Are you thinking of launching a new startup or small business? You need a name, right? Let me tell you right now, it is hard. It is really hard.
Before the Internet, the options were so abundant that it must have been a relatively small step on your way to launching an exciting new venture. Your marketplace was likely a lot smaller too. You were mostly competing locally for clients and had limitations to just how far you could spread out. Oh, how have things changed.
Nowadays, even the smallest of companies can compete globally because of the Web. We are well past the rush to claim the very best domain names, and thus, business names. Having a solid domain name is essential to any successful new business. Almost any URL you can think of using simple and common terms is taken.
So, what now? Well, there are many articles that provide lists of sure-fire steps to finding the right name for your business. Here are the top three pieces of advice I have found:
The 5-10 rule
Many successful companies have names with more than five and less than 10 letters. They also often include a hard consonant and a repeating letter. Some examples include Ford, Exxon, Apple, Starbucks, Google, and so on. What’s important to keep in mind here is that you want a name that is not too long, and that is easy to say (this is where that hard consonant comes into play). The longer the name, the harder it will be for people to recall.
Read the full article on Entrepreneur.com.
Be relevant and relatable to your audience
You’ve heard the saying, “Know your audience,” well, this couldn’t be more true when naming your company. Quirky coined names like Google and Twitter are fun and you might have a better chance of landing the domain name to go with it, but your potential client base will have no idea what you do. So, unless you have millions of dollars to spend on marketing and advertising to explain what your name means and what your company does, then you might be better off going a more conventional route. Ask yourself if someone who knows nothing at all about your company will have some clue as to what your company offers by the name alone? You don’t have to go overboard with a long or boring name, but the name should convey some sense of what you do.
Read the full list of tips from Grasshopper.com.
Do your research
This piece of advice is common and some lists focus on searching for existing trademarks, available domain names and social media accounts. I say all three of these are extremely important. You want to make sure, up front, that you are not putting yourself at risk for trademark infringement. You also want to make sure the name you want is available as a domain and on the various social networks you plan to leverage.
Then do some digging for a domain that fits. There are a ton of services to use. I often use GoDaddy because their interface is solid for selecting not only .com domains but all other options as well. You might want to secure a handful of variations of your name (yourcompany.co, yourcomopany.net, etc.).
For social media accounts, your going to have to check them individually by tweaking a user profile URL to see if someone already has it. For example, my Twitter account web address is https://twitter.com/jayclewis. Just replace “jayclewis” with “yourcompanyname” and see if it’s taken already. You can do this with Facebook, LinkedIn and so on.
The last thing to keep in mind is to not be deterred if your first few options are not available. Naming your company is a crucial early decision and one that will be with you, hopefully, for years to come.