Choosing a name for your business can be one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make. For some people it comes naturally but for many of us it isn’t that simple.
I have always been awful at these sorts of task. Fake business activities in school would have me stuck at task 1- Name the business. I was the last person you’d want on your pub quiz team (and not only because I suck at general knowledge quizzes); I’m just not witty or funny enough (it’s ok…don’t feel bad for me, I have my…um, I’ll get back to you on that). The thought of someday having to name a child terrifies me, not the having a child part but the giving them a name they are stuck with forever. At least with my business I could rebrand.
Now there are lots of terrific ways you can come up with ideas for business names that should help you work out that name in no time. It still took me a year…but I’m pretty sure that for most it really isn’t so much of a challenging task, I’m just a little special that way (and a lot fussy!).
So how did I come up with my name? Well after a year of having the idea, discussing it and ending any conversation with ‘but what would I call it?’ I’d tried word games and market research but my mind was still blank. No matter how many ideas I had or how many ideas other people suggested nothing felt quite right. When it’s your business, starting up from the ground, it has to feel right to you. I took this very seriously though and once I found something I liked became very attached. It was the only thing that felt right so nothing else would do. Does that mean it was the best name for my business? Who knows. All I know is that finally I found something I was happy with and I wasn’t going to waste another year of “hmm, I’m not sure. It just doesn’t feel quite right”
A Thousand Yellow Daisies is actually a reference to a pretty big US TV Series. Got any guesses? I’ve only ever had one person make the reference when they first heard my business name, some of my best friends who were also fans of the show didn’t even make the connection!
When trying to come up with business names and nothing felt right, I realised that a name that meant something to me could be the solution. While the reference to the program is not a specific scene or moment that I personally related to, the program itself has significant meaning to me. Having been part of my life at a time that was needed, while I was at the right age to be connecting with the show, it has had a significant role in my teen development and will always be a fond favourite. My business is a small, personal brand. It all comes from me, is all directly influenced by myself. So for the business name to reflect something so personal and directly mean something to me, it feels right.
Even once I decided I wanted something personal that didn’t make the process instant or easy as you may presume. It’s always difficult even if you know what you want. I sat listing and talking about all the things that I liked, all the things that meant something to me or that people would relate to me when asked. My housemate and I would sit for hours talking it through and making lists while our favourite TV shows played in the background hoping to spark some inspiration. Thankfully after a few (ok, quite a few!) episodes I heard it. “Wait, rewind that. Right there. That’s it”. In the end that’s all it took…an overheard sentence in the background. A Thousand Yellow Daisies. It’s not the shortest name in the world, and trust me, that’s had its issues. But we always figured if I made it big enough to get a store, everyone would just call it Daisies. It turns out the Internet is a much more difficult place and finding a name that is allowed (which is different on every platform…super helpful!) means that I had to be creative, but that wasn’t going to stop me.
There’s always ways around it. Once you find the name you want and it suits your brand then you can make it work. Of course you do need to be sensible and check the legalities, such as does the name exist? Check on Google and social media to check, you don’t want to be competing with another company with the same name! Not only would that be frustrating and make your business and audience growth un-necessarily difficult, it could also cause you costly legal issues down the road. You can check for existing companies at https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/ but bear in mind that only Limited companies have to register their name, not sole traders so it is always worth doing a Google check as well as checking the government register. You will also need to check for trademarks, as you will not be able to trade under or use a name that is trademarked. It is best never to use a name that exists as a name is intellectual property and will have a common law trademark automatically, however using a registered trademark is a sever and costly mistake so do your homework and check out the trademark register here: https://www.tmdn.org/tmview/welcome
If you’re looking for a business name and don’t know where to start try these simple activities to see if they spark an idea for you…
The Word Association Game-
Write a list of all of the words that you want to be associated with your brand, the words that describe your business and/or industry. Now take one of those words and start a column, underneath think of the first word that comes to mind when saying the first word on your list. Now do the same underneath looking at the 2nd word and on and on.
The word only needs to directly relate to the one above, not all of the words above. Metal is related to Lead, but is not directly related to Design. You can do this game for as many of the descriptive brand words as you like. Now look over your lists, does anything stand out? Does anything sound good as a business name or spark another idea?
The Word Map Game-
This game is similar to the previous word game but will give words only directly related to your brand and industry. Fill a page with words related to your brand, industry and company only. There are far more words than you think. Once you have run out of words that may relate to your brand open a thesaurus and start looking for synonyms of these words. You may find that you’d like the idea of ‘Confidence’ to be part of your ethos and brand identity but find the word ‘Sanguine’ to be a much more interesting and suitable word for a business name.
List all of your strong traits that you associate with yourself, list your favourite things, people, places and moments. Now ask others, what do they associate with you? Once you have a comprehensive list of what matters the most to you, who you and who others view you to be, you can filter through to see what’s relevant. Is there a personality trait that could be a business name, or a synonym of that trait that would work? Is there a thing that everyone relates to you? Is there a book, a program, film or place that means a lot to you? Break it down; if it’s a place is there a street or a beach etc. that stands out in your mind? Is that a good business name? If it’s a book, film or TV show is there a line or a word used that gives the feel of your brand while only you know the true meaning and relevance?
Naming a business can be a long and sometimes frustrating process, but it’s worth it in the end. Having a name that you are truly proud of will only help your business succeed and make you feel more connected to your company. Try to have fun with the process and good luck! If you’re naming a business now or have a story behind how you got your business name why not share it with us? We’d love to hear more naming stories!