Read time: Five mins
Rebranding? Outgrown your current business name? Wanna (re)launch with a name that’ll back up your biz goals for the long-haul?
I’ve got you covered.
Gentle reminder: Your business name matters.
Like, a lot.
Not only does it allow your customers and clients to find and connect with you (otherwise they’d be googling vague stuff like, “That awesome, amazing [xyz] business in [place]” which probaaaably won’t lead exactly them to you), but it also gives your business an identity.
Whether it’s The Exotic Plant Emporium – which doesn’t exist but should, ‘cause it conjures up some serious magical rainforesty vibes – or Little Black Kat (sound familiar? 😉), your name gives your audience a sneak peek at who your business is. It also creates a tangible connection and gives you the building blocks for forming a meaningful relationship with them.
So, how do you know if your business name is still serving its purpose or if it’s time to shake things up and upgrade your business identity?
Five signs you should change your business name
- Your business services/offerings have changed a lot since you first launched.
- You want to target a different demographic.
- You’re increasing your prices (which will also change who you’re targeting).
- You rushed the naming process the first time around and your name never quite fit your brand and business.
- Your current name just plain ol’ feels wrong. Trust your gut!
- You’re a new business and you’ve never had a name before. In which case, this is less about renaming and more about finding the best name to grow with you!
Sound like it’s time for change? Here’s what to do next.
Your quick reference guide to (re)naming your business
First, a disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer and this article isn’t going to help you with the legal stuff. I strongly recommend double-checking your business registration requirements for your business structure (aka company vs sole trader or partnership).
With that in mind, what I can help you with is picking a name for your business that supports your vision, goals and brand.
And, as a brand designer, naturally, here’s where I think you should begin.
Step one: Start with your brand strategy
Your brand strategy informs who you are, who you’re targeting and how you’re going to communicate and connect with them.
By getting clear on your brand strategy first, you can feel confident you’ll choose a name,
- You won’t grow out of.
- That will appeal to your target audience.
- That reflects your brand personality and values.
- That places you in a powerful competitive position.
- That provokes the feelings you want your brand associated with.
Step two: Let your imagination run wild
Now for the fun part! The brainstorming phase is a chance for you to jot down every wild, wonderful and weird idea you might have for your business name.
Here are some tips to help get the creative juices flowing:
- Avoid the temptation to go general or generic. This is your chance to stand out!
- Don’t focus exclusively on keywords. If it happens naturally, awesome. But if not, let your inspiration take your elsewhere.
- Have fun with wordplay. Rhymes, alliteration and idioms can be fun and catchy ways to create a memorable business name.
- Embrace storytelling and ground your name in meaning (but make sure it isn’t too complicated. Keep it simple). What is the story behind your business? What inspired its creation? What inspires it today?
- Don’t use your own name. Your name is beautiful, but it doesn’t tell your audience much about your business and can limit your options and scalability in the future if you want to expand or sell.
- Think about the future. Where do you want your business to go? Don’t limit yourself to names that cover your services now; position your brand for the future, too.
- Stay away from acronyms. They might work for KFC, but as a small business trying to make their way in the world, your acronym will likely confuse more than compel people.
- Invite friends, family and even loyal customers or clients into the brainstorming session. Two – or more! – heads are better than one and may spark a creative new idea.
Step three: Pick a name
Now that you have a great big list of potential names, it’s time to narrow it down to the two or three that are real contenders.
You’ll know you’ve struck naming luck when your potential business name is:
Step four: Cover your bases
Got a name you think is great? Before you put a ring or registration on it, make sure it’s truly available (and that someone else didn’t get there first).
Here’s how to do your research:
- Google search! Google the words and see what comes up.
- Check the ASIC website to see if the name is available
- Use the IP Australia search.
- Check if the URL available (.com, .au, .com.au, .org) I tell people to get a few variations if it’s in the budget to do so. This ensures another website won’t pop up with the same biz name.
- Facebook search (you’re going to want to get this as close to your biz name as possible)
- Instagram search (again, you’re going to want to get this as close to your biz name as possible)
- Repeat the same search for any other social platforms you want a presence on.
If everything is looking golden for your fave business name, make sure you sit on it for a little while. Don’t rush into any decisions. You want a name that you’ll love now and into the future.
And if all of this seems a liiiittle overwhelming (and picking a business name is a big deal, so it’s natural to feel daunted!) I’ve got just the thing.
10 Tips for Naming Your Business
Brainstorming Strategies to Help Name Your Business