If you’re at the stage where all you really need is a standout name for your Limited Liability Company (LLC), we definitely feel your pain. Sure, you could scour the web for the best business name generator, but no matter how many tips for naming a business you come across, you may still be at a loss.
In your research, you might find ways around a number of common challenges. For instance, what would you do if your name selection is in use in a nearby state? Ultimately, it falls on you to develop a catchy business name of your very own. To help, we've got some key guidelines you can use to develop unforgettable and creative business names for your company.
Explore Every Angle
You may start out with a blank page and fill it quickly as you brainstorm — be sure to hold onto even your worst ideas. You never know when something absolutely horrible will hold the key to what you’ve been searching for all along. Sometimes the best ideas come from not censoring yourself. If something seems like it doesn’t work, write it down anyway...then keep pushing to devise new ideas or fine-tune elements of the bad ones that might be worth salvaging. The important part is that you don’t set limitations up front — that will curtail your creativity and potential to arrive at something truly great.
Target Your Audience
Of course you want your business name to draw the biggest pool of prospective customers that it can — but you might actually be better off tailoring to your ideal customers. If you don’t know who that is or how to define your target demographic, take a step back to figure this out first.
Once you have a clear picture of the kind of people you envision becoming your loyal customers, you'll have a much easier time understanding what they would be drawn to. Your company name is really where your branding starts — so take it seriously and use this foundation to establish your brand identity.
Consider Its Accessibility
Right now you may be overly concerned with coming up with the cleverest, catchiest and most creative name you can imagine. That’s an admirable goal, but don’t let it cloud your common-sense judgment. First and foremost, you need a business name that is accessible to your target audience (and even beyond). You want to be sure that your name is clear, concise and easy to pronounce. After all, there’s no way for your company to become a household name if it leaves people scrambling to figure out how to say or spell it. Language is jam-packed with a ton of nuance; take that into account when you settle on a name for your business.
Look at the Big Picture
At the moment, you may think you know exactly where your business is headed. However, you never know exactly where your customers, your products and your own ambitions may lead you. Rather than bringing your own assumptions into your business name, be careful not to limit yourself.
That means not including anything too specific about where you are based or even the products you offer in your company name. You want to reflect what you do and what you stand for, but not at the expense of what the future may hold. Leave yourself plenty of room to expand in the years to come.
Reach out to Your Network
After you assemble some top name contenders, reach out to your support network for feedback. Friends and family are a good place to start, but they might not feel comfortable being absolutely honest about whether they like your business name ideas (or not). So expand your reach to include other business people and even trusted colleagues within your industry. They’ll inherently know what makes a successful business name and may be able to lend you some more direction.
Capture Your Mission
The worst thing you can do is to slap a generic name on your aspiring company and expect that customers will somehow find you. You need to hone in on what your focus is (without drilling too closely into specific products, as mentioned above) and let that be your guiding star. What is your company’s purpose? Who does it serve, and why is that objective so vital? Create a distinctive voice for your company, and you’ll be halfway toward winning over potential customers.
Check on Availability
Most of our tips have touched on finding the catchy and creative business name of your dreams. But you also need to be realistic if you're going to turn your idea into a lucrative venture. Before you really get your heart set on a business name, you need to check on its availability. Is it even an option to use in your area — and if not, what other options do you have? Take action to ensure that your business name isn’t the same or too close to that of another successful company.
Incfile's new Business Name Search page is a fast, free way to understand whether the name you want is already in use — or whether it's up for grabs and ready for you to start your company.
The Name Search Begins
The above advice may not immediately lead you to the best business name for your company, but no matter which state you’re based in, you will at least have a checklist of sorts to run your various contenders by. Finding the right path for your business is always a journey — just keep moving in pursuit of your desired result.
Ben Gran is a freelance writer from Des Moines, Iowa. Ben has written for Fortune 500 companies, the Governor of Iowa (who now serves as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture), the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and many corporate clients. He writes about entrepreneurship, technology, food and other areas of great personal interest.