How To Name Your Business
Updated: Aug 25, 2022
"Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is your brand." We're guiding you through the steps you should take when coming up with your business name.
Naming your business is probably one of the most difficult tasks when building your business brand. Logos and color schemes come and go, but your name is the one thing that stays fairly consistent throughout the lifetime of your brand. You're probably asking yourself, "how am I supposed to commit to a business name forever?!" No need to stress, we will guide you through a few steps to take when coming up with a brand name for your new business.
Here are 5 steps to guide you through the business naming process and come up with an extraordinary name for your brand.
Tip #1 - Keep it broad
This step is number one for multiple reasons. When naming your brand, you want to keep in mind where your business may end up. If you choose a more specific name, you are limiting yourself and your brand to a particular product or service. Successful brands are always changing - think Amazon - who went from "A to Z," selling books, to an e-commerce powerhouse selling items from clothing to tech accessories.
What is considered a specific name? Let's say as an example someone named Blake plans on opening a store that sells flowers. Blake really likes the name "Blake's Begonias," since they specialize in selling different types of begonia plants. However, what Blake is doing by choosing that name is limiting their business by giving their customers the idea that they only sell begonias.
What does a more broad name look like? Blake would prefer to open up the possibility of offering more than just begonias in their store. In that case, names like "Blake's Blooms," "Garden of Eden," or even "Blue Ridge Botanicals" gives their business a lot more wiggle room when it comes to the types of flowers they offer. Blake now isn't limited to just begonias, and can choose to offer any type of flower or even sell tropical plants in the future.
Picking a more broad or generic name doesn't have to mean it's boring; it can create many more opportunities for your business to expand and offer more products or services to your customers!
Tip #2 - Channel your favorite things
Thinking of some of your favorite things should be the easier part. What is your favorite color? Do you like a certain animal or word descriptor? What are some potential alliterations you can come up with? If you're into that kind of thing. Play around with different combinations and see if anything sticks, or even if it sparks a new idea for the business name. Take a look at what inspired the famous "Blue Buffalo" dog food brand name:
"The Bishop Family named the brand 'BLUE' in honor of the furry family member who inspired its creation. The 'Buffalo' in the name was inspired by buffalos roaming free on the Great Plains at a time when things appeared to be more pure, natural and healthy." - General Mills
Blue Buffalo wanted to their clients to have an imagery of natural and healthy ingredients for their furry family members, and they added on a personal touch by naming the brand after their own dog, Blue. The sky is the limit when coming up with a unique and stand-out business name, so reach away!
Tip #3 - Use your resources
The internet is the amazing beast we all have a love/hate relationship with - but when it comes to brainstorming names for your business, use it to your advantage! This could look like searching words that look good together, calming words, powerful phrases... the list goes on.
When I was trying to come up with my business name, Stellify, my husband and I spent 2 hours on a camping getaway staring into a campfire and throwing names back and forth. After our minds ran out of options, we started searching online. I specifically remember it was Pinterest that brought our brand name "Stellify" to life. It was the meaning of the word that drew me in, as "Stellify" means "to turn into" or "to place among the stars." I realized that was what I wanted to do for my clients - put their brand among the top brands in their industry... make them a star! And so the name stuck :)
As long as you can take some time to do research and settle in on some words you would want people to use to describe your brand (such as bright or enlightening), you can start some in-depth searching for potential business names you haven't thought of!*
*Have a list of a few different names you like or could start with. You'll see why with the next step!
Tip #4 - Do your research
Yay! You found a name that is growing on you. Yes, we are manifesting you finding the perfect business name. Now comes the legalities. You'll want to do a search to see if your business name already exists. Different states and countries have different rules as to how you can use the business name. For example, in Georgia, we are able to use the name if there are no other names similar to it within the state. Make sure you check on the Secretary of State website for your state to see what the potential rules are and to see if the name is already taken.
Also be aware of similarities in your name, such as matching in the plural version of another pre-existing business or having a trademarked item in your business name. You can check out this article to learn more about how and what to check for before solidifying your business name. Once you are all clear and proven you have a one-of-a-kind name, you can register your business on your state's Secretary of State site, or use a third party company like LegalZoom.
Tip #5 - Let go of the pressure
While naming your business can be tedious and indecisive, the biggest tip to remember is DON'T STRESS. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is your brand. If you have a few name options but don't know if you are ready to commit, take a step back. Sleep on it. If you get excited the more you say or think about the name, that name may be the one for you! If not, it's okay to spend time coming up with something that motivates you.
Let's get down to business!
Now it's time to get creative and let your mind wander. Naming your business is an important part of your branding, and the right name will come to you before you know it. In the meantime, you can start thinking of a color palette for your brand by reading our color scheme guide. If you have any brand naming tips or successes, drop them in the comments below!