How to name a small business can be a a big question when you're just starting out or looking to re-brand. Today I got a question from someone who is having trouble naming her new small business. She asked me how to name a small business. She wonders if every small business should be the owner's name. Everything she can think of to name her business is not available as a domain name. She's anxious and frustrated by the whole “naming your small business” process.
I get asked all the time “should I name my business after myself?” The answer is “it depends.” If you plan to sell your business usually the answer is no. It's much harder to sell something that has a strong association to your name – so I advise to build a brand that isn't “you” if you want to sell in the future.
Try thinking about your business name from your potential customer's (or client's) perspective. How would someone go about searching for you? Would they Google a phrase like “learn to eat gluten free”? Would they be likely to search for you by name because you already have wide recognition? What are the key phrases (keywords) you'll be using in the copy for your website? Good rule of thumb: You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find you.
It's also great if you can select a name that is easy to remember. I've seen a lot of “cute” names but they don't help much with marketing. Here's an example I don't like. “Happy Baby, Happy Mom.” What does that business do? It's a cloth diaper delivery service. A name like “Happy Baby Diaper Delivery” would be a lot easier to remember and give someone looking for that service a clue that this business does what she is looking for.
If you decide to brand to yourself it might help to use an explanatory tag line after your name that gives prospects an idea what you do. While the name of my coaching business is The Confident Marketer, I also have suepainter.com as website. What is suepainter.com about? My tag line is “become the leader of your life.” It's from that platform that I speak, do workshops, and inspire people to be all they can be in life – whether it is business or personal life.
Sometimes it is difficult because you've come up with a great name and the domain name is already taken. I still like finding an alternative that is .com rather than .net or .org or one of the many other variations available now. Try shortening one word or putting “the” in front. Get a few other business owners together and let them help you brainstorm for half an hour. You'll find something that will work (be understandable, not cute) that is available as a domain. This group can be a good focus group for you, too – if they don't understand the name you are thinking about, probably your prospects won't either.
I've seen an inexpensive book on Amazon (an e-book) by Charles Sinclair titled “The Essential Guide to Naming Your Business.” I've not reviewed it, but at $2.95 it won't break your bank. and it might be helpful. You can also read my blog post “Why Are You In Business?”
How to name a small business? Name it in a way that your potential customers and clients can find you will help you build faster. Memorable, easy, appealing – that's what you want.