On finding the right name for your business

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If there's one thing that'll have you banging your head against a brick wall, it's coming up with a name for your business. Where do you start? How do you know whether your ideas are any good? And once you've found that winning concept, how do you protect it?

First things first

Before you can begin thinking about a name, you need to establish a few fundamentals. What does your business do? What's your brand personality - what do people love you for? And what is it that you're really brilliant at? 

Create a list of root words

Which words best describe the characteristics of your business? And how do you want people to feel when they interact with your brand? Create a list of descriptive words that set the tone for what you want to achieve. For example, warm, homely, relaxed, cosy, contented, peaceful... you get the idea. 

Next, brainstorm these root words out to find more possibilities that fit the theme. We love to refer to our trusty thesaurus, but there are plenty of other places to look, too. Does your name have to be in English? Look to foreign translations of your key words - they can inspire the creation of an entirely new word that you can really make your own. What else inspires you? Music? Places you've travelled? Nature? I like to hit Pinterest for a collection of really unusual words with beautiful meanings.

At this stage, no idea is a bad one. So let your mind run free! You never know where an idea may take you, which is what makes this process so exciting.

Experiment with your words

By now your notebook will be overflowing with words, and you should start to see some themes forming. Which are standing out to you? Can you bring any together to create a conjoined name? Or what about pulling some of the words together to form an acronym? I'm not a massive fan of acronyms in principle, but they can yield some pretty cool results - like MOA for Magic Organic Apothecary (whose products I totally love, by the way). This can be a really great way of creating your own word, neatly side-stepping the danger of falling in love with a name that's already been nabbed by someone else...

Whittle it down

Time to get subjective. Look at your developing list of concepts and audit them, asking yourself how well they fit with your company. Do they have any negative connotations? Do they allow for future evolution? Do they conjure up a positive image? How do they sound when you say them aloud? Are they easy to say and spell? It's ok to have a slightly complicated name if that fits with your brand, but if one of your key brand words is simplicity, for example, your name absolutely must be easy to use. Practice using your favourite concepts in conversation - how do they feel?

The tie-breaker

Time to check if your concept is available. Do a web search, check at companies house, and look on the likes of GoDaddy to see if you'll be able to get a domain. we also like to check on trademarkia, which is a quick way of seeing if your name has been registered by anyone else. To be absolutely certain that your chosen concept is available, and to protect it moving forwards, we recommend speaking with a trade mark lawyer (Mark at Hiddlestons is fab!)

A few things to bear in mind

Keep an open mind throughout this process. Let your mind wander. Nothing kills creativity quite like staring at a blank computer screen; get yourself up and out and go wherever you feel most inspired. Get the opinion of others, but mind whose opinion you ask and don't let too many voices crowd your mind. Ultimately, go with your gut. And remember: this should be a fun process! Good luck... ;-)