What do I name my business? This is a question I see entrepreneurs struggle with constantly. After all, your business name is the first thing people see and notice about your new company, right?
Nope. The first thing people notice about your company is your product. You can have the greatest business name in the history of business names, but if your product or service sucks, you're doomed.
I touched on this topic in my post about how important a logo design is to your business, but it can't be said enough. Your business name is important to an extent, but your primary focus has to be on delivering a fantastic product that the market wants at a price they can afford; and then following that product up with impeccable service. If you do that right, your business name could be Craptastic Garbage Inc. and people will find it "cheeky" instead of representative of your product or brand.
Just 20 years ago, Google (or rather, googol) was just a number. Before that, an apple was just a fruit, and at one point IBM dominated the meat and cheese slicer and commercial scales markets as Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (or C-T-R) before changing it's name to International Business Machines in 1924 (ok, so maybe they didn't dominate the meat and cheese slicer market but they were a part of it!).
I said it in my logo design article and I'll say it again now (with one small change): The business name doesn't make the brand, the brand makes the business name. Coca-Cola might be the worst business name ever. The name literally was drived from it's two "medicinal" ingredients: Kola nuts and extract of coca leaves (ahem, cocaine). Despite that fact, the name remains because the company that was built behind it makes you forget where it came from.
With all that being said, I know you're still going to stress out about naming your business so here are a few tips when it comes to generating a business name. There are a lot of business name generators out there on the web. Don't use them! It's also important you don't use a domain registry service to search for business names. Companies like GoDaddy make millions when you search for a domain name you're interested in and don't buy it right away. Once they see you want it, if you don't snatch it up, they will. Then, when you return because you're ready to purchase it, it's suddenly a "premium" domain name that will cost you $2500 instead of the $12.99 you were originally quoted.
If you're worried about obtaining the URL to match your business name (and you should be), there are two tools I use often that I trust. The first is Domainr which utilizes all of the available TLDs to help try to match your request even if the .com is taken. Non-standard TLD's like .co, .ly, .media, and .club are starting to become more common so I say go for it if you can find one that you like. The other tool I use often is Bust A Name which will take in a list of words and try different combinations to present you with a list of available names.
Feel free to ask a few people but don't go crazy. I'm sure every single one of the businesses I listed above (along with every one I didn't list) had people who thought the names could have been better. Bottom line, pick something and work your ass off to make it a household name because people can't stop talking about how amazing your product or service is.
Photo: Flickr | Andrew Eland