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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What’s It’s Really Like to be a Chicago Female Entrepreneur

What’s it really like to be an entrepreneur? Now add, what’s it like to be a Chicago female entrepreneur?

In June 2016, Chicago was named the world capital for female-founded startups, with 30 percent of startups started by women.

After attending motivational talks, female creatives or business groups, and interviewing Chicago female entrepreneurs over the past four years, I’ve pulled together some of the best quotes to convey what it really means to be a Chicago female entrepreneur in 2017.

Advice from Chicago Female Entrepreneurs:

“Literally, I didn’t see my friends for the year,” Lakesha Rose from Rose Phillips Online said about the first year of going into business. Read the full interview here.

“Give yourself permission to be fabulous. Do not let anyone define who you are,” said Dima Elissa, Mentor, Investor, and Council Member of Ms. Tech. Read more about her story here.

“If I was going to send someone to you, what would I send them for?” Nicole Yeary, Founder of Ms. Tech, said in a Ms. Tech meetup about how to hone your skillset. Read more advice from Yeary here. 


“We talk a lot more than we used to. We talk like 10 times a day. When you are in business with someone, it’s like a marriage!” Vanessa Cutler, Founder of Emotilink said about having a friend as a business partner. Read more about her mental health app here.  As a bonus, you can read the background of her app design and business plan through this case study. 

“I hot glued myself into my dress,” Krista Goral, Founder of MeasureMake, said about the dresses she created in college for special occasions. She now sews custom fit dresses for women in Chicago. Read more about her dress making start-up in her full interview here.

“The hardest part is balancing and finding the time to do it all. I struggle with the life/work balance, and I am sure many other working women would agree with me on that! I wear many hats, and it is important to me to put my all into ever hat I wear and do the best I can,” said Katie Schuppler, Owner of KS Style Consulting and Style/Beauty Blogger for Fashion Speak. Read her full interview here.  

“I never really worry about failure. I do in the way that everyone does with day to day anxiety. But, so much of liftUplift comes out of myself. I don’t worry that that will be taken away from me,” said Corielle Laaspere, Founder of liftUplift about overcoming failure. Read more about how she has built a global marketplace for female-led businesses here. 

“Don’t compare your hustle with someone’s highlight reel. You don’t see the moments where we work 100 hour weeks,” said Katy Lynch, former CEO of Techweek, in a panelist discussion.

Share your Start-up Story:

For more advice on how to turn your passion into profit, check out this infographic.

Are you a Chicago entrepreneur? Email Windy City Cosmo at windycitycosmo@gmail.com to share your story.

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