May is Creative Beginnings Month and being creative is something LifeWorking and the Community Innovation Collaborative (CIC) encourage through the offerings we make available to new business entrepreneurs. One of the first creative things any business-minded person has to deal with is choosing a name. Maybe you’re one of those who thinks doing so is a piece of cake, but there is so much that a name for your company says about you, it is a crucial first step. So, with Creative Beginnings Month, let’s look at the beginning of your business.
Of course, choosing a business name can be frustrating, but it’s not something that should be rushed. In this article we’ll present why it’s so important and provide tips to help you figure out the right name.
LifeWorking can help you find the right creative atmosphere and offers tools to help your business get started, so if you’d like to book a tour to see what we do, visit our website.
Part One: Coming up with a name
Maybe creating a brand name seems like no big deal for you. Maybe you’re wondering why a company name is so important to a brand. There are a couple of reasons:
- The right name can convey a lot with a very limited amount of information
- Essentially, your entire branding strategy should begin with the name
- These days, the right name is critical for SEO and online presence
- Your name can tell your story
- The right name can be a badge of honor or source of pride for employees, which can also help with recruiting efforts down the road
Although the entire naming process can be intimidating, since there’s a lot riding on the decision, there are some simple rules you can live by and you should keep them in mind, including:
- Keep it simple. You want a name that is memorable. The more complicated you make the name, the harder it is to remember it. Simple is generally better.
- Make it memorable. As stated above, going hand-in-hand with keeping it simple is making the name memorable. You want people to associate your business name with what you do succinctly and clearly.
- Avoid complicated names. If the name is too complicated, it will not be memorable. Even if your industry is inherently complicated or technical, try to keep your business name straightforward and easy to remember.
- Make it readable. Easy to read, easy to remember. Your name will be on the materials you make to promote your business, so make sure people can easily read and pronounce the name.
- Get the domain .com name. Still, the king of the domain name is the .com. Rather than a .info, .net, .gov or any of the other customized domain names out there, most people still think .com when searching.
- Convey what you do. With simplicity, memorable-ness, readability all in mind, work to create a name that conveys what you do. Yes, this is a challenge, but the name should not be rushed, either, so take your time and try out a few.
To further assist you in this endeavor, here are some categories of business names to consider and what they mean:
Going in the direction of a literal name is great for some products, especially ones that aren’t self-explanatory when you look at them because it helps convey what the product is and what it does.
A great example is the CIC Business Incubator student project that won 2021’s Lake Forest High School Business Incubator project, Brush Bestie. The CIC Business Incubator worked with the students on this project to create a four-in-one makeup brush for busy people who need to apply makeup while on the go.
Sometimes it’s an emotion you want to evoke with your brand. A name can help with that. A good example is the women-focused media company created by actress Reese Witherspoon called Hello Sunshine. A company with a positive outlook and goal went with a positive name.
Another good example is the home security company SimpliSafe. It is a simple, easy-to-remember name, but also conveys the feelings of safety and security.
There might be a name that is very personal to you. It might be your name, or you may want to create a business name as a tribute to someone else. A good modern example of a name for a business would be the company Mory June, which creates and sells products for moms to carry and take care of their babies. There are also numerous designer brand names that evoke feelings of luxury, such as Dior, Chanel, etc., that are people’s names.
The name means something in another language
If your business has someone who speaks another language, and your intended audience or customer base is in another country or speaks another language, there might be a way to create a name that speaks to that audience. A good example is the famous Lego brand, which is a combination of two Danish words: “leg” and “godt.” Combined as Lego, it creates the brand name meaning “play well” which works as a brand for a toy.
This means taking two words or part of words and putting them together. The Lego brand is a good example, but there are others. Starchive, for example, is a website for artists to store, curate and archive their work online. It’s a good tip to consider depending on your industry.
Business Naming trends
Reviewing and researching business naming trends is a good place to start your brainstorming process, but since they are ‘trendy” they could become outdated soon, just be sure to use at your own risk.
Some of the most recent trends, spotted in 2022, include:
- Names ending in “-ly.” These include companies such as Queenly, Coverly, Humanly and more.
- Remove e in er, or other creative misspellings. Some good examples these days are Tumblr, Breakr, Butlr, etc.
- The [blank] and [blank] method. For example, the nail polish company Olive & June is a good one.
Things to consider when doing the naming brainstorm:
- Write every idea that comes to mind down on paper, even if you don’t think you like it. Whatever the idea is, it could spark something and lead to something better.
- Make a word web. List some words you associate with your business, or the way you want to make your clients feel, etc. And then use sources like https://www.onelook.com, https://guide.onym.co/ to find synonyms or related words that evoke that same feeling.
- Here’s an exercise you can do:
- Write out all the words/synonyms/prefixes/suffixes/etc., that you’ve come up with each on a separate strip of paper and physically rearrange them in front of you to see if anything stands out. You can even break the words down further by cutting each syllable apart separately.
- This is a particularly excellent method when coming up with compound names.
- When you’ve narrowed your choices down, run them by other people to see what they think. Remember to keep it objective and don’t tell them your favorite ahead of time. You might find a certain name resonates with people more than you were expecting, or vice versa.
- A good question to ask people is: “If you saw this name out of context, what would you think the business was?”
- Note: it is not necessarily a bad thing if they can’t tell, for example, if you just heard the name Apple you wouldn’t know they sold computers.
Whatever method you choose to find the right name, in the end, you have to make sure you are the one happy with the name. A lot can go into it, but if you don’t like it, it’s not a successful exercise.
How LifeWorking and the CIC Business Incubator can help
LifeWorking can help because we are the perfect place to network with other entrepreneurs who will use their experience to help. More importantly, LifeWorking is where you will find the CIC Business Incubator. This is where you can get the information you need from people with years of experience creating businesses from the ground up.
LifeWorking also provides office space without the hassle of leases or set-up, which is perfect for new companies and a perfect atmosphere for brainstorming.
The crucial business naming step
Choosing the right name is crucial at the start and should not be rushed, and it needs to be done early in the process. LifeWorking’s business solutions for new companies can be the perfect solution to start your naming and branding discussion.
Visit us today and take a tour. Talk to the people who are already here using our space, and find out how we can help you with your new business endeavor. And if you want to become a client of the CIC Business Incubator, we can help you there, too.