Everyone that starts a business faces the question: what is a good creative business name for my new venture? Following are some tips that we have found helpful in naming our own business. We hope that these tips will be of help to you in creating your own good creative business name.
1. Steer Clear of Odd and Overly Creative Spellings
You absolutely want to design a unique and creative business name, but that doesn’t mean you should be The Quyntiscential Szent Storm for your new perfume business. Besides for looking like you have no idea how to spell, the next question is, of course, how the heck do you pronounce it? What does it mean? Can anyone else spell it like you do more than 2 times in a row? Your best bet is to stick with Standard English and let the flash-in-the-pan people use names that won’t stand the test of time. And remember, you want your name to have an easy standard spelling so that customers can find you, repeatedly.
2. Select a Safe and Sensible Moniker
If you want to make a splash, join the swim team. If you want to succeed in business, do your homework when you’re designing a good creative business name. If you can afford to hire the process out, business naming consultants can do all of the necessary legwork for you. If not, you’ll need to at least attempt to make sure that your name candidates won’t embarrass you later on down the road when you go global and you only then discover the “blue” nature of the name or find out that your creative business name is the equivalent of “fish face” or worse yet, “thief” in Russian or another language. Check foreign language directories and dictionaries online as well as asking a question in a multinational forum just to find out if the name you have your heart set on would make Aunt Sally blanch to hear it said in her foreign language.
Another aspect of creating sensible and safe creative business names is to avoid the temptation of coining your own previously unknown words. Yes, it is very tempting because some companies have been wildly successful with new words. But consider that it will take a bucket of money for advertising to let people know exactly what you do if you go with a totally contrived word such as Furgle. What does it mean? What are you selling? And by the way, if you’re selling a commodity and your product name does become generic, you’ve sort of lost the war … everyone will say your product name Furgle when they mean your competitor Fargle ala Coke vs. Pepsi.
3. Dot Com Rules
Simply put, if your creative business name followed by .com can’t be had for love or money through your domain registrar, then find a new name. Everyone expects that they can find your business web site by plugging .com after your business name in a Google search. Don’t send traffic to someone else’s site because you had to settle for .info or .tv or whatever else is available because .com was already taken. Instead, pick a name that has a .com domain name available and keep all of your own business.
However, one extra bit of advice. If you have the financial resources do to so, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to lock up and tuck away for safekeeping those other suffixes as well as the plural of your domain if it applies. Redirect the alternate suffix domains and plural to your primary domain. There are two good reasons for doing this. First, .com rules – for now. However, that could change in the future. So, if you buy all of the related domain names now while you’re setting up you will be sure that you own them later on down the road if preferences change to something other than .com.
Second, don’t let someone else essentially buy your business for the less than $10 cost to register a domain name that is virtually identical to yours and steal your customers and traffic. Many very large businesses today find themselves in the unenviable position of having to pay name grabbers to redirect traffic to their actual sites. It costs a fraction of a penny each time it happens but when it happens often enough, those fractions can add up to thousands of dollars a year or a big fee to purchase the alternate domain name outright.
4. Hashing, Smashing and Truncating Is Silly
Your mom always told you: two wrongs don’t make a right. And we’re telling you now, two parts of a word, mangled together to make a new single word, is not the ideal way to come up with a creative business name. It looks contrived, the spelling can be confusing and saying it sounds sloppy.
YummiTech – a tech company that helps businesses make tasty food – but it looks ridiculous.
TanFastic – a tanning salon … but it’s hard to say. Why not just Fantastic Tan?
5. Avoid Overused Words
Sure, you think yours will be the very best business out there and you want your customers to know it, but avoid like the plague using those oh-so-common superlatives such as Best, Super, etc. in your creative business name. You’re looking for a meaningful name, not a slapped together group of words that end up being a cliché of best, highest and most.
And don’t forget the potential backlash of making wild claims that you are the best:
Pinnacle Bank – you’ll have to climb a mountain of paperwork to get a loan from us.
Nirvana Nails – the toxic fumes in our salon will slay you.
Best Plumbing – oh, really???
Pick descriptive words that give authority, convey positive emotions and are unique and your creative business name will be a success.
6. Plan for Success
Your creative business name should have a degree of flexibility built into it if you plan to be around for awhile. Our original business plan was to publish a free shopper that would be distributed in grocery stores. We toyed with the idea of including either flyer, shopper, or publishing in our name until we finally settled on MPK Media, LLC. It was just generic enough to allow us to keep our original business name when the first idea didn’t work out. If we had used any of the other words in our name we would have had to go through the costly process of changing our name or stick with a name that was no longer accurate. Thankfully, we had the foresight to envision our business growing beyond our original first business plan and we named our business with an eye to the future.
7. Make a List
Obviously, one of the best ways to create innovative business names for your new business is to brainstorm. But instead of just shouting all of your ideas out and hoping that you will somehow manage to remember and keep all of the good ones while discarding all of the losers immediately, what you really need to do is to write them ALL down. That seems like something obvious. But it is very easy to get caught up spitting out crazy names that if you don’t jot them down right then you’ll lose them. And by writing everything down you can find the winning parts of the losing names to fine tune the creative business name that you’ll eventually select. And don’t forget the earlier advice that the name you pick must be available. How would you know that unless and until you checked it out?
As an example of this process, we joined MyNet Universe, a network marketing company, in August, when we learned about this great new patented software that you give away for free called the Shopping Genie. Basically, it is a free internet tool that people download for free from a web site and it helps them to find the best deals online quickly and easily and we make pay per click income whenever people shop using our Genies. They don’t even have to buy anything for us to make pay-per-click income! How great is that?! It is a win-win for everyone.
In order to give away the Genies for free we had to come up with a name for our exclusive web site when we signed up with MyNet Universe. But it was a real challenge for us to come up with just the right name for our Shopping Genie site. We had so many different combinations of words that we wanted to use so we wrote them all down. After awhile we had a very messy sheet of paper. Next, we had to check each combination to see if it was available. Eventually, we felt that we had come up with the best combination of words that was both a call to action and a promise of finding great deals: www.myshoppinggenie.com/2savenow. We decided to use it because it is memorable, it is visual with the number two in the name, it tells people that they will save money using this site, and it tells people to do it now. And it was available. Finding that one web name took about an hour along with some heated discussion, but by writing down all of our options we were able to save ourselves time (not going back for the same name over and over) and we were able to help people in our downline to come up with great web site names when they joined the business.
In addition to helping us keep track of all of our creative business naming ideas as we went along, seeing those different words right there on the page also acted as a trigger to lead us down different paths. Some writers call this mind mapping and it is very helpful when you’re trying to get your creative juices flowing. Try it!
8. Visualize and Verbalize
Creative business names can be thought of as having both a verbal and a visual element. So, when you’re doing your brainstorming, consider what you want your customers to see in their minds when they think of your business. Many of the newer wine companies have really grasped this concept and by embracing the visual they have given themselves an edge when it comes to making their businesses memorable as well as made it very easy to create logos. This can be seen with the names of colors and animals becoming very common in many new businesses. The adjective and noun combination works very well for certain business names. Take, for example, Yellow Tail Wines. That is an easy wine label to remember versus some hoity-toity winery that can easily be confused with a whole slew of similarly named wines. So don’t forget that your creative business name can definitely benefit when you incorporate a visual aspect to it.
9. Go Back To School
When I was in school I found an article on naming hotels. At first, I thought it was written as a joke because the writer from Cornell University had come up with a menu of words and his whole thesis was that you could quickly and easily name any hotel or property simply by selecting one word from Group A and another word from Group B and if you were really fancy you could add a word from Group C to get something like The Regency Arms (Inn). It seemed silly at first. And then when I tried it, it really did work. He was actually onto something.
So, if all else fails and you’re having trouble coming up with your creative business name, take a hint from the hotel naming story and head back to your creative writing class exercises. Trot out the one where you start with a list of 10 words that describes your business and find an antonym, a synonym and a homonym for each word. Keep going until you have at least a half page of words and then sit back and see how they can be combined. Do you get a pleasant image from one combination? Maybe you can combine them to have an interesting sounding name? For example, how about The Chrome Dome Home for a trailer park. Or perhaps you’ll stumble onto a name that describes your business experience: Heavenly Hair Salon. Be innovative and see what you come up with.
Antonyms are gradable opposites that lie at opposite ends of a continuum. Examples: hot and cold, fast and slow, fat and skinny.
Synonyms are different words with almost identical or similar meanings.
Example: car and automobile
Homonyms are two or more words that have the same sound or spelling but differ in meaning.
Examples: capitol / capital, and eminent / imminent, there / their.
Sometimes, your new business name will just pop into your head. If it does, and it’s available as both a .com domain name and in your state so that you can register it for your business, then you’re very lucky indeed. For the rest of us, it will take a bit of work to find the right creative business name.
For those of you who need just a little more help designing your creative business names you can always use a helpful software program that we found WordMaker. WordMaker is very easy to use, affordable, does all the creative and design work for you and will give you an almost unlimited supply of names to work with.
Hopefully these tips will help you in the naming and selection process. Good luck and let us know how this article helped you to name your business.
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