WHILE THIS SEEMS like a tiny detail, it’s actually very important. “Just give it a name and sell it,” some people say. And while they’re assertiveness is admirable, the name of your new business or product deserves a bit more thought than that. Sometimes, your first instinct is the best one, and other times, it can take days, weeks, or longer to really settle on the perfect name.

There are just as many ways to come up with a good name as there are reasons why you need one. For marketing, it’s vital, but also because a good name will draw people to the product or company and thus, the product will be more likely to sell itself. That way, the company will have to spend less on publicity.

We all know when we see a good business or product name. There are several patterns that have evolved throughout time in the industry. While some people see alliteration (two or more words that start with the same sounding letter) as kitsch, others see it as clever, e.g. Coca-Cola, Kandy Kitchen, Best Buy, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc. Same goes for business or product names that consist of two or more words that rhyme. I would say that the general intent of a business or product name is to describe the product or company while being memorable and desirable to the person who reads/views it.

So, where do I start?  

Think about your new business or product and decide what message you want to send through it. If want to open a boxing gym, would you even consider naming it, “Sissy’s Boxing Gym”? Of course not, you would want something tough-sounding like “Hard Knockers” or “Lights Out Boxing Center”. Continuing down that road, what do you know about your industry and the people who patronize it? If you’re trying to start something new, chances are, you probably already know quite a bit. Use that knowledge and be creative.

Sometimes, less is more. There is a barbershop in my area called “Tim’s Gentlemen’s Haircuts,” and the place is wildly popular. Tim is the owner and he cuts hair. Enough said. Depending on your product or business, this could work well for you. Sometimes, certain clientele respond better to the direct approach. 

Where did the nature of your product or business originate? Sometimes, searching out the nature of your product or business’ history can open up a lot of wonderful name ideas. Did the concept begin in a foreign country? While writing a business plan for a friend of mine a few years ago for an imported wine, cheese and meat shop and café that he wanted, I suggested that he consider “Le Vie Bien” for the name of the shop. Translated into, “The Good Life,” it worked on multiple levels because his products fit the language, the words fit the area (and how consuming his products make you feel). The location was in a quiet, but upscale, part of town so naming the shop Le Vie Bien fit perfectly.

Sometimes people ask me what the most clever and holistically-best business name I’ve ever seen is. I have to say, while there are many very brilliant business names out there, my very favorite is a tiny, independently-owned mechanic shop near my house named, “Honest Engine Mechanic Shop.”  Their logo is a smiling Native American holding a wrench in one hand and waving with the other. Brilliant.  

The bottom line here is that while thinking of a name for a new product or business is very important, it should also be fun. Don’t rush it, but if after a while if you still can’t think of anything, there are business and product naming software options and consultants that can assist you.