Naming Your Business 

Naming your business can feel like a mammoth task, but  above all it is a highly creative and certainly can be enjoyable process. As with any process, it's worth following steps, as opposed to simply throwing ideas against the wall and seeing what sticks.

Here is the process I walk through when coming up with relevant, purposeful and brand appropriate names 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 make sure you are clear on your brand, project or whatever you are naming. The more you understand why it 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.

  1. Writing it all down

It’s time to start brainstorming. Grab a piece of paper and pen, this is really better done physically than digitally (you'll see why soon). Start writing down every single word you can think of that has to do with what your brand/project is about. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and do not stop writing words. Don't worry if they sound silly, off beat or wrong. Just keep searching for them and keep putting  down what comes up in your head. 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 put all of your ideas down on paper, it's best to step away for a bit.

  1. Narrow down and write again

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/project and audience. 

Now set your timer again and write the words you've circled onto a fresh sheet of paper. Start creating offshoots 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 more. Again, don’t yet self-edit what you are thinking, just write them down.


When you’ve finished, walk away again.

  1. Narrow down, and start to combine

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 the right feeling.

  1. Walk away

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  hazard you from sharing those names with friends or family. They often don’t understand your brand or project on the level you do and instead they may critique it based on their own likes, biases or information that is not relevant to this.

  1. Shortlist, and evaluate

Shortlist down your favourite names so far, maybe 3-5 names you feel are right.  Now look at these 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 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.

  1. Tie Breaker

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. 

  1. Live with it for a week and if you must, get a second opinion

For a week, live with the name. See how it feels, write it down. Test drive it. If you have people you trust or a team that you feel could help, get a second opinion.

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.