7 Suggestions For Naming Your Service-based Business
New entrepreneurs will often spend an absurd amount of time naming their business.
Tell me: Have you ever encountered one of these two groups online?
The first group has come up with hundreds of name possibilities and then become paralyzed by all of the choices facing them.
You’ll probably see them posting in multiple facebook groups, asking for other people’s opinion on which one out of their favorite ten is the best… even though the difference between them all is superficial at best.
Debating over minutiae like just wastes time. If the names are decent, choosing one over another is not going to have a noticeable impact on your business.
The second group has no idea where to start on naming their service-based business.
Do they use their own name? Do they use the name of their service in the actual name? Should they try to be clever? How do they make sure that their name can stand the test of time?
An entrepreneur facing these kinds of questions will stall on this step for much longer than they should, delaying the actual “real” work of creating a business.
In general, people worry too much about how to name their business. They’ll spend weeks thinking about it instead of worrying about more important things, like if there’s even a target market in the first place (hint: validate your idea beforehand).
But that said, there are some basic guidelines you should follow when naming your service-based business (especially if you have no idea where to begin).
1. Describe what your company does (i.e. you should probably use at least one keyword)
Answer: They’re all short and snappy names that include at least one word that references exactly what they’re about. Don’t make your prospects guess what service you offer. Give them a rough idea of what they can expect.
That doesn’t mean that you have to spell it all out in the name. For example, we used Lawn Tribe instead of “Lawn Mowing & Lawn Care Service in the DC area”. You don’t want your prospects eyes to glaze over before they’re even finished reading half of your name.
Instead, you want potential customers to have a rough idea of what it is you might offer from the name alone. All further details like price or a complete list of services can all be found on your website, your advertisements or in your promotions.
2. Don’t try to be clever (most people probably won’t get it)
A lot of first-time entrepreneurs want their name to be special.
And yeah, I get it. I mean, don’t call it something dull and obscure like “Maids Consulting & Co.” But just because you don’t want to be boring doesn’t mean that you need to work around the clock to come up with a name that will make people laugh every time they hear it.
Even if you do come up with a title that has you breaking out into hysterics every time you say it, I can guarantee you that a lot of people just won’t get it.
Think about it: how many jokes do you hear that get every single person you know laughing? People find different ideas funny, plus they have to be in the right mood to hear it. And aiming your business idea only at drunk college co-eds is probably not going to skyrocket your success.
Plus, if you choose a name that’s written in obscure language (rather than just a simple pun), you’ll lose out on a lot of potential customers who make a split decision in less than second that your service isn’t what they’re after.
Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule. But if you’re just starting out, I’d 100% recommend you go for clarity in your names rather than a clever idea that may or may not pan out.
3. Don’t be overly specific
The key is that you want to choose a name that can grow with you as your business expands. Sure, if this is your first business, you’re probably starting off looking at just your local city or region. Maybe you only offer plumbing services in the DC area, for example.
And that’s a great place to start! Don’t make the mistake of offering too much all at once. You’ll burn out and you won’t be able to serve your market in a way that makes an impact.
But always be thinking about the future of your business. Where would you like it go go?
If you’re successful, you’re probably going to want to start expanding to other cities or other states. Or maybe you’ll even open up your services to include all sorts of extras that you keep hearing about over and over again from clients.
So you don’t want to be stuck with a name that was too specific and only referenced that one area. Sure, you could change it later on. But do you really want to do that after all of the yelp reviews, marketing and promos are pointing to your original name?
Make it easy on yourself and choose a name that can grow with your business.
4. Use the words of your target market
What kinds of words do your customers use when they’re searching online for your services? What part of your service is their number one concern? How do they refer to what you offer in casual conversation?
If you own a maid service, you would never name it something like “Washing, Sanitizing & Sterilizing Co,” right?
We all know what those words mean but someone searching for someone to clean their home would NEVER use words like that. They’re going to search for something like “maid services DC” or “clean apartment DC.”
Capitalize on the words that your target market is already using. And this doesn’t have to be complicated.
Think about it. If someone is googling for a service-based business… they’re probably going to use that exact service in their search, right?
If you’re not sure what kind of words your market uses, go out and actually talk to them. Read up on your competition. Go through all of their yelp reviews.
What are your customers major concerns? What do they want the most? After some research like this, you should have a pretty good idea of what kind of words keep coming up over and over again.
5. Unless you’re a big celebrity super-star (in which case, call me), don’t use your own name
The most successful entrepreneurs know that what they’re offering is NEVER about them. It’s always, always ALWAYS about your customers. Your sales copy, your promotions, your services, everything.
This is especially true in a service-based business, since your customers only care about the job at hand. So this could be cleaning, lawn care, plumbing, or any number of other services.
Your customers want to know that you’re good at what you do, that you’re reliable and that you’re not just going to rip them off. It’s about what you can do for them and not what your name is.
Is your name Amy Poehler? No? Then don’t expect to be able to sell based on name alone, even if you already have some name-recognition within the field you want to start a business in.
6. Talk to an expert
After all this, if you’re still not sure, ask for an opinion or two from someone who has done it before.
That said: make sure you do the work up front. This means that you shouldn’t be posting in groups asking for ideas without already having a few of your own. That is the lazy man’s way out. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to get used to doing all of the initial work. Other successful people out there want to help you out, but not if you just want them to do it for you.
So go through these suggestions and come up with around 3 names that you think could work. Then ask someone more experienced which one they think would be optimal and why.
Please note that this does NOT mean ask your family and friends. Yes, I’m sure they’re amazing people. But they’re either not going to tell you the truth about how bad your name is, or they’re honestly just not going to know because they’re not business people.
7. Pick one and move on
The number one problem I see over and over again is that people spend way too much time trying to find the perfect name for their business.
Early on they probably even came up with a name that is halfway decent… but they spend weeks not really being “sure” about it.
I’m going to give you a big hint if you’re one of those people.
If you’re dragging your feet on this step, it’s not even about the name at all. It’s just plain old fear about moving forward into doing something that will change your life.
So if you’ve got something halfway decent that follows some of the suggestions above, buy that domain and get moving. It’s scary, I know. But believe me: this is where the real fun starts to happen.
Okay, so those are my 7 biggest tips on coming up with a name for your service-based business.
And I know that some of you want to comment right now about some amazing company that went against one of the suggestions I’ve laid out here but is making money hand over fist.
Yes, there are always going to be exceptions to these criteria. If you go into the history of some of these companies who’ve done the opposite of what I’ve listed, you’re going to find some amazing marketing campaigns and other incredible business know-how to learn from.
But if you’re just starting out and learning all of this stuff for the first time, why not make it easy on yourself?
Choose a name today and get started on actually building up your service-based business. Your life is never going to be the same.