One of the most difficult parts of owning your own business can be coming up with a name for your new adventure.
Maybe you started with one name that no longer resonates with who you are or what you do, or you’re a newbie who is trying to brainstorm names for the first time, choosing a name that holds meaning and resonates with your ideal clients is a must!
Today I’m sharing 3 tips for naming your creative business.
1. Decide what vibe or feeling you want your business to have.
When it comes to naming your business, the vibe or feeling you give off is going to attract your ideal clients and repel the not-so-ideal ones, so you want to make sure you get the feeling right!
– To do this, consider your ideal clients. For Wander Design Co., my name came from my lifelong tendency to wander – wandering the backroads, wandering aimlessly through the aisles of stores or my longing to wander the country on long road trips. I knew this was going to attract my ideal type of client too – women who liked to hike, camp and wander like I do.
Consider how you want your ideal clients to feel when they see the name of your brand. What would they be drawn to that also tells your story?
To start, you can make a list of words, names, places and ideas that you like or that would draw your ideal people in. Use a thesaurus to look up similar words and continue to grow your list. Consider words that are easy to spell and pronounce so that you don’t confuse your ideal people or make it hard for them to find you and share about you.
For example, over the summer I helped my client, Riley, name her photo business. She knew she wanted to have a southwestern vibe and she lived in Arizona, so we brainstormed a ton of Arizona adjacent words, along with other words that meant something to her – like her daughter’s name Holland.
Here’s an example of the name ideas I sent to Riley.
Here are a few more questions to consider to come up with good words:
- How do you show up differently than your competition?
- What do you love about the names of some of your favorite brands? How do they make you feel?
For example: Magnolia gives me feelings of comfort, leaves me constantly inspired and helps me celebrate my homebody ways. Patagonia makes me feel adventurous and prepared for anything. Can those words describe me or the work I want to do?
- What are your hobbies?
- What is your WHY? What are your natural traits? How do you show up in the world to help others?
Once you compile your list, consider brainstorming a list of words that describe what your business does – like design, collective, group, co, retreat, etc. This gives your name somewhat of a description so people don’t have as many questions about what it is you do.
More real-life examples:
- When coming up with names for a retreat in the woods I did with a few other creatives, we decided on the name Evergreen Retreat – Evergreen had a double meaning for us because not only was the retreat held underneath pines, the words ever and green together meant always ready to learn and grow. It was the perfect name for who we wanted to attract and what the retreat’s aim was.
- When deciding on a name for our former brick and mortar antique store, my brother, sister-in-law and husband and I were some of the youngest antique store owners in the area, making us rebels in the business. We were going to bring together a group of vendors to sell their antiques in our store, and when using the thesaurus to find words similar to ‘group’, we found the word ‘cartel’ – which meant a group of like-minded people coming together for a common cause. It was a perfect fit for our rebel status and business model, and thus The Antique Cartel was born.
Find words that describe the style of business you’re going for, pull together every combination and iteration of those words and make a list of possible options. There’s sure to be something on the list that will work for your business and resonate with your style!
Once you land on a name you like, sit with it for a few days! You may fall in love with it even more or decide you want to go a different direction, but giving it some thought for a few days will help you decide either way.
2. Check the Availability of the Name
After you’ve decided on the perfect name, check its availability online.
First, do a Google search to see what comes up. If similar but different names show up, you might be in the clear. If an exact or very similar name comes up, check to see what type of business they have or where they are located. You can also look for any trademarks of the name to make sure you’re safe from infringing on someone else’s business name.
If you’re all clear there, check to see if the domain is free. If no one has the domain you want, purchase it. If someone has the domain name, get creative! Add words to your name or consider a .co domain name to get something that is memorable. You can also use a tool like Namium.com to help decide on a domain name.
In addition to choosing a domain name, you’ll want to make sure you can get the proper social media handles as well. Again, you may have to add words to your name to make it work, but if you choose the same domain name and social media handle, your people will be able to find you more easily.
For example, when it came to naming Brand Lab and snagging a domain name for it, Maggie Rechkemmer and I had to get creative. We ended up with dobrandlab.com and grabbed the matching Instagram handle to make it all cohesive and easy for our people to remember us.
Once you’ve come up with your name and secured your domain name and social media handles, you’re good to go!
3. When in doubt, use your own name!
I’ve found that, as creatives, it can be hard to decide on a name that you feel like you can take with you into whatever creative adventure you decide to dive into next, which is why I often suggest using your OWN name in your business.
This works well because if you set up a business under your name and have a wonderful client base and reputation, when and if you decide to switch your focus down the road, your name will come with you and doesn’t have to change if your business does. And when your reputation is great, your customers are going to know that your next endeavor is going to be just as great as your last.
Using your name allows you to create brand recognition, no matter what path you go.
No matter what you end up with as a name, your customer service and end product or service are going to sell more than any name will. 💛
What are some business names that you love? Share them in the comments!