Your business name is going to follow you around for a long time.
You’ll spend money to have it emblazoned on your business cards. It’ll be stamped on your shop front or your website. You’ll have to use it every time you introduce yourself at a business meeting. People will get to know it and you’ll use it to help build your reputation.
You want to get it right first time.
This can be easier said than done. There are so many options to choose from, how do you know where to start?
I’ve asked Clare Crossan to weigh in on this one. As a creative copywriter, Clare is often tasked with helping new business owners come up with a name and tagline for their new ventures. So how does she go about it?
How to choose the right name for your business
Business names! Where to begin?
I’ve changed my own business name more than once and every time was a struggle.
You want something creative but clear. A name that is personal to you but that your audience can also relate to. It’s no wonder that coming up with the perfect name can be one of the hardest aspects of setting up a new business.
Of course, some people hit the jackpot with minimal effort. Their own name may lend itself perfectly to their business type or a stroke of genius may hit as they’re falling asleep one night and their ideal name just pops into their head.
For the rest of us, there are a few tips and tricks we can use to make the process a little easier.
Before you begin
There are a few things to consider before you start your business name brainstorming.
You need to think about:
- your target audience
- your business values
- your business goal
I know that sounds like a lot of work, but trust me on this one. You need to know this stuff before you can go any further. There is no point in finding the perfect name, only to realise later on that it doesn’t match you business values or that it alienates your target client base.
You want your name to work in harmony with these three elements. Your audience, your values and your goal are the foundation of your business. Your branding, your copy and how you develop your customer experience will all stem from these three things so your name needs to match.
Now you have sussed out your audience, values and goals, you can start to have fun with the process.
My top tips for this stage
Have a thesaurus to hand and use it often.
Don’t be afraid to make words up, mash words together or try unusual word combinations. Some will be ridiculous but you might just strike gold.
If you’ve think you’ve found your answer, say it out loud. Try it out with different accents if you can. You want to make sure you haven’t inadvertently come up with something that sounds a bit rude or inappropriate!
Still not sure?
At this point, I know there will be some of you who shouting at me to slow down. What about those of you who are still struggling with the first step? What if your goals are still too vague and your target market is not so easily defined?
Don’t worry, there is a potential solution here for you guys too.
Use your own name
Hear me out on this one.
I really struggled when coming up with my own business name. My name is Clare Crossan and I’m a copywriter who loves alliteration so, clearly, I could have gone down that route and come up with something pretty easily. In fact, for a while I traded under the name CrossanCopy. It was clear and to the point.
However, I’m not just a copywriter. I am also an editor. I’m also studying for a post graduate qualification in translation so I will be offering translation services too.
And who knows how my business will develop? I’m a big fan of helping small businesses with their marketing. I’m not ruling out branching into literary translation at some point. My future target audience could be an Italian author or a Scottish small business owner . Or both.
I don’t know and I don’t want to decide yet!
Using my own name gives me freedom to move my business in any direction I choose — no limitations.
My target audience could change and my goals almost certainly will. The only constant thing in this equation will be me.
And that’s okay. It is me that I’m selling after all. My skills, my expertise, my work ethic, my personality.
If you’re considering using your own name, it’s worth considering the potential pitfalls.
Some people will make assumptions. There will be clients who would prefer to work with a bigger company and there’s no pretending to be a huge agency if you are using your own name.
Using your own name will make you seem super approachable which is all well and good until clients start calling you at bedtime or on a Sunday afternoon.
However, you can overcome this by ensuring that your branding, marketing and customer service all scream ‘professional’.
Don’t forget the practicalities
Whether you’ve come up with a brilliant business name or opted to use your own, don’t break out the bubbly just yet.
There are still a few things to do first:
Check the domain name availability — if the domain name isn’t available, it’s probably best to go back to the drawing board.
Make sure the social media handles for your name are available.
Lastly, check this site for the government’s rules on choosing a business name. There are certain restrictions, including names that are too similar to that of another company or names that contain potentially sensitive or offensive words.
Get a second opinion
If you’re still can’t decide on a name, draft in some help. Ask your friends, family, or a professional copywriter (shameless plug time!) to pitch in with words of wisdom and an unbiased opinion.
Sometimes that’s just what you need.
Congrats — hopefully you’ve found a name you love. That’s step one in growing your small business.
Step two is the fun bit; it’s time to share it with the world.
Now is the time to get to grips with branding. Much like your business name, your logo and your branding are going to be with you for a long time so it’s worth hiring a professional to create a logo that perfectly complements your name, your values and your goals.
Find out about my logo and branding packages here.
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