Starting a business involves many things. One of them is to come up with a name. At first, it might seem to be one of the easier questions to answer. Then, you realize that it is one of the hardest and the one that has the biggest impact – you’re deciding on the identity of your business.

If you choose accounting software that you’re not happy with, you can easily switch after a while. If you’re not happy with your bank or insurance, you can switch. Renaming and rebranding your business though is something you’d rather avoid. You better choose a name for your business and your brand that you will still be happy with in 10 years’ time.

Man staring at a wall full of post it notes

Photo by Per Lööv on Unsplash

More than just brainstorming

Brainstorming is a good starting point to gather some ideas. On this occasion though, you want to take a few more things into account, after all, you’re making a decision that should last a long time.

Rebranding after a few years is a huge undertaking and can throw your business back to square one. Once your audience connects with your brand, rebranding can leave them confused and lost.

Some of the biggest businesses in the world have done it, but they either did the rebrand early on or only made a small change to their name, for example, Starbucks Coffee to Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts to Dunkin’.

Things to consider when choosing a name for your business

Brainstorming is good and you might already have some ideas for a business name. You should know though that there are a few boxes it should tick:

  1. Does the name correctly portray what your business does?
  2. Do other members of your team like the name as much as you do?
  3. Does the name appeal to your target audience?
  4. Is this name original or does somebody else already use the name or a variation of it? (Hint: check already registered business names and trademarks to avoid legal issues!)
  5. Are there any controversies or double meanings behind the words you choose? (Stay away from anything that might cause drama.)
  6. From business cards to social media, website and merchandise, does the name look great on different platforms?
  7. Is the name still relevant if your business expands?

If you struggle with any of these questions, it is best to ask the people around you. Speak to others that know your business very well and those that don’t know anything about it. What do they think about the name you suggest?

Choosing a name for your business and your brand should not be a quick and easy decision. There’s a lot of thought that should go into it.

Woman sitting on the floor holding up a drawing of a light bulb

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Why the business name matters 

How you call your business is a lot more than just a business name, it is your branding, and you want people to associate the brand name with your products. This will not happen overnight, but business decisions are long-term decisions.

Think about the future: In 5 years, people will use your business name and it should paint a picture of your product in their heads. Just like today, when we say “Starbucks”, you think of a café latte in a white cup with a green logo. When we say “Vans,” you think of a specific shoe, and the logo of a bitten apple, makes you think immediately of the big tech brand.

It is unlikely, your brand will grow to that size, but you want your target audience to associate the name with your products or services and you want it to be a positive association now and in the future.

Need help?

You will always find advice, tips, and feedback in the Othership community on slack. Many of our members have gone through decisions like branding for a business. Simply put your question in the channel, bounce off your ideas, and get the conversation started.

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