Sunday, February 28, 2010

Naming Your Business

What is the perfect name for your business?
I get asked a lot to give feedback about names for new businesses. This post is inspired by all those people who have recently asked me to give them feedback for their names.

I came up with a name for my business that I am really happy with - iAM Business Consulting. iAM, besides being a very profound phrase embodying the infinite potential, also stands for innovative, authentic, and mindful, all of which are very important aspects of my consulting work.

I don't consider myself very creative with names but I can tell you when a name doesn't feel right. A good name should flow on your tongue and convey the right feelings about the business it personifies. A good name should embody the biggest and highest vision you have for your work in the future. So, you are not thinking of just right now but what is your highest potential in the future and that is the energy it needs to convey.

So some of the characteristics of a good name are:

1) It flows - when you say it and when you listen to it.
2) Its simple and easy to remember -
3) It conveys the highest vision of the work you will be doing
4) It includes words your customers are likely to look for
5) Check the legal angle with respect to domain names and trademarks to ensure it is not already taken

I think there is a myth, or atleast in my head it was, that some people are creative and can come up with good names very easily. Though there may be a few, very few people out there who can instantly come up with a cool name, for the most part, people have to work hard to come up with a good name and tag line. Sometimes, from a place of inspiration you may come upon the perfect name, but if it doesn't, don't be disheartened, because most people, even big branding companies come up with 100s of names and then find one that is perfect.

Here are some tips to help with coming up the perfect name for your business:

1) Make sure that you are very clear about your business purpose and mission. Write down your mission statement. You can read more about finding purpose and writing a good mission statement here.

2) Make 3 columns:

i. Action words: Write down what your business will be doing. For example, empowering, inspiring, inventing, training, bringing awareness, exploring etc

ii. Customer benefits: Write down what will be the benefits to customers from using your product or service. They will feel energized, healthy, happy, become creative, innovative solutions, be empowered, etc

iii. Unique skills & values: Write down values and skills that are unique to you. For example for me being innovative, authentic, and mindful laid the foundation for my consulting work. Other examples may be words like Green if you are working with renewable energy, Consciousness and mindfulness if you are working in healing arts, etc

Once you have made a list of words/phrases in the three columns you can mix and match between columns or even just within a column. My name mostly came from words within column iii - innovative, authentic, mindful and was combined with business consulting which is an action phrase describing what I do. And it also conveys the benefits my customers can expect.

3) If you find a name that has already been taken, you can try bringing in other languages like Latin or Sanskrit, provided the words are commonly used and convey the spirit of of your business. Like Om, Shanti, Shakti, and Metta are some common Sanskrit words that have been popularized by the sprouting of Yoga and associated terminologies borrowed from Sanskrit.

4) Sometimes it also helps to use a thesaurus to find alternative words that actually sound better

5) Have fun with it and loosen up

When you do come up with a good name, you will KNOW. There will be a YES! And you will not need to ask anyone if it is the right name. Instead you will want to immediately share your new business name with everyone.

How did you come up with your perfect name?


  1. Great suggestions - just shared this one with my new business partners via an email. I'll come back with more comments after we utilize your ideas and let you know how it turns our!

  2. Thanks Jim for your comment and sharing it with your business partners. I am sure there are other ideas out there to come up with names and would love to hear if you come across other new ideas.