Choosing a business name can be hard.
Here’s a checklist for all the things that make for a great business name:
1. Keep it concise
This does not mean short. This means leave out anything that is unnecessary in the identification of your business. In Trinidad, business names are required to state what the business does. This means that if you’re selling car parts for example, then you’re required to have a name that states that. For example ‘Dominic’s Auto Accessories’ will be accepted for this business, while ‘Red Monkey’ will not.
2. Make it memorable
Media is saturated. There are more unique products, services and businesses now than ever before. We are bombarded with thousands of ads every single day. This means that we are bombarded with different names every single day. In order to cut through the crowd, you should have a name that stands out just a little bit. Names that lend themselves to strong visuals usually work best. Take ‘Laughing Giraffe’ vs. ‘General Electric’ for example. (Ten points for whoever sends us a picture of a laughing giraffe.) Having a name that easily triggers visuals allows for a much smoother experience in developing your brand, your voicing and your positioning.
Think of a name like ‘Fashion Zoo.’ Immediately we can think of packaging that has animal prints, tickets to events that are shaped like parrots, runway shows that are themed like the jungle, ads where rhino’s where suits and speak with english accents. The possibilities are endless. Inversely, think of a name like ‘Robert’s Bikes.’ It takes a bit more effort to see it. Some would argue that Robert’s Bikes gives you a blank canvas from which you can work and create anything (including a zoo theme if you so desire), but you understand the point we’re making.
Additionally, pay attention to your industry. If everyone else names their companies a particular way, then why are they doing it like that? If there’s no required standard to comply to, then why not step out the box and break the norm?
3. Availability of domain name
A website is like real estate. For a business, having a simple address in the real world means it’s easy to give directions to your office. Think of a phone call with someone who doesn’t know where they’re going. It’s easier to say “drive on the main road and turn left at the bank. We’re the 1st building on the left.” (Not “well turn by de big tree and yuh go see a man selling plum. After yuh pass he, drive dong so for a five minutes and yuh go see we building behind the same plum tree da man now tief he plum from. We right dey, just come inside and ask for Tall Boy.)
It’s the same with a web domain. Www.sproutstartup.co is straightforward to spell, and easy to tell people about. Keep your website in mind when choosing your name. Some people will say that they don’t need a site for their business. The same principle applies for social media pages, directories and any other form of listing. (You should have a website though.)
4. Don’t cater to trends
Don’t name your business based on a style. Styles get stale. Styles go out of fashion. You don’t want to go through all the headache of setting up a business, to then be stuck with a timestamp on it. There are short, seasonal businesses that this can work for, but these are basically hustles that will die out when the the fad has ended. If you want to create something that you can build over the course of a few years, then think of something that means something to you on more than an entrepreneurial level.
Following from the point above, a name should be able to keep the strength of its impact throughout the lifetime of the name/business. When you have to give your elevator pitches, you don’t want to be a apprehensive about telling people the name of the company. Remember your first email address from your teenage years? Yea. Don’t do that.
When you’ve decided on a name, then you’re ready to register it.
Go to this site to check and see if anyone has registered it yet (Trinidad and Tobago only):
Then use these forms to start a name search and begin registering your business.
Check out this site to help you mess around with words and come up with something awesome:
When you’re done, check out this site to help you come up with great slogans: