Ok, let’s just say this right up front: naming a business is hard! I’m currently in the process of starting up a new business venture and the biggest thing holding me back from launching is finding the perfect name.
With my brand design business it was a bit more simple: I sell a service, and I’m the face of the business, so I’ve named it after myself.
But what about when you’re naming something when it just doesn’t make sense to use your name?
I feel you, and I’ll tell you this: the struggle is real. If you’re here, you know it all too well.
Changing your brand visuals is difficult enough, but changing a business name is intense.
Not only do you need to really prepare current and past clients so that they’re not confused or left wondering what happened, but you’ll also have to update your visuals AND do a bunch of back-end changes (i.e. New website, business license, dba, sales tax, legal forms… ugh, right?!).
So it’s not much of a surprise to know that I think a business name is a critical decision and really something that needs to be solidified, tested, and loved right from the start. And you definitely don’t want to have to do the name change – and the back-end changes – all over again. So how do you pick the perfect name the first time?
I’ve found a few articles online that talk about getting to know your audience, know what they like, and use that – along with your business style – to name your brand. Here’s what I have to say about that: BULL.
Okay okay, maybe not bull entirely. Those are really important things to learn, and they’ll definitely help when settling on a business name, but I also feel that this aspect of your business is super personal too. As a solopreneur and a creative entrepreneur, my business is a huge reflection of myself, and a lot of my personality and style go into my business.
It actually took me about 2 months to settle on Laura James Studio – all because I didn’t know if “studio” was the right choice. Looking back, I’m still very happy with the decision that I made, but making that decision in the moment wasn’t easy.
As I’m working on my newest venture (are you following me on Instagram?? If you are, you’ll already know!), here’s what I’m asking myself ABOVE AND BEYOND the typical brand identity questions.
- What words or phrases have meaning to you and your business? Do they fit the style you want to convey?
- What themes are you seeing on your identity mood board? Are there any colors, items, or feelings you can pull as keywords that may work as a name?
- Are there other businesses in your industry (or outside of your industry) with the same or similar names?
- When you hear your potential business name, what do you feel? Does that align with your ideal client?
- Ask friends and family: what is their gut reaction? Note that this works especially well if you’ve got a unique name – ask them to read it out loud to see if they can pronounce it, or ask them to spell it. If they can’t do it, reconsider!
As I go through these steps time and time again, I’ve narrowed down my new business name and I’m already positive I’ve made the right choice. My last bit of advice is to sleep on it. Something that sounds awesome today may sound ridiculous tomorrow.
if you’re looking for a fun little tool to help you along, try this cute Hipster Business Name Generator. Some of the suggestions gave me a good laugh and some are pretty good, but the value of this tool is that it is a neat way to get your creative juices flowing!
I’d love to know: what is your business name? How did you decide? Tell us your name story in the comments below!