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How to Finalize a Business Name – The SWOT Approach

finalize business name swot analysis Finalizing a business name can be one of the most difficult things to do when you’re raring to go with your new business idea.

Many of my clients ask me if there is a practical method to finalize a business name once they have shortlisted a bunch of them.

It is not unusual for even serial entrepreneurs to spend several hours to days mulling over what name to choose from the shortlisted name ideas.

For new business owners, chances are the confusion of choice is far greater.

If you too are stuck having a list of potential business names and don’t really know which one to finalize, here is a practical method to solve your problem of choice.

How can you choose the right business name from among several ideas?

SWOT Analysis

The SWOT Analysis process is a common method used in a variety of fields to arrive at a logical conclusive choice. In this article, I will help you understand how to analyze multiple potential/shortlisted business names and conclude with a right choice.

When conducting a SWOT analysis of potential business names, you need to take time to carefully assess each name for the following factors:

  • Strengths (S)
  • Weaknesses (W)
  • Opportunities (O)
  • Threats (T)

Let us dig deeper into each of the factors.

Strengths

These are the positive qualities that give each name an edge over other names on your list. You can assess the strengths of each name by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Does the name reflect your intended business or its offers?
  • Does the name in any way depict your business’s unique selling proposition?
  • Is the name easy to memorize and remember?
  • Does the name indicate the experience customers will have by buying your offerings?
  • If the name is an English word or a combination of English words, does it have a good meaning?
  • Does the name sound unique and strong enough to set your business apart from the competition?

Now, don’t expect a single name to get you positive answers to all these questions. And don’t be in haste to make your choice based only on strengths. Look at other factors, too.

Weaknesses

These are the negative qualities that will most likely harm your business or brand in the short or long term. To figure out the weaknesses of a potential business name, ask yourself questions like the following:

  • Is the name difficult to spell or remember?
  • Is the name more closely associated with products that are different from the ones to be offered by your business?
  • Is the name likely to be confused with that of another business or brand?
  • Is the name too long?
  • Does the name contain a buzzword that will fade away with time?

If a single name gives you a positive answer to all or most of these questions, it’s most probably a bad option. But you never know, its strengths and opportunities can far outweigh those weaknesses. So, don’t rush to strikeout any candidate yet.

Opportunities

These are some foreseeable benefits the name can bring to your business in future. Asking yourself the following question can help you figure out the opportunities in a business name:

  • Does the name allow for business expansion in terms of geographical area?
  • Does the name allow for business expansion of products and or related services?
  • Will you be able to hold the trademark for that name?

The more opportunities you can attach to a potential business name, the better. So, in addition to these questions, think of other questions that have to do with the future of your business.

Threats

These are likely harms that the business name you’re considering can bring to your business. You can zero in on the threats associated with a potential business name by asking yourself questions like:

  • Is this name related to just one product or service? An affirmative answer means the name isn’t compatible with expansions that may happen later.
  • Will the business name hinder your business expansion in other geographical areas/regions?
  • Are there likely to be trademark conflicts?

If you think a potential business name is weighed down by too many threats, then you may want to strike it out for other options.

Final Step

Having done the SWOT analysis for each of the potential business names, you should move on to the next step – Prioritization.

Use the following rules to score each name and then sum up the total score for each business name.

  • For every Strength or Opportunity give a positive score in the range of 1 to 3 (i.e. 1 or 2 or 3).
  • The stronger the Strength or Opportunity the higher the score, 3 being the highest.
  • For every Weakness or Threat, give a negative score in the range of 1 to 3 (i.e. -1 or -2 or -3).
  • The weaker the Weakness or Threat the lower the points, -3 being the lowest.

SWOT Analysis Score Template


Prepare a prioritized list, rank the names based on Total Score from the best candidates down to the not-so-good ones.

Side Note:

While scoring and prioritizing, you’re at liberty to bend things a little bit. But, don’t defeat the objective of the SWOT Analysis by ignoring the important insights you gained from it.

Bottom line

Your business name is one of the first elements your prospects will come across when interacting with your business/brand. Therefore, it is just so important that you create a right business name.

Adopting the SWOT approach will help you gain insights into each potential name’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and treats. These insights will help you finalize a business name using a logical and time-tested method.

Go ahead look at your prioritized list. Finalize a business name that will give your business a great head start!