It’s probably one of the most understated yet most important decisions you will ever make for a business. The name. In many cases, this is what will greet people and introduce them to your venture. And yet it’s something startup founders rarely pay much mind to. Finding the right business name has a lot of elements to it and isn’t quite a stroke of luck thing. A good business name introduces, announces, creates interest and sells. Here are some tips you can use in naming your business. Or perhaps renaming if you’ve fallen foul of any of these guidelines.

Sounds good

Your name will be said out loud so it’s probably a good idea to have a name that sounds good when said out loud. There’s a running joke about the names chosen by some of Harare’s upmarket night clubs in the past and how they are hard to pronounce. Names such as Maestro and Bleu are mentioned here. Names such as Batsira and Ecocash are really good examples of observing this rule. The names come across clear and are hard to mistake for anything else.

Conveys meaning

Now, this is not so much a rule but it makes really good business sense to have a name that conveys meaning. The best would be to simply communicate what you do. Fresh in a Box and Thumeza are businesses named in a such a way that leaves you with no illusions about what they do. Easy to remember and catchy names that also offer some idea of what business is being carried out. So try to give your business a name that gives people an idea of what is going on.

Something people can spell

If you have one of those business names that has a weird spelling to it then please consider renaming. I came across an artist laughing at how people couldn’t spell his name and how it made them look bad. Perhaps but what I saw was a lot of Google and Social media searches returning no results. Sure you get to feel high and mighty with your fancy spelling but when people opt for the name they can remember or spell you won’t be high and mighty. If some strange spelling is necessary, you want to keep it simple and within the context, the market can understand.

Sufficiently unique or identifiable

A name should stand out significantly. Of course, you want to do this while also following the last tip so not completely outrageous. You need a name that people can easily identify. This also becomes very important as you traverse the digital terrain of social media and the internet. Check to see if the .com or is available. A startup that typifies this is 263chat, a name which is now a standout. Do not be afraid to use vernacular or other languages so long as they comply with the other guidelines here.

Be careful with names and initials

Naming a business after yourself sounds like a good idea but it only works if people care who you are. On the balance of probabilities when you start your business people don’t care who you are. Another habit is to use names that are nondescript and important to you but perhaps not to anyone else. It is, of course, your business but a business is a customer, the rest is commentary. While a certain name may mean a lot to you, it may not mean the same thing or anything for that matter to the market. So be careful of this. Another thing to try and avoid are initials. While some sound good and may even come from a  good place they may not always carry well across cultures and territories. Another reason to avoid names personal to people is the separation of business and person. Yes, today it’s a one-person startup solo but the future may hold a very different path for you and your business.

It’s important to balance between a name you and the market are happy with. It’s best to brainstorm 5 or 10 names and have different people go through the names and give their opinions. Know any outstanding business names?