How To Name Your Business

It’s scary enough finally setting up your own business, but naming comes with even more pressure. It’s such a big decision, that we’re often unsure of where to start. The name of your company, if all goes well, could be around for the next ten, twenty, or even thirty years. So, it’s no wonder most business owners spend so much time picking out the perfect name!  

What is your business about?

As simple as it sounds, think about what you want to include in your business name. Does it need to include certain keywords? Do you need your profession to be included in the title? Figuring these things out first can help you to clearly define what you do and let your potential client know what you do and how you do it immediately. Your potential clients should know what it is you do from your business name and tagline. Consider whether you’ll be expanding your business and whether the names you have in mind will be a problem for this. If your business is based on a service you provide such as writing or consulting, it may be beneficial to use your personal name as your business name. I see this work often and it’s a great way to brand yourself. However, coming up with business names is fun and sometimes helps you to tie your branding together a little better, and having your name as your business title can become problematic when you want to hire a larger team.

Do a ‘Brain Dump’

A brain dump, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is basically a mass jotting down of all the ideas in your head. Create a spreadsheet or get out some large paper and coloured pens and start brainstorming names. Start mind mapping your ideas and write down the names of existing business names you like. You obviously can’t copy them, but there’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from names that you like.

Then, write down keywords that describe your business. This will help you to notice some potential adjectives for your business name. Also, be sure to make a note of how you want your business to look, feel, and be represented. What kind of feeling do you want to portray to your visitors? Adventure? Inspiration? Creativity? Once you have the answer to that question, figure out whether the qualities of your brand are qualities you want to represent for a long time, or if they’re obsolete. You can’t see future twists and turns your business could potentially undergo, but what you can do is make sure your business name allows room for growth, just in case. The name of your company should live for a long time, right?

Write down the things that relate to your business and brand. For instance, if you’re starting a lifestyle blog, brainstorm terms that relate to self-care, beauty, days out, personality, etc. Once you come up with a few dozen ideas, you can start crossing off the ones that don’t work and get a clear view of your favourite notes through a process of elimination.

Now that you’ve narrowed it down to your favourite ideas, use a thesaurus to expand your thinking. Look up alternative options for the keywords to describe your business and write them down on your mind map too. It can sometimes be difficult to come up with ideas, and a thesaurus will do a little of it for you. It will come up with dozens of words that relate to your brand, based on what you’ve written down so far.

You should end up with something like this; an archive of synonyms for the keywords you’ve selected for your brand. This will help you to broaden your selection. After all, you’ll want to consider all options.

Avoid odd spellings

To keep your business interactive for everyone, avoid odd spellings of words or words that are difficult to pronounce. Try to choose a name that isn’t too long or complicated. The easier it is to remember, the better. Not everyone remembers to pin or bookmark helpful websites, so visitors need to remember how to get back to your work when they lose it. If you’ve purposely misspelled words because you think it’s ‘trendy’, it probably isn’t. Or, at least, it won’t be by the time your business cards arrive.

Does it excite you?

If your business name doesn’t fill you with excitement, there’s a good chance you’ve gone wrong somewhere. This is your business and it's incredibly important that you love the business name, that you’re confident you won’t get sick of it, and that you’re happy for the name to represent you, your company, and what it is you do. A lot of work is going to be centred around your business name so it needs to be something you can enjoy creating work for. Once you do have a name that excites you and makes you want to jump straight into the next part, make sure it’s meaning is 100% correct and representative of your brand. You’d be surprised how many people name their businesses thinking a keyword will portray one idea, while it totally means another. You can never research too much.

Make sure it’s available

Before you do anything else with your business, check domain provider’s websites like GoDaddy to make sure your domain is available, and do so before falling in love with a business name. You don’t want to start creating your content and graphics only to find out the name you chose isn’t available. Even if you’re not in the stage of creating your website yet, purchase the domain in advance to save trouble later. You don’t want to have to rename later in your brand building period because someone takes the name while you’re working on it. Although it’s possible for businesses to share names and causes little bother, particularly if they’re in different industries, it’s much better to create something unique that belongs to you. This will help you to stand out amongst a sea of other blogs and businesses, and become more memorable. Having a business name you’re excited about also helps you to get motivated for the branding stage.

What other factors do you consider when naming a business?