutter to suppress the individuality of your name find. By writing (or doodling) your name and saying it aloud, you’re getting all your senses to bring the name to life. Andi f the name doesn’t ignite whilst hearing, writing and seeing it. Then you’ll soon know that the name isn’t a good one.
#12 SEEK THE RIGHT AUDIENCE AND TEST
I’ve seen it happen time and time again, that an entrepreneur reaches out to their immediate family and friends to ask for their opinion about their new business or product name. And they’re often bombarded with either good or very negative responses. The latter demotivating and having you doubt your decision.
As much as I love my family and friends, they’re not all the people that are going to be buying my product or services. It’s like asking a vegetarian what they think of my name for a meaty product. I think you can guess that no matter what name I suggest tot he vegetarian, they’re NOT going to like ANY of my names. Because they’re not my target audience. So when you test your name. Seek those out who you believe to be your audience. They’ll be the ones who’ll give you the feedback you’re looking for.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
You can only try your best. Nothing more than that. Don’t be too hard on yourself, if you fail at this once, twice or even more times. Practice makes perfect. And when you feel you can’t go anymore, get yourself some expert help. This is afterall, what experts do for a living. Remember, you’re an original, and whatever you do, you don’t want it all to be a copy. Remember your excellency and let it shine through whatever you do.
Make your dream SHINE.
Her signature approach is to Brand Your Soul® using Soul Brand Marketing®. Her methods are creative, wise, humorous and imaginative, to help lifestyle entrepreneurs ‘come-out-of-the-closet’ with a brand that is tailored to the entrepreneur rather than the product and/or service.
Sashka is the author of Soul’d Out: Your Guide to Finding Your Life Purpose, which also includes a 50-page workbook, written for people who want to find their life purpose and apply it to their vocation.
Physically trained as an actress, dancer, singer, consumer behaviorist, marketer and advertiser, she’s empowered hundreds of clients, students, children and event attendees, to see that their life purpose is what steers their brand and gives it soul and the brand leadership entrepreneurs desire.
She’s been featured on Natural Born Coaches, Trafeze, Steven Aitchison, various virtual on-and offline summits and more.
Born and raised in South Africa, residing in London (UK), she now lives in the Tyrolean Alps with her one husband, three children. She is a slave to one cat and is shadowed by one dog.
Contact Sashka here.
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