Before launching your business, you may wonder what name you should give it. Perhaps, you already have a business name, but are looking to change it.
Choosing a good and catchy business name is not always easy. Take us as an example! As it happens, people often mistake us for a dating app, because of the rendezvous! Also, had we known earlier that we would be expanding into the English-Canadian market, we might have chosen a more bilingual name when we started the business. Still, it always makes us smile hearing anglophones pronounce GOrendezvous.
To help you pick the right name for your business, here are the 4 rules you should follow when choosing a business name.
It should reflect the services you are offering (or not)
People usually agree, the name of a business should give hints about what it does. “Shopify”, an ecommerce platform, contains “shop” in its name. The name “Netflix” combines the words “Net” and "Flix". "Net" stands for “internet”. “Flix” is an abbreviation of the word “flicks”, which is a synonym for “movies”. “Facebook”, the social networking site, combines the words “Face” and “Book”. It reflects the concept of displaying photos of people.
However, not all big businesses we know have a name that relates to their offer or industry. Think of the technology company “Apple” or the multinational ride-hailing company “Uber”. We obviously see that nothing in the iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and so forth, could relate to an apple. The name “Uber”, on the other hand, is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “denoting an outstanding or supreme example of a particular kind of person or thing”. Therefore, while having a business name that reflects your services makes it easier for consumers to understand what your business is about, it is not a must either. It is up to you to judge what is best for your business.
While you can opt for a one-word business name, the option of going for a two-word business name in the health, wellness, fitness and beauty industry has its benefits (e.g. “[main name] Clinic”, “[main name] Physio”, “[main name] Salon”, [main name] Massotherapy…). In fact, you don’t have to worry if the main name reflects your services. Whatever you decide, the main name should be short and simple. It should also be easy to pronounce and remember.
It should be short and simple
Most big businesses we know today, as the ones mentioned above, have names with two syllables (e.g. Netflix, Facebook, Apple and Uber). Sometimes, they may have three syllables (e.g. Shopify). In fact, names with fewer consonants are more memorable and catchier. Therefore, when thinking of a name, think short and sweet.
It should be easy to pronounce and remember
Imagine you’re at a conference or a happy hour, it’s loud and someone asks you about your business. You want that person to be able to immediately grasp your business name on the first attempt. If the person didn’t get your business name, and you're lucky enough, he or she may ask you to repeat it. However, if you repeat it, and that person still doesn’t get it, chances are that he or she will not want to make you repeat a third time. Each time somebody doesn’t understand your business name may be a missed opportunity. What you want is, if a person ever thinks of your services, he or she will easily be able recall your business name and search for it on the internet.
It should be unique and have an available domain name
Last but not least, you want a name that has not already been taken.
- First, to check if the name is available, you can run a Google search.
- Second, if you’re planning to have a website for your business, see if the domain name with your name of interest is already taken. You can try with your country's domain (e.g. “.ca” for Canada and “.fr” for France) as well as the top-level domain “.com”, depending on which one you want to use.
- Third, if you’re planning on having a social media pages, such as Facebook or Instagram, check if these social media pages with your name are available. If the domain name or social media pages are already taken, it could affect your final decision. In fact, let’s say you wanted to give your business the name “Fantastic Clinic” and that the domain name www.FantasticClinic.ca was already taken. One alternative could be to add another related word in the domain name and choose the name www.FantasticHealthClinic.ca. While this domain name makes sense, the customers who know your business name as “Fantastic Clinic” may have a harder time finding you on the web; the same thing applies for your social media pages.
- Fourth, you can search on the national name databases. If you’re opening up a practice in Canada, you can check on the Canadian Trademark Database (https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/opic-cipo/trdmrks/srch/home); in Quebec, you can also check the Registraire des entreprises du Québec (http://www.registreentreprises.gouv.qc.ca).
A great business name doesn’t usually come overnight. This is why we’ve also created a step-by-step guide to help you generate business name ideas ;) Check out our Choosing a Business Name: A Step-by-step guide article.
Have fun! :)