Choosing a name for your brand new business can be a daunting task and yet it’s often the very first thing you need to do as a budding business owner. It’s worth taking time to settle on a really good business name to start with, so you can avoid the hassle of re-branding in the future.

Here’s a few tips to help you along – and I’ll also share the story of one of my business names from a few years back, and what went wrong…

1. Research, research, research

Got a great idea for a name? Awesome! The first step is to check the name is still available on all social media channels and as a domain name for your website (even if you’re not planning to build a website right away!). It’s generally best not to choose a name that already exists, especially in the same sector but even if the other business is in another country or doing something completely different.

Look up your chosen name on Google and see what comes up – how unique the name is will determine how easily people will find you and how high you’re likely to rank on Google when someone types in the name.

2. Make it future-proof

You might be just starting out but it’s never too early to think big! Where do you want your business to be in a year’s time, or in 5 year’s time? If you’re considering a name that’s very specific, will it still work if you want to diversify your products or offerings later on? This is especially important if your name idea refers to the product you’re currently selling, or to your target audience; if you’re selling cat products now, Purrfect Presents may work well but would it still suit if you decided to branch out to dog products in the future?

3. Make it memorable

When you think of the shops on your local high streets and your online favourites, they tend to have one thing in common – their names are short and memorable. In general, short names made up of a maximum of two words tend to work best. It can sometimes seem impossible to find something that’s not already been taken but isn’t too long and complicated.

Your business name is one of the key elements of your brand imagine. Any name you choose will evoke something in the minds of your potential customers and a really good name attracts your ideal customers. What kind of an image do you want to portray? Is your business traditional, built on strong handmade foundations, or is it very trendy and modern?

Your business name should also be something others find easy to pronounce and spell, which brings us to…

4. Run it past your most honest friends

So, I have a confession to make. When I named my online shop a few years back, I thought I’d found the perfect name. It was short, unique, and it was a bit “cool” (or so I thought). It was also meaningful to me. I did my research, and no one else had used it before – in fact, very little came up on Google when I typed it in. I was sure I was on to a winner – I could practically imagine it in flashing lights above a shop entrance…

That name was Diglot etc.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s… unusual, right?
A diglot means something with more than one language, which seemed perfect as I’m bilingual and have made my life in the UK after being brought up in Finland. I wanted to combine my nordic heritage with cool British style when I designed my collection of jewellery and accessories. The only problem was that I never checked with anyone how Diglot etc really sounded like to them or if it was obvious how to spell it. To make matters worse, the social media handle for it looked like this: @diglotetc – as I discovered, most people read it as something like “diglo tech” which just made no sense.

In the end I ended up rebranding and started using my own name as my brand name, but in the future I would always ask my most honest friends what they think of my potential business name ideas!