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Get Help Choosing a Business Name

by Arianne Foulks

August 9, 2016 / Updated: April 19, 2022

Are you thinking about changing your business name? Or choosing a business name for a new endeavor? It’s hard, isn’t it?

As a person who created a spreadsheet of possible names for both of my children and polled all my family and friends, ranking each one before I could decide, I totally know how you feel! I was actually in the delivery room preparing for my second son’s imminent arrival, and the nurses had written the two names we were still deciding between on the whiteboard. I imagined shouting both names on playgrounds, saying them lovingly, saying them angrily… it’s a big decision, and I know a business feels like a baby in some ways, too.

Let’s talk about what to expect when hiring help for this big decision.

Aeolidia’s work is known for being transformative, and sometimes that transformation takes you back to bedrock: the name you’ve been using for your business no longer fits what you’re doing and what your customers relate to. With the upcoming investment in graphic design for your brand, you may realize you don’t want to spend money on that old, no-good name.

Over the years, I have added logo design, product photography, copywriting, marketing consultation, trademarking, and business name brainstorming to the services we offer. You can come to us at a crossroads for your business and we put all the little wheels in motion to take care of the bits and pieces that must be in place to generate online sales.

We do a lot more business name brainstorming than I expected when I first introduced the service. I love it when we can do this! It’s great to be able to start from the start, and know that we’re preparing our clients for success.

Sugar + Spruce logo design for a bath and body apothecary
Business name: A play on the phrase, “sugar and spice and everything nice,” this name turns it on its head by taking a phrase that’s all about what girls/women should do and making it about something women want to do: indulge in sugar scrubs and spruce themselves up!

Here is how the business name brainstorming process at Aeolidia works

We get so many questions about how this service works, and this is an area where people can get cold feet. It can feel crazy to hand over such an important part of your business to another person, but rest assured, our method works and it’s collaborative. Your business’s personality and your input will always be at the forefront of the conversation.

Background and business information

We begin with goals and objectives, just as we do with all phases of your project. We make sure we all completely understand your unique selling proposition – what differentiates your business from others? We get a handle on your target client – the specific perfect person who you will be speaking to when you market your business. And then the creativity begins!

Modern Tally Logo and brand identity design for handbag and accessories designer
Business name: I wanted to convey the sense of taking inventory & fulfillment that resonated with you, but in a more fun, playful way. I feel this name works on multiple levels because the words themselves provide the feel of function + beauty on a phonetic level; modern is very straightforward & functional, while tally is very happy-sounding.

The process of choosing a great business name

Our copywriter is at the helm of the biz name ship, and here is how she described the journey for our clients:

The business name brainstorming process works in phases. We start in the same place all great brands start: with words and ideas. To get from point A to point YAY, we’ve found it’s best to set objectives for each round.

Round 1: After receiving your answers to our naming questionnaire, I will come up with an initial list of name concepts. These will contain 5 – 7 potential names, their corresponding domain names, and a few lines about the inspiration, story or meaning behind each one.

Your objective: Tell us what names are working for your business and why. Tell us also which names you don’t believe will work, and why. This helps us begin narrowing our focus in a direction that will meet your branding goals.

Round 2: In this round, I begin narrowing your list of name concepts to ONLY what works. They may include names that are variations of the ones you liked, inspired by them, similar but more abstract, similar but more literal… here is where we really begin exploring the possibilities that most resonate. With this in mind, you’ll again receive a list of 5 – 7 potential names, their corresponding domain names, and a few lines about the inspiration, story or meaning behind each one.

Your objective: Tell us which names are resonating in this round, and which are also still contenders from the first round. If going through this process has given you new ideas and directions you’d like to explore as well, now’s the best time to bring them up.

Round 3: By this stage, it’s really best that we’re not changing directions so much as narrowing focus. I will begin refining the concepts that have most resonated from rounds 1 & 2. I’ll again create a list of 5 – 7 names, this time more similar in focus and/or inspiration.

Your objective: By this stage, clients usually have one or two names they keep going back to. Trust that. If you find you keep comparing new names to one that grabbed your attention in Round 1 or 2, it means there’s something there worth paying attention to. Let’s identify these last few options—what is it about them that’s grabbed you?

Round 4: In this last step, we’re usually deciding between one or two names. I will often weigh in on which one I feel best hits your branding objectives. Or I might present a couple of alternatives, inspired by the qualities that are working best in each name. In this last round you may receive anywhere between one to a few additional new variations on these concepts. In other cases, we may opt not to provide new concepts, but to answer any questions you have about your final picks.

Your objective: Decide on your new name. Say hooray! We’ll all cheer and be super excited for the next step in your branding.

vesselry logo for a pottery business
Business name: We asked what types of business names felt right to owner Nona. Was she looking for something that captured the essence of her brand, but wasn’t necessarily descriptive? Or was she looking for something more straightforward and tangible?

Business name FAQ

We would love to start your business off on the right foot by first learning what is unique about what you do and who you offer it to, and brainstorming a business name with you that captures your business’s spirit, appeals to your target customer, and has an available domain name. It’s a great thing to feel confident that your business name fits your brand, will be memorable for your customers, and will serve you well for many years.

We get lots of questions about how this works, and we want to make it less of a leap of faith, so here is our naming FAQ.

What does the service include?

Assistance in discovering a suitable name for your business that has an available domain name.

How long does business name brainstorming take?

Business name brainstorming typically takes about 3 weeks, with one week in advance to gather some information from you for our copywriter to consider. If you’re decisive, it can go more quickly. If you’re indecisive, we can help with that, but projects seldom last more than three weeks.

What if I have a hard time deciding during the process?
Luckily, the reason the decision is hard is also the reason that you can’t really go wrong when you have a set of great choices: any of them will work well and allow you to grow a strong business.

It can be hard to get fully behind a name when it doesn’t have a logo and brand design wrapped around it yet, but your Aeolidia designer will be following along with the process and already imagining design ideas to make it just right for your customers. Have faith that the name will make sense when all the pieces of the puzzle are put together.

What if I come up with a name idea that I ultimately choose during the process?

That is wonderful when that happens! We’re glad to stimulate your creativity and help you find something that works for you, even if it wasn’t on our idea list. As the service is the brainstorming and the passing back and forth of ideas, there is no discount if you happen to be the person who finds the final name.

What if I end up sticking with my original name after we brainstorm?

This has happened exactly once so far, and the client found it to be a helpful exercise and a good validation of sticking with her original business name. Similar to coming up with your own name, the value of our services is in the ideas and the deep dive into what your business is all about. If we get to through all of the rounds of the process, there is no discount if you don’t choose a name.

What if I never like any of the ideas?

I can’t recall a time that we reached a total impasse with a business name. Your project will work out wonderfully if you’re able to keep an open mind, be prepared for ideas you wouldn’t have thought of (that’s the whole point of this exercise, right?), and remember to always consider each idea from the perspective of your customer, not your own personal preferences.

There is always the possibility that creative work like this won’t match your expectations, and then you just have to move forward in a direction that will work.

Will anyone else on your team help with name ideas if we can’t find a name that works?

Nope, we find that “too many cooks in the kitchen” can be a problem for these type of projects. If you’re having graphic design work done, your designer may weigh in with her thoughts about your business and what would work for your customers, but we find it’s best to keep the rest of our team out of the wordsmith’s kitchen.

Can you guarantee that I won’t accidentally be using someone else’s business name?

We check extensively with Google that the names we’re suggesting don’t conflict with a possible competitor, and we also try to use names that will be easy for you to rise to the top of Google’s results for.

However, you don’t want the nightmare that is the Cease & Desist letter – we strongly recommend that you have our partner law firm do a trademark search for you and trademark the name after you decide on it. We’re glad to add this service to any project.

What do I do next after deciding on my business name?

Run out there and buy your domain name, and register the name on all the social media platforms you may end up using.

If it’s an existing business with a customer base, you will want to rename or redirect all your accounts, websites, and email addresses, so you don’t lose any old information or existing followers. You will also want to gently transition people into understanding that your business has changed its name.

What about my logo?

We offer this service as a first step for our brand identity graphic design packages. So our next step will be to design a wonderfully fitting and engaging brand identity around your new name. We will have all the information we discovered during naming to use in designing the look for your brand.

Can I see some examples of your business name projects?

Yes! We have the names and graphic design collected here in our portfolio, and the case studies of the business names are all listed here in our biz name blog category.

Domi and Frisk brand identity for cat tree company by Aeolidia
Our copywriter told Cat, the owner: You mentioned wanting a name that is both sophisticated and whimsical, one that captures your love of pets and their happiness. You also emphasized that your brand is design-forward and your products are elegantly styled yet cozy and safe for cats. I explored these concepts by tying together ideas & words that hint at things like home, happiness, the majestic & elegant nature of cats, and imagery related to trees.

Are you ready to transform your business?

We’re your team! Please get in touch right now so you won’t have to live without a business name you can be proud of any longer. Tell us about your business, where you’re at with it, and where you’d like to be, and we’ll put together what you need to get on the right track.

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4 thoughts on “Get Help Choosing a Business Name”

  1. I hated trying to come up with a good business, and then when I did think of the perfect name the URL I wanted wasn’t available, so I ended up just using my name ? Thanks for the super helpful post, hiring someone would have been so much easier, will have to keep it in mind when my business starts to grow ??


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