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: List three potential business names
1. List 30 words related to your business.
Examples for hair salons:
2. List 15 names that use one of the words listed above.
Examples for hair salons:
- List your 3 favorite potential names.
Step 2: Conduct a focus group with 5 target clients
Why conducting a focus group will help you pick a 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 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?
In sum, 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. irst, start by explaining the purpose of the focus group, andake sure to tell them that you’re looking for honest feedback. Then, ask them for their feedback 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.
A good idea is to record the discussion, with their consent, and 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 3: 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, all in a caring environment.”
Then, either in person or through the phone, explain the context of your inquiry. You can say something in those lines:
“I am currently 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.”
Then, tell the person the sentence you wrote earlier on, the one with your business name. Then, ask the 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 had in mind, you may want to think of changing how it is spelled. Again, you want 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 how the person gives you their feedback; they could be saying it is good, while having a hesitant voice, which might contradict their spoken words, for example.
We're hoping this methodology will help you choose the best name for your business. Time to brainstorm!