Choosing a Name

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Your name is your single most important piece of marketing because if you are successful thousands of people are going to hear it so that means thousands of opportunities for people to learn a little about you, or a thousand missed opportunities. So with that much at stake here is the method I recommend for choosing one.

Download our Name Worksheet

0) Prep: Go back to the place you used for your mission and vision and bring the same supplies with you. Then write each of the elements of your mission and vision on post-its and put them on the wall.

1) Brainstorm: Start writing names on post-its, there are no bad answers here, but let them flow out and if you think the name ties to an element from your mission or vision put that post-it near that element.

2) Take a look at what’s out there: Then look at names of other companies in your space and see if there are elements you want to steal

When to stop:  There is no min or max name options you should have but I’d try to get at least 30 name ideas up.

3) Vote: Each person gets to vote for up to 5 names, so have each person take a pen and make a hash-mark on up to five of the post-its. Once everyone has voted choose the top five vote getters

4) Compare to the vision and mission: Compare the top vote getters to the full vision and mission statements and discuss whether the names support and harmonize, or conflict, with your statements. If any of them seem to go against your statements I’d nix them now

5) See if it is available: Most state have a name index that you can look your prospective name up in to see if it is available. For Virginia it is HERE

6) Compare to other Vendors: Next, go to the list of other vendors in your space that you developed in the Planning Phase and see if the names you are considering are confusing with any incumbent vendors. If so I’d toss them

7) Score them and get feedback:List the remaining names on the Name Worksheet and score them then send the top three to friends and family to get their perspective.

8) Final Decision: Once you have feedback from friend and family have each person on your team rank the potential names privately, then reveal everyone’s ranking and whichever did the best is the winner.

9) Tagline: The last thing I recommend doing in this section is coming up with a tagline, which is that little phrase that goes under your name and logo. Ideally, it’s your mission statement, but if your mission statement is long, see if you can cut it down to five words or less.

Again, don’t agonize over this, if you register with this name you can always go back and change it with a Doing Business As modification or “DBA”. It is pretty easy.

Other Resources: There are tons of resources out there on naming that you can reference but HERE’s my favorite