Choosing the right name for your business can be one of the most difficult tasks and especially frustrating when you are otherwise excited and ready to start your dream job. If you’re just starting out, or it’s time for a rebrand, here are some tips to help you find a name that works for you.

1. Word Association

Get those creative juices flowing during a brainstorm session! List any, and all, words associated with your business. These can be specific descriptive words or broader terms. Even include words that might not immediately seem like a good fit for a business name because they may be the stepping stone you need towards a better name.

You can’t always force this type of free creative thinking unless you’re one of those lucky people that thrives under a short deadline. I find that the best way to tackle this type of exercise is to get myself cosy in a coffee shop and draft some initial thoughts without pressure. Or, if you have the luxury of time, try carrying a pen and paper with you for a couple of weeks, or a digital list on your phone, as you never know when a new word might pop into your head.


2. Purpose

What are the key points of your business that you wish to communicate? With your hopefully long list of words, think back to your business purpose and target customer. Not every business name is descriptive but, in some way, it should communicate the tone of your business. Is it serious or light-hearted? Should it be strictly professional or a little more relaxed?

It’s also essential to consider if you want to specialise in an industry or generalise. Are you a photographer that wants to do fashion shoots and commercial landscape photography, or do you just want to capture weddings? It can be tempting to leave all doors open for more business opportunities, but, more often than not, working a niche can be beneficial. For example, it’s likely that if someone was searching for a photographer, they would search for something specific, like an events photographer, and would like to work with a professional who is strong in that area, rather than a jack of all trades and master of none.


3. Mix it up and Make it up

After step one and two, you should have a pretty solid list of options. On a brand new page, start mixing combinations of these words to see if any of them could pair together. 

Allow yourself to come up with some awful ideas during this step because they might just lead to a great one! Some of the most memorable business names are made up because it can be hard to stand out with conventional words, and even harder to find words that aren’t yet taken by other businesses.


4. Check it twice

Pick out your favourite options from your list and consider the following:

Is it too ambiguous or cryptic?
Does it leave your business room to grow and expand in the future?
Is it easy to remember, say and spell? (If they can’t google you, they can’t find you!)
Does it represent the tone of your business?


5. Search it

Ok, you have your name but before you dive into the visuals of your new brand name,  cross your fingers that it hasn’t already been taken! If you’ve made a combination of words, or even better, formed your own set of words, then there’s a higher chance that you can use that brand name. 

Search online for businesses with the same name and make sure you won’t be competing with any existing trademarks. Also, look into domain names to see if they have been taken.


6. Say it out loud!

Decided on a name? Say it out loud to see if you feel confident in introducing it publicly. Ask friends, especially friends that bear similarities to your target customers, to review it with a fresh pair of eyes and ears. Get their feedback before you run with it because you may have overlooked a different perspective that they see in the name. 

Coming up with a business name is not easy and there is no perfect process to create a name in an hour slot in your schedule. You might need to mull over it for weeks before you’re ready to take the next step and that’s ok because it’s a name that you will want to stick with for years to come. 

Personally, I wanted a name that was simple to remember, gave a quick description of what I offer, and gave me room to grow in the future. 

How did you create your business name?