There’s a lot to consider when starting your own business. Choosing a suitable name is one of the first steps in creating your own business identity. Names are quite powerful, so working out the right name for your business is time well spent. It can also be a lot of fun. Gather a little brains trust, ask for suggestions from friends, family or even potential customers - often those one step removed come up with the best ideas.
Here are some tips that may help you get started, or narrow down a long list:
Say the name out loud. It needs to sound good and you should feel comfortable and proud to say it over and over. You want your name to register clearly and easily in conversation, when answering the phone, on video and the like. Alliteration, can be very effective in a business name, such as Crunchy Crust for a bakery. Just be careful not to choose a tongue twister.
State your business. For example Rosie’s Creations is quite general, whereas Rosie’s Edible Image Creations gives a clear indication that you’re in the edible image business. A business name making reference to what your business supplies is definitely worth considering, and will pop up in customer searches far more readily. We opted for safe and obvious when naming our business, Edible Image Supplies.
Spell it how you spell it. Stick with the correct spelling of the word(z) in your name. And avoid cute dots and dash-s. These can make it harder for folk to find you online, cause problems for you when setting up your business (oh the constant explaining) and, lets not get started on what autocorrect is going to do to your head and your customers each time you type in your name!
Though family names may seem boring, they are safe and may be a quick way for you to bed down a name for your business. If you have a quirky name or nick name, run with that. For example Elizabeth Jones might be Betty Bakes Cakes. Just keep in mind that if you’d like to sell your business in the future, a generic name is the better way to go.
Don’t get too clever, funny or rude. Fancy words for your product can just confuse your customers or even deter them. Cake in Latin translates to Placenta, clever as that may be, it probably doesn’t make for a great name for a cake business or any business for that matter! Names using puns or shock value will work for some people, though are often misunderstood or a deterrent to potential customers (depending on the nature of your business). You may also quickly tire of it. Remember you have to see, hear and say your business name constantly everyday, so you want to love it. It’s a good idea to run any words that are a bit creative through Urban Dictionary, as meanings change with each generation.
Make sure you can register your name. Once you have a short list of potential names there’s no point going any further until you check if the name is already registered as a trademark or acquired by another business. You’ll of course want an online presence, so this is the time to do a domain name check. In Australia you can check if your proposed name is available to register as a business name or domain name easily through business.gov.au.
Do some online research. A quick way to eliminate business names is to just jump online and type in your short list of names or main words and see what you find. This will also help you to identify which words work best in search engines.
If you’re struggling, you could look at a business name generator website, there are plenty out there and they’re easy to use. Still keen to do it yourself, why not try a few simple formulas used by many to establish their business names? Here’s just a few variations:
Object +Product/Business Type
Rainbow Edible Inks
Magnolia Bakery (clearly taken)
Geographical Reference + Product/Business Type
Vine Street Kitchen Supplies
Vine Street Doughnuts
Sea Breeze Edible Printing
Above all, have fun playing around with your new business name, do a bit of research and get others involved. Find something you love and that will allow you to grow. And remember, don’t try to be everything to everybody with your name.
Go for it!