Seven Major Options On How to Name Your Business

Coming up with a name for your business can be tricky. If you’re retail it’s easier to go random, there are so many businesses with names that may or may not have any meaning to the customer (even if there’s a story behind it). I can think of the Black Dog Public House, White Dog Cafe, the Pig and Whistle, Elephant and Castle etc. You might just pick something random and be known for that. But, if you’re a service based professional, I don’t think that’s the best way to go.

And there are so many terrible names: General Electric, Universal Solutions, Leaders International etc.  All vague and give you both no idea what it is and evoke no curiousity to know more.

I believe your business name should, ideally, be simple, memorable and if it’s not crystal clear what it is, then to at least evoke curiousity.

As far as I can see it, you’ve got seven major options:

Option #1: Business Your Personal Name: There are absolutely worse options than simply going for Just have your URL and business name be your name. If you’re genuinely stuck, this is a fine place to start. If you pick a specific business name and then change it – you have to rebrand, re-educate people etc. But you’re unlikely to change your own name. So, even if you eventually name your business something else – people will at least know your name. And there’s a powerful argument to be made in making yourself the brand as Peter Montoya lays out in his brilliant book The Personal Branding Phenomenon.

Option #2: Make Up A Word (or use a foreign word): Sometimes you can’t find a simple way to say what you do without using dozens of words. You might consider picking a simple word from another language, or even your own or . . . make one up! Think of It’s a place you can buy amazing products made from crafters world wide. Etsy isn’t actually a word! But it is now. The Otesha Project takes young people on empowering bike trips around Canada. The word came from a Kenyan word meaning ‘hope’ which got to the heart of what they’re about. Simple words like this make for easy to remember URL’s too.

Option #3: Speak to the Result: This one can be really powerful. When you think about the ultimate result you offer your clients – could you sum that up into a few words? Here are a few I’ve seen that give you an immediate sense of what they offer:,,,, Fill Your Workshops With Ease! or ‘Get the Girl!’. My dear friend Erica Ross named her business after the result in a more evocative way with I also heard someone use this the other day as a joke but I think it’s a great URL 

Option #4: Speak to their Current Situation: A client of mine who helps injured yogi’s recover decided on the name ‘Broken Yogi’. Another one is A friend of mine who’s a dating coach launched a product called, ‘She’s Only Six Steps Away’ speaking the feeling many men have when seeing a woman they’re interested in but being too terrified to approach her and thinking to themselves, ‘Come on man! She’s only six steps away!’. 

Option #5: Use an OxyMoron: I’ve written a lot about this in another post but the basic idea is to see if you can create your name out of wedding two seemingly conflicting ideas. Marketing + Hippies? Those don’t seem to go together. Buddhist + Bootcamp? The fact that they are contrasting makes the name more interesting and exciting for people.

Option #6: Name the Boat: I speak a lot about your ‘boat‘ when I speak of the journey we take people on from on Island to another. Naming the boat isn’t always the most compelling thing – bu tit’s a legitimate way to go. You could go with which would certainly rank you high in google for local searches. And if you’re offering a specialty product or service that few others are offering, you could go with a name like, or Those names don’t say anything about the problems you solve or the results you offer, they’re not compelling like an oxymoron would be but they’re pretty clear and easy to understand at a basic level.

Option #7: Name it After Your Niche: If you have a product or service with a tonne of applications that you’re wanting to apply to a specific niche why not name your business after that?   e.g. or Broken Yogi and Recovering Yogi also work here.

If you can think of any other examples or ideas, I’d love to hear them.


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