7 Steps to (finally) Choose the Perfect Name for Your Business
Naming Guide for Artful Entrepreneurs and Makers
You’ve been working on your passion project for months, maybe even years. Now you’re ready to step it up and turn this passion project into a money-making business. Woohoo!
This is an exciting journey that will be well worth it, but you may be surprised at how much goes into moving from passion project to business. One of the very first steps that might seem obvious, but often gets overlooked, is choosing a name for your business.
I want to share the process that I’ve used to to help many business owners to find their perfect business name. I even used to choose my business name! Follow these steps and you’ll have your business name picked out and ready to start sharing in no time!
1) Find your brand categories
Come up with 2-4 categories or themes that represent your business or artwork.
These could be emotions or adjectives like love, playful, or peaceful. Or they could be words related to the aesthetic of your art like whimsical, colorful, or natural. Also, consider unique things about you or your work that you could incorporate into your name. For example, maybe you have an obsession with poodles that you want to include in your brand. Or maybe you you have a hidden talent or hobby you that would make your business stand out. Get creative and see what categories you can come up with!
2) Make your lists
Once you’ve chosen your categories, make lists of words and see how many you can come up with in each category.
For example, if one of your categories is “Magical,” you might list out words like, fairytale, magic wand, shooting star, Disney… You get the picture. Try to come up with as many words as you can possibly think of for each category. If you get stuck, you can even use a Thesaurus or do a Google search to find other related words. Get creative and don’t be afraid to write down something that sounds silly. You never know where it might lead!
Lastly, brainstorm a list of words that you uniquely connect with. Think outside the box and really consider the things you love, your weird quirks, how you found your passion, maybe your favorite animal, color, etc... Nothing is out of bounds.
3) Find the common themes
Now that you’ve done your metaphorical ‘brain dump’ it’s time to go through and connect some dots... By this point, you should have a long list of potential words to use in your business name. Now it’s time to go back and connect the dots.
Are there any common themes among the words you’ve listed?
Are there any patterns you notice or clear threads combining your various trains of thought?
This tends to be the hardest part of the process. If you get stuck, ask someone else to review your lists, and see if they notices a common theme. However you get there, try to find 4-6 things that pertain to your various lists and/or relate back several of the words you’ve dreamed up.
4) Bring it all together
Try combining some of the words you came up with, or bringing in new words that might compliment your favorites. See what combinations you like, and have a “ring” to them. At this point, your business name might just reveal itself as the winning combination. But if not, that’s ok.
Choose your top 3-5 favorite words or word-combinations that could be potential names.
5) Scope out the competition
Now that you’ve made progress in your business naming process, take a look at the competition. Take note of their business names, how their names represent their work, and see if you can find any inspiration.
Also, pay attention to words or phrases that you see over and over again. You don’t want to confuse you audience or upset another business by using something too similar to another artist.
NOTE: It’s important to get an idea of what other artists or entrepreneurs in your area are doing, but this should NOT be Step 1. It should come AFTER you know what you want YOUR brand and business name to represent. Looking at the competition too early on makes it’s easy to get caught up in what other people are doing. Which can totally hinder your creative process.
6. Check the availability
Make sure your business name is memorable, easy to pronounce and spell, and not already taken! Also check to see if your name is available on the social platform(s) you love most and intend to use to market your business.
Don’t search for the domain name unless you’re planning to purchase it (assuming it’s available).
There are fishers out there that track which domains are ‘desirable’ and will snatch up urls that are being searched in order to sell it for a margin. Don’t give them the opportunity to put you in this position. If your domain is available, snag it — even if you’re awhile away from launching.
The last thing you want is to start creating a logo and marketing materials only to find out that your name is trademarked by someone else. Or imagine having someone want to buy your work, but give up because because they couldn’t remember how to spell your name! It’s also a good idea to check website domain names to see if the name you’re thinking of is available.
7. Sleep on It
Whether you think you’ve landed on your name at this point or not, sleep on it before making your final decision. If you haven’t found a name you like yet, don’t worry. Naming your business is a process, and it may take a few days of mulling it over and reviewing your list of words before you finally settle on the perfect name.
Follow these steps, and you’re on your way to finding the perfect name for your business. And once you’ve found it, I’d love to hear the name you chose! Send me an email and let me know how this process worked for you!
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