In our previous article Choosing a Business Name: The 4 rules to follow, we had given you broader recommendations for choosing a good and catchy name. Let's see the 4 criteria you need for your business name:
- Reflect the services you are offering (or not)
- Be short and simple
- Be easy to pronounce and remember
- Be unique
Going a step further, we’ve also prepared a simple step-by-step methodology to help you create business name ideas.
Step 1: Conduct a focus group with 5 target clients
How will facilitating a focus group help you choose your business name?
When launching a business, we often hear that talking to customers is the best way to understand them and create a product or deliver a service that truly adds value. Talking to your customers is just as important when choosing a business name.
One effective way to do this is by conducting a focus group. The objective is to have the focus group members discuss the three potential business names (from Step 1) and agree on the best one for your business.
While focus groups take more time, they can allow you to gain deeper insights than one-on-one interviews can provide.
How should you be conducting the focus group?
You need to select five people who fit your target client profile. During the focus group have them seated around a round table in a quiet environment. First, start by explaining the purpose of the focus group, and make sure to tell them that you’re looking for honest feedback. Then, ask them for their observations on each of the three business names.
You could say something like:
“My first business name idea is [business name idea #1]. What do you think of the name?”
At the end, you can ask them to vote for their favorite name.
It’s a good idea to record the discussion, with the participants’ consent, and to take only a few notes. This way, you can really concentrate on what people are saying. You could even have a second person take notes while you ask the questions.
For more details on how to conduct an informal focus group, you can read Puican’s article on Conducting an informal focus group.
Step 2: Test the final business name with at least 10 people
Write in one sentence what your business is about, using your new business name.
An example would be:
“My business, [business name], is helping people with injuries or disabilities recover as quickly as possible, in a caring environment.”
Then, either in person or over the phone, explain the context of your inquiry. You can say something in those lines:
“I am figuring out a potential name for my business (without mentioning what it is for now) and I am doing an experiment to see if the name I have picked is a good choice. It will take less than 5 minutes of your time. I am simply going to say a sentence and ask you three questions about it.”
Tell the person the sentence you wrote earlier; the one with your business name. Then, ask the three following questions:
- What was my business name?
- Can you spell it?
- What do you think of the name? (also take note of whether it was positive, neutral or negative based also on the tone of the person)
With the first question, you can test whether your business name is memorable. If people can’t recall it, you may need to think of another one.
For the second question, if people spell your business name differently than what you expected, you may want to change its spelling. You need to make it easy for people to search for your business online. If they don’t write your business name correctly, they may not be able to find you.
Finally, with the third question, you can get general feedback on your business name. Be sensitive to the tone when the person gives you their feedback; they could be saying it is good while having hesitation in their voice, which contradicts their answer.
Step 3: Verify if your name is available
You chose your name and customers seem to be receptive to it. Now is the time to verify if the name is available in your province’s business register. It is also important to verify if declinations of your name exist in your province, so you don’t get confused with another business.
Website and social media platforms
The last step, but an important one, is to verify if your business name is available for a website domain and on social media. Having an online presence is now indispensable, and it’s important that your customers can find you easily on the web. You can verify on a hosting platform (godaddy.com) if your domain name is available in .com, .ca, .co versions.
Many resources exist online to verify if a username is available on social media platforms (namechk.com), that way you can see rapidly what options are acquirable. Ideally, you would have the same orthography for each account.
We hope this guide will help you choose a great name for your business, time to brainstorm!