The Lean Branding Approach to Business Naming

Lean branding for business naming


“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

When people think about naming their company, a lot of things come to mind. They think about coming up with the perfect name. They think about it being a very critical decision. They think they will need a lot of outside opinions. And they think about all of this taking a very long time.

Talk to any entrepreneur and you’ll hear stories about  how hard it is to start working on your company without a name. When you can’t talk about it, when you can’t create a label on a folder or a title on a whiteboard, you’re constantly distracted and pulled towards thoughts of naming. Without a business name you can’t truly get down to work.

But you need to start working.

The Lean Branding Approach

Thinking “lean” can help you get over the hurdle of choosing a business name. However, don’t confuse lean with “cheap” like some people do. As the founder of The Lean Startup Eric Ries puts it, “Lean Startup isn’t about being cheap [but is about] being less wasteful and still doing things that are big.” Lean Branding is about being smart about how you work, being mindful of your time, and being open to resources that help you do both.

Lean Branding is also about getting to your starting point as quickly as possible, so that you can start testing how your brand resonates with customers. No brand is perfect from the get-go, but following the lean methodology allows you to put a message out there, test it, and refine it.

Make the Choice Easier

Making a decision is exhausting (really! Google “decision fatigue” or read the New York Times article on the topic.) Anything you can do to reduce the number of viable options for your choice helps you save time and make a better decision. When it comes to business names, you should be diligent about only bringing names to the table that are available and quickly attainable, even if it means excluding some names that may seem “ideal” or “a perfect fit”.

If you are looking to have a matching domain name/website name for your business (important!), and you are set on a .com (also important!) then your choices get more narrow. It’s a fact of life in the Internet age that a large portion great domain names are already registered, but fortunately many of these are not in use and the owners are willing to part with them.

Here are our four key tips for business owners searching for a business name and domain name:

  • Streamline the brainstorming cycle.
    The traditional brainstorming session involved gathering lots of ideas, then vetting each one. Is the name available? Is it even a good business name? The lean approach is to work backwards and start with a list of names that are available and that have already passed the “good name” test by people who you trust and who know their way around naming and branding.
  • Decide and execute.
    If you are purchasing a domain name from an existing owner, don’t allow yourself to haggle. Just move on if there is no option to “Buy Now”. The time spent in negotiation is time better spent working. It may also lead to a dead end, and you’ll have to start over.
  • Be happy with your decision.
    If your choice of business name feels good to you, then you will be able to build a compelling story around it. Dwelling on a name you weren’t able to get isn’t productive, and prevents you from truly committing and moving forward.
  • Be accepting of change.
    Sometimes the lean branding cycles of customer feedback will make it clear that your name choice was not the right one. Don’t be afraid of starting over. Fortunately, a good domain name is an asset that doesn’t lose value, and it may work for someone else so you can recoup some or all of your cost.

Simply Put…

Lean branding is not about shortcuts, savings, and settling. Lean branding is about being smart, streamlined, and speedy. And most of all, it’s about starting.

About BrandBucket

BrandBucket is the original marketplace for business names. Founded in 2007 by serial entrepreneurs, BrandBucket features a list of unique business names with matching .com domain names that are curated by experts in linguistics, branding and international business. Names are hand-selected from thousands of submissions weekly, and are priced according to a standard set of quality criteria to be within reach of startups and entrepreneurs. Read more about Lean Branding on the BrandBucket blog.