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how to find the perfect name
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Updated 29 January 2024

How to find the perfect name for your company

The company name is, almost always, the first aspect a customer or potential customer notices when approaching a brand. For this reason, choosing the right name for your business is critical. But what, in this case, does “right” mean?

Before knowing the characteristics that a name for a company must have, you should immediately take note of a piece of advice that you should never forget: the first idea that comes to your mind is (almost) never the right one. Choosing the best name for your company, in fact, is a far more complex process, which must take into consideration a number of rules, parameters, legal aspects, possible negative consequences and mistakes that must absolutely be avoided.

Get ready because you are about to find out already in the next few lines what are the winning characteristics of a name for a company.


Company name: the winning features

The options available to you when you are called upon to choose a name for your company are many: you can opt, for example, for a name that can represent what you plan to offer your customers, it can reflect brand values, or it can express your personality. In any case, remember that your company name, to be truly successful, must have certain specific characteristics.

It may seem trivial to some, but history shows that, in fact, it is not at all: your company name must be, first and foremost, unique. This means, of course, that you must make sure that the name you come up with is not already being used by another company. Also avoid names that may be similar to others already in use: it is likely that, sooner or later, you would in fact be forced to change it to avoid legal problems. To avert any risk, one solution is to resort to an invented name, perhaps the result of combining the initials of some significant words.

Your company name must also be simple, that is, short and easy to pronounce, write, dictate and search for: aim for words composed of a few syllables and/or spelled not too articulately.

The next winning feature is, of course, also related to the nature of the business and your business goals: if you want to sell your products or services abroad as well, you need to choose an international name, that is, one that can be easily understood in different countries and, above all, does not lend itself to unseemly translations or puns in other languages.

It is very important that your company name be memorable: that is, it must stick in the minds of your customers. You can achieve this goal in various ways: for example, you can opt for an alliterative name, that is, composed of words that use the same letters or sounds. This is a very useful expedient for finding solutions that are fun and, in this way, easier to remember.

Choosing a descriptive name, that is, one that suggests in some way the company’s operational scope, can also help make your brand more easily remembered. Here the choice is yours: to make your company’s name memorable, you can also go the opposite route, that is, go for an unusual and original name that is totally unrelated to the nature of the business you carry on. Again, the word you choose will more easily stick in your customers’ heads.

An additional tip for you is to consider choosing a name that is meaningful, that is, one that, with a handful of letters, may be able to briefly explain the story around your brand. It is very important in this regard that the word you choose evokes positive associations and feelings.


Mistakes to avoid

As already mentioned, the process leading to the final choice of a company name is quite complex: this also means that mistakes are always lurking. There are some, in particular, that you absolutely must avoid.

The biggest mistake is, of course, underestimating the importance of this process. Remember that a recognizable brand helps you stand out from the crowd, strengthens your company’s credibility and helps create a stronger relationship of trust with your customers.

Other mistakes to avoid are a direct consequence of what has just been said about the winning features the name must have: you should, in fact, avoid words that are poorly understood, too generic or too specific (i.e., that leave no room for the desirable growth of your company).

A mistake that you absolutely must not make is also to underestimate the risk of getting involved in costly lawsuits because of the name you have chosen. We will go into more detail in a few lines about some of the steps you must necessarily take but, for now, just keep in mind that the name you choose for your company cannot be in any way already in use by another company.

Be careful because betting on current trends when choosing a name can be a double-edged sword: while, in the immediate term, this may in fact give a boost to the popularity of your brand, as the years (or, even, months) go by, the term you choose may become anachronistic and obsolete.

Also, avoid making the choice of a name a collective process: different people have different histories, interests, and sensibilities, and all this can make your decision even more complicated and lead you astray. That said, you can select a group of people who are familiar with the company’s history and goals and submit your choices to their judgment: don’t just ask which name they like best, but also question your group about the reasons for their preferences.

Always keep in mind that the goodness of your choice inevitably depends on the nature of your business model and your goals: for a business geared to a local market it may make sense to include the location in the name, while it is totally unnecessary (if not counterproductive) to do so if it is aimed at a geographically broader clientele.


Examples of names for companies

Some practical examples can make it even clearer for you how to choose the right name for your company.

We pointed out, earlier, that a winning feature of a company name is uniqueness: IKEA is an invented word (it is, specifically, an acronym of the name, the family farm, and the hometown of its founder) and, therefore, certainly unique. Not only that: it is also a short name and, because of that, easier to remember.

Another viable choice for attracting the attention of the potential customer is, as mentioned, to go for an unusual name without a direct connection to the company business: this is a challenge that is not always successful, but if mastered well, can give you great satisfaction. Not surprisingly, it is the path chosen by the founders of two hugely successful companies: Amazon and Apple.


Verify that the name has not already been chosen

Have you thought for a long time about the name to give to your company, found the one you think is the best, and are looking forward to registering your trademark to “armor” your idea? Don’t rush: there are still some steps to be taken.

Before proceeding with registration, in fact, you must be absolutely certain that the naming you choose is not already in use. To your rescue come the national business registries: consult them to make sure that no one has gone before you.

Another good tip is to check the trademark registries and website of the offices dedicated to intellectual property and make sure that the website domain you have chosen for your business and the name you have designed for the social pages are not already being used by others. Keep in mind that company name and web address do not have to be identical, but they should be similar so there is no confusion.


Name ideas for companies: online tools and resources

Need more practical tips for finding the right name for your company? Now that you know what features it should have and the mistakes to avoid in this delicate process, you can make the most of some tools the Web provides that offer ideas for a company name.

Shopify’sBusiness Name Generator“, for example, gives you a list of potential business names in seconds, starting with a single word used to describe your brand. Namelix’sBusiness Name Generator” also suggests names for businesses from a few keywords. This software uses Artificial Intelligence to achieve its purpose: you can filter the results according to your priority, and its answers will gradually get better and better according to the preferences you indicate.

Obviously, these tools can suggest names to you automatically and for free, but they do not take into account all the additional aspects mentioned above; therefore, the best way to create your own naming is to rely on specialized agencies that can combine originality, professionalism and, above all, legal compliance.

It is time, now, to give you the final piece of advice. You have already been warned not to hastily choose a name for your company, not least because it will inspire all your future corporate identity and marketing decisions and because, in the future, you are unlikely to have the opportunity to change it without repercussions for your business; likewise, however, do not lose yourself in endless analyses of the pros and cons of each company name you consider because, by doing so, you only risk getting stuck indefinitely, without completing this step, which is also very important on a psychological level. Remember, in this regard, the words of Simon Sinek:

“Dream big, start small. But most of all, leave”.

Tags: Branding

Nicola Zanetti

Founder B-PlanNow® | Startup mentor | Startup consulting & marketing strategist | Leading startup to scaleup | Private angel investor | Ecommerce Manager | Professional trainer | Book writer

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