Want an Epic Name for Your Business? Use This Simple Process to Build a Legacy
You shall be named Radegundis… Could you imagine living your life as Radegundis? Maybe it could be simplified with a nickname such as “Rade”.
This is how my destiny was almost set on a completely different path. Picking my name was going to go down as writing two names in a couple of pieces of paper and randomly picking one, with Marcos and Radegundis as the options.
My dad was decided to name my like his dad (Marcos) because I was the first grandchild that would carry the last name (Sanoja), but my mom liked Alejandro, and also didn’t think it was fair to consider naming me like my dad’s father and not consider her father.
So my mom said, “let’s write Marcos and Radegundis in two pieces of paper, we put them in a hat, shake it, and then randomly pick one and that shall be the name we pick”... my dad’s answer was “you know what… I like Alejandro :D”, and here I am.
Should you use this process to name your business? Or are there any other options?
The truth is that a name is important and should not be taken lightly. As demonstrated in this episode of the Freakonomics podcast (which comes from the book), names can have a big impact on the life of a human being. It’s the same for businesses.
On the other hand, don’t let picking the name to be an excuse for not taking action and move forward. Throughout history, there have been many scenarios where companies change names, merge names, go back to old names because the new one failed, and many other situations.
I know, I haven’t answered the question yet… how should we go about picking the name of a business and how much time should we dedicate to that task?
The short answer is, as much as it is necessary and not a second more! For the long answer, keep reading.
Types Of Business Names
Although the goal is to get it right the first time, keep in mind that everything in this world is fluid, which means names and brands can be changed. And sometimes all the research and resources in the world will not help you make the right decision.
A great example of this is when Coca-Cola changed the formula and name of their product and named it the “New Coke”. After 99 years, they decided to change the formula because consumer research said this new flavor was preferred. Long story short, it was a complete failure and they had to go back to the original formula and rebranded the can as “Coca-Cola Classic”.
Do you want to go back and forth with names? OF COURSE NOT! That’s why you are reading this article, so keep going.
The first thing we must understand is that there are different kinds of names.
Literal Industry Related Names
This could be something like Kentucky Fried Chicken, where there is not a lot of room for imagination. It’s chicken, it’s fried, and it originated in Kentucky.
Part of Your Name of Full Name
This can be something like McDonalds, Ernst & Young (which rebranded to EY), where the name is simply the name or last name of the founder or founders.
This can be something like Instagram or Google. Keep in mind that when these companies started, they usually had a sub name to help people get what they did. Google was referred as “Google the Search Engine”. In an episode of How We Built This, the Instagram founders shared a story about how they knew they “made it” because the articles about their company stopped referring to them as “Instagram, the photo-sharing app” and just used Instagram.
If you are going to pick an invented work, be sure to create a sub name to go with it explaining the core activity of the business.
You could also pick any word, that has a meaning that you care about and can relate to the company. This could be something like Apple. Keep in mind that Apple started as “Apple Computers”.
Of course, another option is to use a combination of any or all of these.
Keep in mind that if anything is an option, then nothing is an option. Which is why you want to have some general preferences of the elements you would like to be part of the name of your company.
One of the best ways to go about it is to write anything that comes to mind, combinations, your name or last name with different words (related to the core business activity, or anything else you like), or made up words. Make a list as big as possible. It could look like:
- Alejandro Entrepreneurship
- Sanoja Entrepreneurship
- Alejandro Consulting
- Sanoja Consulting
- Alejandro’s Solutions
- Ship The Solution
Anything is a good idea, just write it all. These are the raw materials you will be working with. This is like a big chunk of wood. You first need a big block of it before you can start carving it, making details, and transforming it into art.
If you start carving a small block of wood… you might soon get to the point where there is nothing else to do, and you might not like what you have. But if you have a big block of wood, you will have more chances to keep carving and fixing any mistake you make.
So write anything and everything that comes to mind, we will deal with the carving later.
A Simple Way To Narrow Down Business Name Options
To make things easier you should:
Google the names
Search the names on different social media platforms
This will easily eliminate certain possibilities which will make the selection process simpler. Check if there are many companies that have this name, while also checking the quality of the links that are popping up.
If the name you want to pick is associated with names or content that is shared through big publications (think big newspapers or pages with a lot of traffic) then it will be very difficult for you to rank for that term. So unless that is a name that you are willing to fight for, you might be better off picking another one.
Also, checking the different social media channels will let you know if you would be able to have a unified handle. In other cases, these problems could arise later, which is the case of a company like Kensington, because there is a city with the same name as well as a band. Cities having social media channels is a trend that started lately and the band was started more than 15 years after the company was founded so there is nothing they could do about it.
Picking The Ultimate Best Name For Your Business
At this point, it would be a good idea to start visualizing how the logo of the company could look like by running through the different names you have. Especially, think about how all the forms in which it could be presented, what icons could go with it, and how would the initials look.
Let’s say your name is Francis Urban, and you are all about taking action, being mindful, and living NOW! So you decide to use your name and a word to name your business… and you go with Francis Urban Now: Living in the Present
Sounds great… until you realize that the initials read FU Now… back to the drawing board.
So, once you’ve laid a big block of wood, and you’ve carved it with the methods we’ve given you, you are ready to take what is one of the hardest steps for most people. Putting your work out in the world for people to hit it with all they’ve got and see what is left still standing.
Getting feedback could be a tough situation for most people. You could either get bad feedback, because people are afraid to tell you what they really think to not hurt you, or they would tell you what they really think and you will not like it which will make you blind to seeing the value of their opinion (yes, in the end, these are all opinions).
For this reason, you have to do several things. First, you have to set up the mood so that people feel comfortable being open and honest. Second, you have to get feedback from people that have different world-views and take that feedback as what it is… just opinions that you will use as input for your final decision.
The Best Name For Your Business
Ultimately, the best name for your business is the one that you like the most. You will see it every day, and it could potentially be your legacy. So feel free to use as much of this process that we’ve shared with you, consult with people you like and trust, but most importantly follow your gut.
This process can be as simple as doing what we’ve outlined here. Or as complex as doing creative surveys, focus groups, research, and many other things. Just keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
If you are just starting your business, and maybe even already have a couple of clients, then following this process should be enough to create a valuable name. If you are at the point where to take your business to the next level you need to elevate your brand first, then be sure to hire someone that is capable to do so.
At Elisha Consulting we use anthropology, economics, and marketing principles, to help you build a business with a memorable brand experience. We dive deep into understanding your clients and potential customers as human beings, to create meaningful experiences that will lead to value creation.
If you are ready to elevate your brand, contact us.