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How to Choose a Strong Business Name and Amplify Your Brand Many businesses make the mistake of choosing names that do nothing to amplify their brand. Don't be one of them.

By Alex Skryl Edited by Chelsea Brown

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you are building a startup, you may know that the very nature of startups means you are going to face many challenges from the get-go. These challenges include identifying the right audience and developing a solid marketing strategy that appeals to their audiences, thereby building a loyal customer base. And to do this successfully, you need to create a strong brand.

Even startups with great products still find it difficult to penetrate the market and gain market share if they have not been able to successfully create a strong brand. This is the core of every business and one of the most important challenges that you as a founder must take on.

Branding begins with choosing a name. A business name should communicate to the public the type of product or service you're offering and increase your visibility.

Unfortunately, many businesses make the mistake of choosing names that do nothing to amplify their brand. Don't be one of them. A good brand name should be unique, easy to remember and evoke some type of emotion in your target customers. If you don't build a sustainable and memorable brand for your business, your brand identity will run the risk of being swallowed up by the competition.

Related: 5 Common Challenges Entrepreneurs Face When Creating a Brand Name

How to choose a brand name

Your startup can't launch without a name. But coming up with a great brand name can be time-consuming. There are two optimal options when it comes to naming your business: You can either come up with a name on your own, or you can use a business name marketplace, like BrandBucket.

So, the first option is to come up with a name for your business on your own. This can be a great option if you have a specific idea in mind. Here are some tips for coming up with a great brand name:

Unleash the power of storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful tool. A story describes experiences, places, and events that people can relate to. Your personal story is closely related to your business. Think about your journey so far and why you decided to start the business.

Many businesses now use story-driven names. For instance, Robinhood, a financial services company named after the story of the legendary Robin Hood. The company focuses on the fair distribution of wealth through commission-free investing.

There are other names you can choose that will tell the story of your brand by just mentioning the brand name. Another good example is the ecommerce giant, Amazon. Jeff Bezos wanted a name that began with the first letter of the alphabet. He also knew that the Amazon River is the longest and widest river in the world. And since he was trying to build what would become the largest bookstore in the world, he chose the name.

With such a compelling story, it is no surprise to see how the Amazon brand name ended up becoming so powerful. So, when you are choosing your brand name, try starting with a story. If you are lucky enough to come up with a brand name that incorporates your story, you'll be sure to stand out from the competition.

Related: 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Naming Your Business

Brainstorm keywords that capture your values

Your values are your promises to your customers. They should strike an emotion or a feeling in them. After telling your story, identify keywords that stand out. Make a list of the words that come to your mind.

Examples of business values are:

  • Trustworthiness

  • Inclusiveness

  • Wellbeing

  • Optimism

  • Flexibility

  • Encouragement

  • Acceptance

  • Love

  • Personal development

Go ahead and brainstorm with your team to come up with possible names that match your values.

Verify the availability of your business name

You may wonder why your domain name should match your business name. Simply put, it makes it easier for people to find you on the internet when they are looking for your company. However, after choosing a business name, you will often discover that the domain name is already taken. Then you have to go through the hit-or-miss process of finding the domain owner and reaching out. And if the owner agrees to sell, the price is usually outrageous. Additionally, startups often can't afford the services of a professional agency to get a brand name that might come with a matching domain name.

Related: How To Choose A Name For Your Company

Brand name marketplaces

The second option is to use a brand name marketplace. This option is becoming increasingly popular with startups, because it's a quick and easy way to find an available business name with a matching domain name.

Thinking up a business name and checking its availability can be a herculean and time-consuming task. Most startup founders have to first think up a name, then go online to check if the domain name of the selected name is still available or not. And if it is not, they have to contact the owner of the domain name, and many times, they are met with outrageous prices if the owner agrees to sell. If the owner doesn't want to sell, they have to repeat the process all over again, and this ends up dragging the business process. Thankfully, things have changed, and you no longer have to spend all day brainstorming with your team for a business name.

There are a plethora of businesses that offer business name-generating services for startups, but only a few that offer fully formed brands, complete with a logo and a matching domain. One of the pioneers in this industry is BrandBucket, founded by Margot Bushnaq.

As a startup founder herself, she saw that while every startup needed a brand name and matching domain name, there was no streamlined process to acquire these. That need drove her to start BrandBucket in 2007 with the vision to become every startup's first choice for brand names. BrandBucket is now the largest database of premium business domain names in existence.

Bushnaq opines that startups should be able to access affordable services that allow them to search for and purchase business names by industry or style and equally get full rights to the corresponding ".com" domain name automatically. More than that, she aimed to save founders time. "Time is the most precious commodity for a startup founder. They need to focus on their business and not waste time brainstorming names or searching for available domain names," she says.

"The goal is to make the process of naming a startup as simple and efficient as possible, so founders can focus on building their business, not brainstorming names," says Bushnaq. "We want to help founders get their business off the ground as quickly and easily as possible." With this solution, all a startup founder has to do is go to BrandBucket.com and start browsing through industry-specific lists of available brand names, each with a matching ".com."

BrandBucket has a global customer base and has helped entrepreneurs in over 180 countries find the perfect brand name for their business. The website features more than 100,000 hand-selected, premium business names available for purchase, with new names added daily.

Using the tips above, you should have a solid idea of how to go about choosing an effective brand name. And armed with the right tools, getting a suitable brand name with an accompanying domain name will no longer be one of the headaches a new startup has to face.

Alex Skryl

Co-founder and CEO of NutriSense

Alex Skryl is co-founder and CEO of NutriSense, leading the company on a mission to help anyone discover and reach their health potential. Alex was previously co-founder of Trusted Child Care (acq by Care.com) and the first engineer at Trunk Club (acq by Nordstrom).

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