6 Ways to Brainstorm a Business Name for Your Startup

There’s a lot of important decisions to make when starting a business. One important part is brainstorming a name for your startup.  

Choosing a great business name can be a lot of things – fun at first, but then quite strenuous, frustrating and time consuming.

CrowdSpring founder Ross Kimbarovsky, described his personally experience in an Entrepreneur article, “We spent over 50 hours in 2007 when we came up with ‘CrowdSpring.’ Some entrepreneurs can easily spend hundreds of hours – and thousands of dollars – searching for a perfect name, only to hit a creativity wall.”

Even though it is usually the quality of a company’s products and services that determine if it is good or bad, names do weigh into the decision. According to Time Magazine, 77% of consumers make purchases based on a brand name.

So if you’re looking to start a business and are in the process of brainstorming a name that exudes trust, credibility and excitement to your target audience, then let’s help you brainstorm a business name for your startup. 

Characteristics of a Good Business Name

I think things are easier when we give them limits. You know, to narrow down the thousands of options you have out there. 

  • Simple and easy to pronounce: a good brand name is one that is easy for your customers to pronounce and remember. It should have no more than three or two syllabus and be easy for reporters and journalists to prounce and talk about. Let’s not make it hard like graduation when the principal butcher’s everyone’s names. One of the best examples of this is in the movie, That Thing You Do, when the  band tries to come up with  a name. They like the “Wonders” but want to spell it the “Oneders.” It didn’t last when the announcer pronounced it the Oh-need-ers. 
  • (Legally) Available: There is no point is starting a business if you cannot acquire the full rights to its name. Be sure that you opt for a registration certificate that is issued by the USPTO (or another equivalent agency where you live in). While you’re at it, check the domain name and the social handles. You don’t want to make it hard to find you online or tag you in posts. 
  • Be unique: Your startup name needs to be unique in the sense that it does not a) sound weird or b) come off similar to your competitors. Think of Hiring.com, Careers.com and HotJobs.com – none of which stand out. But Monster.com does (even if it doesn’t describe its business).

Start Word Dumping

We’re going back to basics. The most basic of all brainstorming techniques is to get out a piece of white blank paper or the notes section of your smartphone and start jotting down your ideas. If sticky notes are more your style then by all means, go right ahead.

Try to dump in as many words as you can that relate to your business, even if some of them don’t make any sense or match with what you’re selling. The idea is that you drop as many names and words you can think of until one of them clicks.

If you want to streamline the results, go for these categories; words, verbs, feelings, aesthetic, people. You’re even free to use a dictionary, a thesaurus or even the internet all things considered.

Collaborate with the Right People (or Apps)

If you’re hitting a wall in coming up with a good business name, perhaps it’s time to ask for help (which I know we don’t like to do). It’s always a good idea your colleagues or close friends, family members help you.

You can also use apps like Name Mesh or Naminum to help you generate names.

Think of Names that Explain What You’re Selling

Before Google became the multi-billion-dollar corporation it is today, it was supposed to be named ‘googol’, which represents the number 1 followed by a hundred zeros. But the creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin, decided to go with the name for their search engine (which was going to be called BackRub).

Apparently, the name Google had more to its name than being short and easy to recall; but because the search engine generated large amounts of information, it matched the definition of the word googol. This created a compelling story that remained in the minds of the customers for years up till now.

If you’re into the flower-selling business, you could come up with names like Bouquet4U, Blooming Petals or Smiling Blossom, among others.

Alternative Spelling

Go through each of the names and phrases that you’ve come up with and highlight the ones that pique your interest. One simple trick you can try is altering the spelling of the words you’ve picked out. You can get simpler results just like Toggle, Tumblr, Flickr or Scribd.

Make a Mood Board

Give your brainstorming endeavor a visual appeal with a mood board. You can grab old magazines and newspapers, cut out some pictures, words or colors that identify with your business.

Better yet, you can digitize the process and create a Pinterest account. Start a new board and look for fun and relevant images and quotes that best describe your company. This is a relatively much quicker way than having to sort through dozens of magazines.  

Conclusion:

There’s a lot in a name – especially a startup name. Granted how much time I spend thinking about a blog post title, I feel you. You can read the full story on how Windy City Cosmo came up with their name here. 

 

Hamza Shahzad is a freelance writer and blogger. Currently, he’s working with Smile Tutor. He assists with business development and social media content planning.

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