After dedicating hours or maybe even days of thinking up and crossing off every possibility, you have finally settled on the perfect name for your startup. Or, at least you think it’s perfect. But how can anyone really know if a name will be successful with your target audience?
Coming up with a name for your business means that you need to consider what you as the entrepreneur think of the name. It’s great if you find a name and like it, and it’s a good sign if your team likes it as well, but the most important it is if your target audience is receptive to your business name.
If your startup name doesn’t generate enough talk and interest with your target customers, all of the time and effort you put into brainstorming your business name was wasted. Our complete guide for coming up with a business name will help you get the most out of the time you dedicate to finding the perfect name for your business.
Brainstorm a bunch of great possible names
This is the best part of the process for you to pull all the creative levers in your brain and start thinking outside the box. Type up or write down every business name suggestion you can think of regardless if you think it would be a good fit.
A solid name for a startup should be easy to pronounce, spell, and remember. In addition, you should also do a quick Google search to ensure that there’s a suitable URL available with your name ideas. This will help you later down the line so you don’t fall in love with the name only to discover that it’s already taken or way too expensive.
Create a shortlist
After you have collected a variety of names, begin crossing ones you don’t think are a good fit off the list. The goal here is to narrow your options so you have a list of about five or six possible names.
Consider not only what you think is a good fit, but who you are trying to appeal to. Millennials may not gravitate towards a classic, preeminent name the way previous generations would.
Get feedback from your target demographic
Once you have created a great shortlist of possible startup name ideas, it is time to bring in some outside opinions. Make sure that you bring in people based on your target audience. You can define your target audience based on traits like gender, age, and region. Give context to your questions to allow your audience to make a relevant decision when making choices about a name for your business. In addition, it’s crucial to slow your target audience down. They need to stop to think about your question and consider your name in the context of your brand.
The worst mistake you could make in this process is to ask your audience questions like this, “Which one of these names do you like?” That’s an extremely vague question because your business name likely means nothing without context. Your questions should go beyond the simple, subjective category of “like.”
Here are some examples of what your questions should look like:
- Which one of these tech startups are you most interested in learning more about?
- Which one of these social media apps are you most likely to try?
These questions are important to the process because they force your target audience to pause and think about your brand in a specific context.
You can also try asking questions that are rooted around value or benefit propositions. For example:
- Which one of these names would be the best fit for an innovative payment process company focused on millennials?
- Which of these tech startup names do you feel most embodies modernization and advancement?
Analyze your results
Finally, the last step in this process is to analyze the results and decide which name will be the most successful for your startup. You might find that the results will surprise you, or maybe they will be exactly what you expected. We have found it very common, in the thousands of name audience tests we have performed, we find that “the one,” the name that the entrepreneur loves will simply perform awfully with their audience. This type of reality check is exactly why the audience testing process is so critical.
There is not an exact testing method that will give you a clear-cut, precise answer as to whether or not your startup name will be successful. However, audience testing is a great method to another step to your validation process. It can help you choose a business name that will work for your business. With crucial audience feedback, you can decide which is your strongest name option to move forward with.
Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Inc 500 company Squadhelp.com, the worlds #1 naming platform, with nearly 20,000 customers from the smallest startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation. Get inspired by exploring these winning brand name ideas.