Got a new business idea? You go girl (or guy)! 🎉
This is such an exciting time for you. You want to chat ideas, create logo concepts and marketing strategies but you have to come up with a name first.
I've always been very entrepreneurial and have had many "business ventures" in my time (I say that with air quotes because they were mostly me setting up shop in the living room and selling things to my parents) so I've had my fair share of creating business names.
Naming your business can be one of the hardest decisions you have to make so you need to take the time to get it right.
Here are my top tips for how to name a business plus a free worksheet for you to download and keep! 💰
P.S. These tips also work for anyone who needs help naming their blog. The same rules apply!
First things first - find your niche
Before we get into the tips about naming your business, I just want to emphasise how important it is to have a niche when you're starting out.
When I started my business, I tried to do too much at once. I didn't have a target audience, I didn't have a focus or expertise. I just wanted to help anyone I could with anything I physically could.
This was the wrong way to go about this.
If you are starting a blog that you intend to make money from or if you are starting a service based business, you will need to sit down and focus on 2 or 3 topics or offerings to really focus on.
This will make it so much easier when you comes to choosing a business name or naming your blog.
To help you find your focus and choose your niche, you might want to read these blog posts first:
- How to choose your blog's niche + focus by Melyssa Griffin
- The find your niche formula by Mariah Coz (Femtrepreneur)
- How to create your own niche by Lauren Hooker (Elle & Company)
Okay, time to get into my six rules for naming your business!
Show your personality
What's a business name if it doesn't reflect the person behind the business?
I mean, it's alright for me - my biz is my name - but if you don't want to use your name for your new business (which is understandable), try injecting some of your personality into the business naming process.
Let me explain what I mean:
If you were starting a wedding florist service and you were really girly and feminine you might call your brand 'Fabulous Flowers for Brides'. If you were sort of down-to-earth and you wanted to attract similar clientele with a tongue-in-cheek name you might name your biz 'Thistle Do Nicely' (I'm here all week, folks 😉)
If you don't think this will quite work with your business ideal, you can think of a more subtle approach to this. You definitely want to think of potential business names that give a hint of your personality and values.
If you were a greeting card designer than focused on really bright and colourful designs, your company name would be completely different to someone that designed very classy and sincere cards.
Aim for the start of the alphabet
I don't exactly excel in this area (being a Zoe) but I learnt this tip from Guy Kawasaki's book; The Art Of The Start. Kawasaki makes a very good point that your business will probably end up in business directories or online lists of relevant brands in your niche.
How will these lists most likely be sorted?
You guessed it! Alphabetically.
Try to be at the top of the list and aim to have a brand name that starts with an early letter of the alphabet. This isn't necessary at all, but it's something that doesn't hurt to consider.
check the domain name availability
You know what sucks? When you come up with the perfect name and the domain name is already taken!
Take 5 minutes to check that the domain name is available on 123Reg - my go-to domain seller. If it is available, don't grab it right away until you've had a chance to sit on your idea and see if it's definitely the name you want to go with.
When you do decide to buy, I recommend grabbing the .com + .co.uk domains if you are UK based. It's worth making sure you don't end up with a .com competitor with the same URL.
Check the availability on social media
You know what sucks even more? When you come up with the perfect name, the domain name is available, but the social media channels aren't!
Adding a number at the end of your profile doesn't look great, does it?
If you've read my four rules to live by on social media, you'll know that I'm strongly against having different usernames for different social media channels.
You want it to be as easy as possible for your readers to find you.
Therefore, it’s really important to make sure you have the same username across all your social platforms - be it Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, or YouTube. You don’t want your readers to have to make a massive effort or go to extreme lengths to find out your Twitter handle if it’s different from your Instagram.
Top tip: If your biz name isn't available on social media, my simple solution is to add ‘hello’ before your brand. For example, if @Nike was taken across all platforms, Nike could use @HelloNike. Personally, I think this makes the username feel quite welcoming and friendly!
Related post: 4 Ways To Smash Your Social Media Profiles
Run it through Google Translate
This is just a quick little tip - and can be quite funny if you think about it. If you've come up with a name that isn't a traditional word in your language, you may have stumbled into a translation trap.
Check that your name is suitable in other languages using Google's Translation tool.
You don't want to accidentally introduce yourself as the "CEO of *insert rude word here*" in Arabic.
Say it out loud
This is by far the most important rule of all, and something so many people forget to do.
When naming a company, you HAVE to say your ideas out loud before choosing a company name. This is so you can make sure it's as easily spelt out or remembered as it is typed over email or social media.
Imagine telling someone over the phone or in person what the name of your business is.
Is it something they can spell without help? Is it something that has a strange symbol or number in?
It needs to be a name that they can easily type out without asking to the spelling or having to ask you to pronounce it again.
You may have come up with lots of amazing potential business names but if you can't say them out loud clearly and easily then you need to go back to the drawing board, my friend!
Download your free workbook
Sign up below and get brainstorming brand ideas with my Name Your Business workbook!