Naming your business can feel like a mammoth task, but I promise, it can also be fun and creative! I’m going to take you through my step by step process of how to create a relevant, strategic and down right cool name for your business.
Know Your Business
It’s important to understand that your business name is a big part of your brand identity. People will say the word out loud, write it down, type it out, search for it on Google, and hopefully whisper it to their friends.
Some business owners come to their brand with a name, and others come to their name through their brand. If you are feeling stuck on your name, your first step is to really get to know your business and brand. The more you understand why your brand exists, who it serves and how it does that, the better this process will be. If you haven’t yet, I recommend working through my Grow Your Brand Workbook. It will undoubtedly help you to better understand who your brand is, and how you can grow it.
Once you really know who your brand is, it’s time to start brainstorming. Grab a piece of paper and pen, this is really better done physically than digitally. Start writing down every single word you can think of that has to do with what your brand is about. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and do not stop writing words. I mean it, even if you run out of words, keep just getting them down. There’s no word to weird right now, get everything you can think of out.
Below is an example. Here I’m brainstorming a name for a fictional online reused clothing shop, I started with the obvious words, vintage, reuse, ect. but then I started thinking about who buys from a vintage shop, and what their cultures are like.
Once you’ve rode those brain waves and your timer stops, go get a coffee, and walk away.
When you come back, circle every word that stands out to you, every word that peaks your interest or feels like it makes sense with your brand and audience.
Now set that timer again and write those words on a fresh sheet of paper, start creating shoots of words off of those words. So if you circle horse, write all the words you think of when you think of a horse.
What we’re doing here is trying to get get further away from the generic words, to find really specific, relevant words. Keep creating offshoots for 10 minutes or if you are really on a roll keep going until that roll stops. Again, don’t feel weird about the words or second guess yourself, just write them down.
When you’ve finished, walk away for a bit again.
Once you’re back, have a look at the words and again circle the ones that feel right to you.
What do I mean by feel right? If you worked through the Grow Your Brand workbook, you’ll know that a brand identity is all about connecting with the right audience through feelings and emotions. Which words give you the right feelings and emotions, the feelings and emotions that you want your audience to have? Try to see it through their eyes.
After you’ve circled those words, start combing words or creating short phrases (and I mean short!) that give you those right feels.
You now need to walk away again, but for a longer period. You may be feeling really excited about a name you’ve worked out, but at this point, I would REALLY hazard you from sharing those names with friends or family. They often don’t understand your brand, instead they may come at it from what they like or what they think is ‘you’. So without realising it, they can give you potentially harmful advice. Basically, they’ll mean well, but it’s better not to get them involved at this point.
Shortlist down your favourite names so far, maybe 3-5 names that really stick out to you. Now look at those words visually, and listen to how they sound when you say them out loud. Your business name is going to be a logo, it’s going to be written constantly, you’re going to see it and say it constantly. Sometimes something is just too long, or feels difficult to say, or just jars in your ear. Eliminate those.
Now you need to check if the domain name and social media handles for your chosen name, or few chosen names, are available. You may need to be a bit flexible if your heart is set on one, by going with a .co.uk domain or some version of the social handle with an underscore. It’s something you’ll want to take into consideration.
Now it’s decision making time.
If you’re stuck between two names, grab a fresh sheet of paper. Write both names, and then write down every single feeling or sentiment that you think of when you see the name. Write down your brand traits and see if they fit those feelings. There should be one name they match up to the most. That’s your name.
I’m very wary of getting second opinions that don’t matter. If your mom isn’t your target audience, it’s unlikely that getting her advice on this is helpful. (Love you mom!) But if you need a second opinion, or of course, if you have a team or business partner, now’s the time to feel that out.
If you decide your chosen name isn’t right, go back to your shortlist and re-do steps 5-7. You should come out with a name that feels right, sounds right and looks right.
Pop the champagne or sparkling water and turn your favourite feel good playlist on because you’ve only gone and named your business!
*If this post helps you find your name, or if you have any questions, let me know over on Instagram!