This time you’re determined, dammit.

You grab your coffee. You sit down.  And you think the same thought that’s been plaguing you for weeks now…

“Okay, time to name my business. Let’s do this.”

And then?

Then, all the RULES rush through your head…

You know the ones…

Your business name has to be unique. Totally different.

Your business name must be clever. But not TOO clever that no one understands it.

And holy hell, it can’t be boring either.

Plus, your exact business name has to be readily available as a domain name. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Barely a minute has passed, and you’re already losing steam.

Enter your fairy business coach. [Insert tinkly theme music and muted glowy light.]

Okay, so we have a problem here. (Besides the tinkly theme music.)

That problem is this:

You’re all up in your head!   And you haven’t even begun the process!

See, some things in your business are rote and mental.  Like, entering numbers into a spreadsheet, profit and loss, mapping out your call-back schedule.

So, it’s tempting to think that EVERYTHING in your business should follow suit.

But when you name your business?

Naming your business is a creative process.

(And by the way, so is naming anything, writing anything, and getting any ideas.)

And as with any creative process, you can’t slap down a set of rules and force it out of your brain. You just can’t.

You have to ALLOW it. Ideas arise. They don’t “get thought.”

In fact, in spite of the title of this article, there IS no three-step tried-and-true formula for coming up with the perfect business name that will always be the right business name.

But since everyone wants steps, here are three. These work every time. But not always in a linear way…

1  –  Give yourself PERMISSION

Permission to not have a clue what your business should be called right now.

Permission to do this badly.

Permission to continue living with the lame name you came up with a few years ago when you were on the treadmill.

Permission to let this evolve.

So, maybe you already have a name, but no one pronounces it right. Or maybe your name turned out to be the name of another business in your industry.  Okay, fine. We all have things in our businesses that need changing. Why rush now?

The problem with rushing is that you will end up with a name you hate because you forced something to happen that wasn’t yet ready to arrive.

2  –  Get your business PHILOSOPHY

Here’s an assignment.

Take your whole reason for having a business, for doing what you do and how you do it – and break it down into five core business philosophies.  Basically the WHY of what you do.  These don’t have to be perfect. Don’t go for poetry. And don’t try to make a sign that you will someday post in the bathroom stalls at your corporate headquarters.

Write as if you were just talking. Or just  hit “Record” in your Evernote and talk away..

Pretend I sat down in front of you and said, “Okay, tell me five things you believe that made you create the business you have. Just talk to me.”

This doesn’t have to get completed in one session. Spend some time with this.

3  –  Go on and PLAY with your business name

I know. I know. This is business. I’m supposed to be all “Arrrrgh! Get serious!”  (And when one makes pirate noises like “arrrrgh,” you know she’s serious.)

But no. I want you to play.

Read through your five business philosophies. See what words keep repeating.

Go through your days, lightly holding on to the ideas you’ve come up with so far.

Ask your friends their opinions.

Keep a running list. And make sure you include the “bad” ideas on there.  Often, our bad ideas lead us to the best ideas.  Just play with business names.

You don’t have to be in a rush. If it takes a few weeks longer than you thought, big deal. Stop overthinking all of that mental BS and start playing with this.  You’ll be surprised at the ideas that arise when you’re making dinner, or walking your dog, or driving to meet your sister for breakfast.  (Or playing pirate.)

And yes, if you want to satisfy your inner lover of spreadsheets, there are then ways of testing your name to see if it’s clickable and track how people respond using heat maps and SEO know-how.

But consider this:

Apple didn’t do this. Neither did Virgin. Neither did The Gap.  Neither did Tiffany, Nike or McDonalds.

And they all seem to be pretty okay about that.

We’re not looking for: “What will make them line up in droves?”  We’re looking for what clicks inside of you. Something that feels “right.”  That’s the first sign it’s a good name.

No matter what name you choose, there’s no guarantee it’ll be a name that will make your business soar.

That part is up to how you RUN and make your business scalable.

CONFESSION: This article was written in response to an actual question I received from one of my Uplevel Your Business students.  I’d LOVE for you to help him, too!  In the comments, share with us your business name – and whether or not it “clicks” for you – and if so, how you came up with it!

91 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Bonnie

    I’m having a dilemma.
    I already have a massage business called Massage or Knot, LLC. My intention is to conduct vision board retreats/workshops under the same business because I truly believe taking care of your body takes more than having the muslces soothed; it takes your mind and soul being soothed, too. In actuality, I believe it’s the brain and soul stuff that should be taken care of hand in hand with the human body, because we are both soul/energy as well as the human, physical form.
    So, my dilemma is: conduct these workshops under the same business name? Because honestly, I don’t want to have another email address and web site to deal with! Along with that, I truly and honestly feel it works hand in hand with my bodywork.
    Thoughts? Opinions? Bueller? Bueller?

  • Jacklin Drake

    My business name is Shining With Sparkle! I have had my blog up and running for a few months now. I am in the process of publishing a book and adding will be adding some products to my website soon. It’s all about Shining the Light of Jesus in Everyday Circumstances!

  • Carol

    Oh.My.Goodness!!! Christine you would NOT believe how I’ve AGONIZED over a business name for myself…..I am really good at creating business names for others and I’ve got several dba names since I have MANY passions but creating that ONE name for the “umbrella” has eluded me for the past 2 years. You see, I’ve known for 2 years the business(s) I should be focusing on but…..I allowed not having THE NAME to be my “procrastination” for not getting off my butt and starting (not just dreaming and making endless PLANS)….I kept telling myself “if only and when I come up with THE NAME then I will get serious…..”….Then I read his post and – I freak’ came up with THE NAME!! I love acronyms and when I read about “B.A.B.S. Base Camp” I thought – that’s what I want, an acronym AND a story (they say all brands need a story)….so: inwa studios (pronounced in-way) was born….

  • Carol

    Oh.My.Goodness!!! Christine you would NOT believe how I’ve AGONIZED over a business name for myself…..I am really good at creating business names for others and I’ve got several dba names since I have MANY passions but creating that ONE name for the “umbrella” has eluded me for the past 2 years. You see, I’ve known for 2 years the business(s) I should be focusing on but…..I allowed not having THE NAME to be my “procrastination” for not getting off my butt and starting (not just dreaming and making endless PLANS)….I kept telling myself “if only and when I come up with THE NAME then I will get serious…..”….Then I read his post and – I freak’ came up with THE NAME!! I love acronyms and when I read about “B.A.B.S. Base Camp” I thought – that’s what I want, an acronym AND a story (they say all brands need a story)….so: inwa studios (pronounced in-way) was born….working on writing out my story….this will combine all my passions under one name (including Vision Boarding, which I am taking from you Christine!) Sorry for the length but you have inspired me in so many ways, thank you, thank you!

  • Bonnie Rich

    I am taking the Vision Board Pro class to get clear on how to conduct classes on creating vision boards and teaching group couples massage classes (how to put this together, etc, etc). I want to combine my massage therapy business (which is Massage or Knot) with the new part, the Vision Board gatherings.
    I’m not sure if I should put the VB classes under my massage business (since it’s such a great name), create a DBA under my massage LLC, or if I should be open to the possibilities that I’m not even aware of right now, at this moment in time.
    Well, yes, I do know what I should do: be open to the possibilities.

    Have others combined their Vision Board classes with other aspect of their present business?

    • Christine Kane

      Yes, Bonnie. It’s typically under the umbrella of the other business. Keep it simple and easy on yourself – and don’t make a new business out of this. (Until it totally takes off. 🙂 )

  • Julie Fields

    My mother taught me that if I was going to put my name on something it had to be great. She called me Juliebug. As a nod to her so many years later, I named my new business juliebug, LLC.

  • Barbara Clark

    I am a graphic artist/pet photographer/writer and decided to turn my passion into a full time career three years ago. The name I chose was Hairballs (you never know what we’ll cough up next), not to mention I answer to ‘Hey, Hairball.’ It was taken. Hairball Designs. Also taken. Hairball Designz became the name and Hairballz are my products. Never thought that I’d be answering to ‘Hey, Hairball’ so frequently though. Thank you so much for your advice, webinars and encouragement. It is not easy being a ‘unique snowflake’ in the real world. I finally published my first childrens book for all ages, with more products to follow.

  • Kelly

    I started my business as a personal trainer several years ago as Life Recharged, this was how I felt after coming out of a 17 year abusive marriage and rebuilding myself and my life. But as I added nutrition education and behavior change to my list it took more to explain what Life Recharged was. I am currently in the process of rebranding/renaming to “Muscle & Mindset: helping women transition through life, from one adventure to the next”. Life Recharged is going to become my year long, whole body mastery program. Muscle & Mindset gives a basic idea of what I do without any explanation.

  • CHERYL GNAD

    Yes I do remember beginning my business name search. And I knew that I wanted my business to be formed on the idea of being truly social. It was something I wanted to do for businesses, to be more social and not a pitch platform. And much like what you suggested here in this article, I guess I went through that process. And in my conversation to myself I said “social focus” and I went “oh yes that is what I will be named!” But in the process of researching availability I saw that a business on the East Coast had used that name already. So I changed it up. I added a little personal marker to it. That’s the phrase “by CG” added to it. Today some people still refer to my business as Social Focus and don’t remember the phrase “by CG”, but that’s okay. My name stands out and it reflects my philosophy. And I am still very much an advocate for a social presence; one that makes relationships and not pitches.

  • Fawn

    Hello, I’m sharing with you how I came up with the name for my business.
    I wanted something that would reveal the purpose that my business/ministry would set out to do. You will want to do this with your business… what does your business wish to reveal or draw out of… what is at its root? Start with this… My ministry wants to reveal worship that God has placed within those who are born of His spirit. This ministry teaches then, the biblical methods or Scriptural direction in those whom God is seeking to draw forth worship. Then of course the ministry itself sets forth with various entities that will derives at such. So begin with what your business wants to achieve and you will be better to come up with a name that will represent your business. Blessings to all of you 🙂

  • SHiRL Selah

    Naming Your Business: MY name IS the business name! I legally changed my last name to Selah about 10 years ago knowing I would use it for a business name. The word derives from the Aramaic language. As a counselor I invite people to “hear what is said, pause, reflect, meditate” … then we do “inquiry” … aka”The Work of Byron Katie”. SHiRL Selah, of Selah!, LLC

  • Joanne

    My business is Story Solutions – I teach ‘storytelling’ and writing, and I didn’t need my business name to be clever or a made-up word. I wanted the name to also have that sense of confidence – like I know some tricks – so that’s why ‘solutions’ seemed appropriate.

  • Julie Bestry

    When I first started my professional organizing business 15+ years ago, I brainstormed a handful of names, but kept coming back to the first one I considered: Best Results Organizing. I liked the name because it reflected optimism, an ultimate goal, and included the word describing what I did. But there’s also a “secret” behind it that tickles people when they figure it out.

    I came up with it because I was playing around with variations on my name — my LAST name is Bestry — pronounced like the first two syllables: Best Re…sults Organizing. 😉 The funny thing is that while many prospects and clients get the play on my name immediately upon seeing my site or business card, I’ve had clients and colleagues who know me well all-of-a-sudden realize it when they hear me introduced for a speaking gig. One former president of the National Association of Professional Organizers emailed me a few months ago — and after having known me for 15 years, she was laughing at herself because she’d JUST realized my name was right in my business name. It was like seeing the A-Z in the Amazon logo or the arrow in the FedEx logo for the first time. There’s this little charge of delight upon recognizing it!

    I think the key to whatever business name you pick is that you have to feel confident about using it. For me, it’s the optimistic mood and specificity of what I offer that gives me that confidence. I never thought about creating a name that was scalable or could be sold eventually and be independent of me, but I think I’ve achieved that too.

    I’ve loved reading everyone else’s stories, and hi to Rachel Claret, my colleague!

  • Deanna

    Great article especially for beginning entrepreneurs. My business name Cheerful Cactus Coaching is unusual but perfectly fits what I do, why I do it , and how it represents my business philosophy. One hugely important factor to keep in mind is you are creating a brand, not just a business name. I’m a personal development, business and life coach living in the southwest; I help guide women to live fulfilling lives where they thrive and bloom. My tagline is “Don’t let the pricks in life distract you from achieving your goals and dreams.” My opening page has a poem from Ilan Shamir called “Advice from a Cactus”. It all ties in together and creates the brand. Good luck to those struggling with this issue!

    • Traci

      I really like your business name and tagline. Sharp reminder to refocus or acknowledge the need to refocus.

  • Michelle Belanger

    As for my carpentry business, I saw a poster many years ago for a Jill of all Trades- who did cleaning, yard work, etc. I decided to call myself Jill of Many Trades. As a woman, I don’t feel the need to claim I do everything ;). It’s been a good name. Sometimes people think my name is Jill. Once I had a client present me with a discount coupon (at the end of a job) from a company called Jill of All Trades. Sorry, not me, I said.

  • Michelle Belanger

    I wrote a page on my website about how I came up with the band name Mystery Hillbillies. It began as a joke while camping with some friends. Turned out to be fitting in a number of ways. The first Mystery Spot sprouted up as a roadside attraction around 1940. That is the same time period for the beginning of the music we draw from for our repertoire. We have a lot of songs from the mid 50s through the 60s, which is when the phenomenon spread around the country, in parallel with families taking car vacations. There is one in Boone NC called Mystery Hill- not one of the better ones, I have to say. I went to one in Michigan as a kid called Mystery Ridge. Very Americana. I sure have not seen anyone else use this name. Totally unique. Here’s the story: http://mysteryhillbillies.com/mystery/

  • Traci

    My business name is Pages to Projects. This was inspired by everyone bringing their pages of ideas and research and expecting me to come up with a well drafted project plan. Sometimes it was electronic and sometimes not but I took the pieces and made them whole. I said this name all the time as if it was just something I did. It wasn’t until my husband beat to the punchline and said it before I did and that’s when I realized the name was there all along. So when I teach entrepreneurs and DIY creators how to plan, lead and finish their projects, they are less scattered and fearless and that project plan makes them feel whole.

    Make sense?

  • Joyce

    I’m still in the process of getting my business up and running. I purchased a domain name and I’m working on my website. My full business name is Joyouslivingnow with Dr. Joyce Moses Jones, Integrative Wellness and Life Coach. A shortened version is Joyouslivingnow with Dr. J. Much success to all!

  • Sharon Buck

    Getting tired of so much negativity in the world, I decided to break away from being behind my computer so much and start to mingle with – gasp, shock – real people. Then I started to notice how many people walk around with frowns or stern expressions and as I started to simply smile at them I observed their faces breaking into smiles. I like being kind and nice to others. Be Kind Cards was born. I hand out little cards everywhere I go and it is beyond amazing the wonderful reactions I get from people. My philosophy is very simple: Changing the world with kindness one card at a time. And that’s how BeKindCards.com came about. Yes, I’m out and about a lot now 🙂

  • Amy Kay Watson

    My business is Career Leadership Alignment. It totally resonates with me… 100%. It speaks to me of intehrity, fit, and passion… But I don’t think others get it. And it’s too long (I have to fill out forms by hand sometimes…). I will one day come up with something shorter, but I am okay with this for now.

    I love this post. It reminds me of the movie, “That Thing You Do” and the Oneders (wonders), esp.tbe line, “Hey, that’s Oh-need-ers!”

  • Barbara Gustavson

    Great blog, I too struggled with a business name at first then picked one that connected with me most – Discover Next Step – the singular of “step” was intentional because up until then I was trying to race and figure out all the steps in life and get to the goal. I now wanted to slow down and be more purposeful and focus the step I was one before rushing to the next one. For me, each step I take contains a story that I can learn from and use to create an amazing path for my life and those I’m serving.

  • Jenny

    When I considered what’s important, as part of who I am, as well as what I want my business to represent, the word genuine came to mind. Genuine, as in true, authentic, sincere, legitimate, actual, honest-to-goodness, natural. I changed the spelling because it jives with my name. =) My great grandmother’s name was Ruby Hart. I have fond memories of her sewing and crocheting when I was little.. I think my love of making came from watching her, so I chose to use her name (and a ruby red heart) in my business. (jenuine Ruby)

  • em

    I knew I wanted to ask friends for their ideas to help me expand my reference points, (also in case they actually came up with something good!), but had to get over shyness first – it felt like I was asking for a lot but I finally did it and got some interesting suggestions. After about two days of incubating their suggestions along with my own ideas, a name I loved presented itself and clicked. The dot com was taken by a resale bot, (available at an astronomical price) so I just went with a different extension – one that actually represents my business specifically!

  • Mirjana

    This is all very timely. I was cooking and thought I would look up “how to start a retreat” and found Christine. Lots of great information. I am at that stage of finding a name. I am planning to do a 9 day Soul Rejuvenation retreat in the magical countryside of a 696 year old vineyard region of Croatia. I’m struggling with a short name….Taste of Croatia Soul Retreat, Soul Rejuvenation in Croatia….

    • Carol

      For Mirjana: “Soul Tasting” – nourishing the spirit & body in fabulous settings
      (Like a wine tasting)

  • Ross Saddler

    This is so true! It’s hard to think of a business name. It’s like giving your new born baby a name. It has to be serious.

    Before we started, we brainstormed as many business names we could come up, then remove what we don’t want. It’s challenging to come up with a unique business name that sounds fun, and domain name is available.

    Thanks for putting this article, up. We started few months back and I can still recall the fun process we have gone through coming up with a business name.

  • Cindy Murray

    Wow! What a timely article! I’ve enjoyed reading what others have done to come up with their business names! I have hated my business name for the past 4 years! It was just meant to be a temporary name, a placeholder so that my partner and I could get things started. We spent months and months making lists and checking them against domain availability before we finally just created a sub-domain on my existing craft business that I started with another friend. We called the original business “Crafty Neighbor” because we were making and selling craft items and my partner and I happened to be next-door neighbors. It worked well for what we were doing. Then in 2011, I decided to partner with another friend to open a travel agency. The original purpose was so that we could book crafting cruises without having to use a middle-man. We had been doing them for years, but the travel agents we worked with made us do all the work and they kept all the commissions. After we got started, we realized we could be so much more than just a cruise organizer for scrapbooking events, so we started booking other travel, too. Now the craft cruises are just one small sliver of my business, but I’m still stuck with the name. Not only is it no longer relevant (except that I send out handmade Thank You cards to my clients), but the domain name is too long and confusing, it’s the devil to get people to spell it right over the phone, and it just doesn’t make sense. It is also very irksome that people confuse the two businesses or assume that they are one and the same. I haven’t done anything to change it because it’s just a waste of time that I could use doing other things, and nothing that I have come up with resonates with me. Some day, I think it will, but I’m waiting for the right name to find me, not the other way around. 😉

  • Kim

    This was a great post. It actually helped me to see that my current business name is great. I know I need to make a LOT of adjustments in my website appearance and feel, as well as the “HOW” in offering from my “WHY.” (if that makes sense).

    Anyway, my business name came to me through conversation and listening. I have a very strong connection with what I see to be the beautiful feminine energy rising today to meet and work with the masculine energy so prevalent. I see it as a very necessary element in bringing forth a new experience/culture/vision/future for the world and humanity. I have found the name “Sophia,” which is Greek for Wisdom, to a name that I connect with to represent this rising feminine…so, Sophia Rising became the name, and the tagline became “Preparing the New Paradigm.”

    I was feeling unsure about it, but I think it’s intriguing. I just need to do some work to adjust my materials to draw people in without going too deep too soon. I have tended to write long articles, and focus on courses and coaching going very deep spiritually. This is great for some, but what I see more and more is that for a new paradigm to emerge, these ideas need to reach more people in a simpler way. I’m shifting things to focus on every day practical ways to connect to Sophia and this beautiful feminine energy that wants to meet us!

    Thanks Christine for your inspiration and helping me to see I’m not so far off course after all.

  • Jennifer Kennedy

    Great article. My name is super common, so I couldn’t use that as my website name. So, like you mentioned in the article, I took time to mull the name over and figure out the best name for my business.

    It took a while, but I came up with Teach Good Stuff. And, that’s what I’m all about — helping people teach good stuff.

    I used to be a teacher — and one of my students stood up in the middle of the classroom and shouted, “Ms. Kennedy, you teach us some good stuff.” And, that’s how I came up with my name. It really conveys the essence of what I want to do — help people design the best content courses and ebooks!

  • Amanda

    I remember being on a call 2 years ago and saying to you, “I got it! Handknit Marketing! It’s all about weaving it together.” And you said (something along these lines but more politely), “That’s total crap! You can do better without being so literal. It doesn’t capture the essence. Take off the pressure to find the perfect name right now.” I did. I immediately called to cancel the domain name and got grounded. Then I hit on “Simplify Your Marketing” and it really expresses what I do as a marketing strategist. I help entrepreneurs figure out what marketing works best for them so that they can spend less time hunting for clients and more time serving them. Your business name has to resonate at your core… and, while I don’t often recommend it, you can change it at a later date without the world ending. Thanks for the solid advice.

  • jill goldman

    When I started my voice-over and narration business, I had a hard time coming up with a good business name. I thought that since I wanted to do a little of everything in the VO business, and that I was versatile, I could use the name “Kaleidoscope Vocals” (not even sure I’m spelling it right!) but my voice-over coach didn’t like it, and I was a bit crushed, especially since I’d already had a logo and business cards made!

    But, my voice-over coach encouraged me to try using something in my name, the “GOLD” part of my last name, in my business name. I resisted, since I’m not one to be into precious metals in general, despite my name. I kept trying and trying to think, but came up with nothing. Then one day, my husband, who I don’t consider to be a “creative” sort of person, usually, came up with “GOLDIVOX” – as in, Golden Voice! It has that Goldilocks connection, too, so it sounds kinda cute and evokes warmth and youth and fun. Immediately, I knew it was the right choice for a business name! It was perfect. And my voice-over coach knew right away, too, when I told her – she came up with the tag line, “Just right”, you know, like GOLDILOCKS? So, I went with it.

    I’ve been thrilled with the name ever since! Honestly, people to this day still ask about it, after saying, “That is a great name! Who came up with that?” And I have to tell them my hubby did! I always give him the credit. So, sometimes when you’re playing around with names, allow others to be creative with you, and you might come up with something great. 🙂

    An aside: I did eventually find someone had “stolen” a version of my name, because I only purchased the domain with the spelling GOLDIVOX. Another voice-over person started using “GOLDIEVOX” and I had to deal with that legally. I now own that spelling, and also “GOLDYVOX”, so, if one should misspell it when typing it in to their browser, my site should still come up! Whew!

    Thanks, Christine! See you in a couple of weeks in Atlanta!

  • Carolyn Witt

    I love my business name and it fits me perfectly! I love being the person in the shadows helping you organize the chaos so you can focus on growing your business. Kinda a behind the scenes “secret weapon.” I truly think I watched too many secret agent movies as a child! 🙂 Carolyn @UrSecretWeapon

  • Kate Ostrem

    I am starting an Enneagram coaching business (loved hearing about how you and Jennifer Lee are both 4s, Christine, at last week’s Right Brainers’ Video Summit!) and had been so preoccupied with having a name. I sat down for focused brainstorm sessions, made notes all the time, paid attention to words, etc. When I finally came up with something I liked, there weren’t any domain name options available. Then my mom’s best friend shared her idea: Nine Open Doors. It hit me right in the heart as absolutely perfect! I hardly had to think about it. It just felt right – and was much better than what I had originally come up with. And the domain name was available (website in the works!). Now that I have the name, I’m amazed at how it’s inspired me to take additional steps to creating my business.

  • Jane

    A couple of week’s ago, I had the same issue about naming my business (home care for older people). Wow, every name that I thought was brilliant, someone already had! For SEO purposes I needed “home care” in the title. It was my daughter (and future business partner) who came up with the name. It represents everything about who I am and what I stand for. I was so inspired by the new name of my business, I started a blog about setting up the business! http://everycloudhasasilverliningblog.com/

  • Maureen Carlomagno

    I love this article as well! I found it helpful to journal about what I wanted to offer and what kind of feel I wanted to give to my (future) clients. It was a great way to sort through words and phrases that I matched what was going on in my head. In the end I came up with “Your Wellness Coach” for my health coaching services and have had a lot of great feedback from people. www-your-wellness-coach.com.

  • Jeanne Berry

    One last thing. I’ve also heard what I considered to be the worst business name, especially when the client wanted to secure the domain name exactly as written. It no longer exists, so it’s safe to post here. It was:

    “It’s Your Home-Based Business” (itsyourhomebasedbusiness.com)

    Awful, right? No matter how hard I tried, I could not convince the client to shorten or change it.

  • Jeanne Berry

    Back when I did freelance graphic design, I played off of my last name: “Berry Good Design”. I used a big blueberry for the icon. It’s not all that original, in hindsight.

    Though I have been on hiatus from yarn dyeing for a bit, I still have my Etsy shop with plans to restock over the summer. I kept referring to my artistic fibery efforts as my “yarn endeavors”, so when it came time to name the yarn line and/or business, I merged the two words and came up with:

    Yarndeavors

    Yep, domain name and everything.

  • Shannon Smith

    I decided to make my business name, domain and web site all the same: HSEResource.com. I already bought the domain and built a simple web site (don’t judge- it’s going to be completely revamped after I finish my modules 🙂 The only problem was the period in the name would not be accepted by some tax registration web sites. I just left the period out and it has not caused any tax or filing problems.
    I have since come up with a better name that is more specific to what I do- but I don’t have to change the business name- just file with the tax office as a “doing business as” my new name- HSEMaritime.com. The HSE stands for Health, Safety and Environmental. To those in my field, this is simple and easy to remember.

  • Marcy Heim

    It IS a process. I went from Marcy Heim Consulting – now THAT’S inspiring….
    to The Artful Asker – and now I am considering the slightest of changes to Artful Asking. Christine – I would give anything to be with you in June – still speaking like crazy – just what I want! Thank you!

  • Valri

    This is so timely – and you must be feeling my gut wrenching as I sit down ONE MORE TIME to decide on a biz name. How to decide whether to use my own name or create a nice biz name with a ring to it. Or both? Or is it your products and services that have the nice-name-with-a-ring-to-it? I had a business name that I loved and my husband hates it. I picked a name that he liked and I hated it. Same is true of running the names past friends. What resonates with one doesn’t seem to excite the other. I have been told to use what-you-do in your business name, mostly for SEO purposes, but Apple, Nike, The Gap, et al doesn’t say a blasted thing about what they do. Granted they have multi-million dollar ad budgets and time under their belt. So I ask myself, what do I look for in a name of a business like mine? A bad name is a turn-off for sure (as a coach and healer, all the suggestions I get from friends and family sound like retirement home names to me), but if attached to a great web site and fab services – I’m all for exploring that business and services. A great name makes me say to myself “wish I’d thought of THAT one” and I’m sticking around to explore; an interesting name that has GOT to have a story behind it makes me explore the site to see what the story is; a business using that person’s name helps me remember THAT person and yes, explore the site for more info. And yet I’m still stuck on PICKING something that is JUST RIGHT. Aaaarrrggh. I give myself to the end of the week and just pick one, damn it!

    • Christine Kane

      Valri – It seems that you are WAY up in your head. The problem as i see it is that you are comparing, asking opinions, looking outward… and you need to get quiet enough inside to be able to trust your creative mojo as the owner of your business. Take a deep breath and give yourself space to do this. 🙂

  • Cindy Henexson

    The name of my business is WayMaker Virtual Assistant and I really dig it right now. I *love* supporting women business owners by making a way for them to have more time to do what they love! I enjoy taking care of those things like blogs, scheduling, emails, and other administrative tasks which liberate my clients in the process so “WayMaker” just fits!

  • Reshleman

    My company is all about female empowerment and women-lead adventures, and it’s called B.A.B.S Base Camp, with a subsidiary called B.A.B.S Firearms Training “For Women, By Women”. Here was my process:
    1. I hate to say this, but I had to do a “porn check” to make sure the name I wanted to use (mostly the “BABS” part) did not bring up undesirable content during an internet search. I would recommend this to anyone, as names that seem totally innocuous can actually end up being surprisingly problematic in this regard.

    2. I know that some experts advise against any acronym in a business name, but the “B.A.B.S” part has actually been a great way to attract interest and a sense of inclusion for our clients. People ask all the time what B.A.B.S stands for, and we always say with a smile that they have to go on an adventure with us to find out. People actually respond very well to that, and we ask clients at the beginning of their session with us what they think B.A.B.S stands for, and it ends up being a funny, perfect ice breaker for our group classes. Then, once they know what it stands for, they have a sense of being “in the posse” or the “tribe”etc, you get the idea…

    3. I chose “Base Camp” because my business is in the Pacific NorthWest, and it fits perfectly with the local culture and lifestyle of my ideal client: active, fit, outdoorsy, adventurous women. Base Camp also implies a starting point for a diverse variety of adventures (can you say multi-adventure training packages?) and allowed for expansion into “B.A.B.S Base Camp – Women’s Adventure Center”. The Base Camp name also allows me to provide multiple diverse services under the same name and marketing concept, as I have done with B.A.B.S Firearms Training.

    4. I felt that B.A.B.S Base Camp would lend itself well to marketing images, logos and visuals using popular local areas (like our B.A.B.S badass woman standing atop Oregon’s famous icon Mount Hood) and that colloquial terminology popular with my ideal client base could easily be incorporated into the narrative voice of all written marketing media.

    5. I did a “friend check” and asked trusted friends their opinion by revealing the company name and logo on a pice of paper and watching their genuine immediate reaction – you can tell if someone truly likes the idea instantly, or if they are scrambling to figure out a way to let you down easy when they don’t like it.

    • Wendy Pitts Reeves

      I love all of this – being in a similar business myself – but I love the Friend-Check via paper especially. Smart – and accurate!

  • Karen Lynn

    Thank you so much for you advice on the phone call, Christine!

    (By the way, my Chow/Australian Cattledog cross is a Zoe, too – Zoe the Adorable. Your Zoe looks pretty adorable, too.)

    Appreciatively,
    Karen Lynn

    • Christine Kane

      That’s great Karen! My Zoe is “Zoe-Louise.” And she’s a hoot. 🙂

  • Greta Hillin

    I played around with lots of names before settling on The Knitting Diva. Most of the others fell into that “too clever” category and I was afraid no one would get it. Not everyone was on-board with the name but it has turned out to be a good choice. It resonates with how I want my customers to feel when they are in the shop; like they are someone special and they are all my divas! I was bummed that theknittingdiva.com was taken, but it’s not a long stretch to divasknitting.com. Now I’m on the search again for a business name for coffee shop I want to open because we really need one in the community where the shop is located! I’m open to hearing any suggestions!

  • Karen Lynn

    Very timely for me, too! This is what the question I emailed you for last week’s question was about… and what I’m waiting in queue on today’s phone call for!

    People already find me through my name for my artwork (or if they like my artwork, and want to take classes for me), and they find me through http://www.NapaValleyArtWorkshops.com for my art workshops – and that reaches people who are coming to the area and want to make art. For my online art teaching, I’m debating about LineColorPaintJoy – it was the title of a blog I kept for several years, and I have the domain name. And I love it – it encapsulates what I do.

    But am I nuts for having three separate domains and websites? It seems to me that it is the best way to go – though it may be a bit to manage…. I hope to talk to you on the phone today, Christine!

    • Christine Kane

      Glad we got to chat about this on the Q&A call today Karen!

  • Frauke Moebius

    I went the lame way and chose my name. My German business name is “EFT Praxis Frauke Möbius”, but I came up with a cute url for that – http://www.klopfen-in-kiel.de which is a nice alliteration for the German word for tapping, plus the town where I live. I constantly come up in second or third place on google when people look for EFT and Kiel. First place is a plumbing company that is called EFT for some reason. ( I could call trademark on them, because I know the holder of the EFT trademark for Germany, but I don’t really want to.)

    Since I am not allowed to do therapy long distance, I called my English site simply Moebius Coaching. (I do have a great Moebius Loop banner on that website.) Then my focus changed to combine my two huge passions in life, and I created Writers’ Dream Coach, which is also the name of the website. I’ll see where that takes me.

    • Wendy Pitts Reeves

      A perfect example of the evolution of a business – and an entrepreneur! 🙂

  • Kari

    This is just what I needed, Christine! Thanks! I’m in the process of revamping my business focus, web site, packages, etc., and I keep getting stuck on the name. What I have “sorta worked” for what I was doing, but I picked it in a rush. I’ll slow down this time and play with it a bit more. THANKS!

  • Lisa

    I have been trying for months now to come up with a name for my women’s t-shirt line. I have names in my head that I like but because they sound cute and/or catchy but I get stuck on choosing anything when I hear people say that your business name should say what you DO. Argh!!

    • Randi

      Lisa,

      Did you ever come up with a name? If not, I’d love to find out more about your business concept, so I may offer some suggestions.

      Best wishes-Randi

    • Julie Bestry

      Lisa, is there a reason you couldn’t use the great name you’ve come up with and combine it with a descriptive? I’m imagining your logo with the name in a gorgeous font followed immediately like a more solid descriptor, like: BippityBobbity Attire. The name would stand out and be cute, like a woman in a gorgeous dress, and the descriptor (Attire), following but in a serious (but color coded) adjacent font, is like her date, an accountant in a standard tuxedo.

      😉 Good luck with whatever you pick!

  • Phillis Benson

    Love the article – and I did almost the same thing….

    I can up with Virtual Partner for my business as I am YOUR partner with your online business … a blend of Techie and People … perfect fit for my clients and my life! I was able to combine my technology skills with my life coaching … so now my clients get much much more ….

    Virtual Partner … Co-creating Your Business Dreams
    Creative :: Purposeful :: Innovative

  • Evie Burke

    I wanted to start a blog – something to help others gain insights to themselves by sharing some of my insights.

    I played around with a lot of words – just sat and wrote down all the words I could think of that described what I wanted to do or just felt right. After about a week or so I had about three good contenders (I don’t remember the others), but One Insight Closer was what really stuck out.

    About 6 months later I was creating a business and the name just fit perfectly. Even with a change in my business focus later – the name still fits.

    One Insight Closer just fits me and my business as things evolve.

  • Cora Rennie

    Thank you for this Christine! I’m wondering what your thoughts are on using your personal name for your business? That’s what I ended up doing back in 2008 when I started up my practice. I “defaulted” to my own name when all the other “good” names I could think of were taken. It turned out to be a very good choice for me, because as we all know, being in business (just like being a parent) is a way to super-charge your own healing journey. So much has happened for me internally that my whole idea of entrepreneurship, and myself as a healer/practitioner has changed very drastically, yet through all of those evolutions, there was no need for me to continue changing my business name/domain name to keep up.

    • Wendy Wolfe

      I would also like to know your take on this Christine. I’ve used my name (and the url) for 12 years. What do you think?

    • Christine Kane

      Cora – (And Wendy) I think it’s fine to do this. My experience of having been a performer and songwriter is that I couldn’t let go of my own name and just one day STOP being me – as all of my work/blog/list had been grown on my name. So, when Uplevel YOU was created, I’ve just been slowly moving toward that being more and more the focus. Still, I’m not in a rush. I think it’s fine to use your name. But I do think it could cause some unique challenges if you ever want to scale your business in any meaningful way. Does that help?

  • Kajal Dhabalia

    I went through many months of playing with my business name….making lists of how I would describe my biz, what one word could bring together yoga, food and art…and one day I came up with Wholesome Soul—yoga inspired food and art. Just last week I was thinking of changing the tag line…so now sitting with that…

    It is definitely an evolving process!

    • Sue

      My two cents is:
      Wholesome Soul: bringing together yoga, food and art

      Just a thought… 🙂

  • Desiree

    I am struggling with this too, trying to come up with a new name for a different aspect of my business. It’s hard enough coming up with a name that represents and isn’t cheesy but then when you think you have it, the domain isn’t available! This article helped me rethink some possibilities. Back to the drawing board

  • Christa Hein

    My business name is Bring the Farm to You – and I LOVE IT! It came out of an email I sent to a stranger in another state who did something similar to what I wanted to do. I asked her how she got started and remarkably she wrote back. In our conversation she clarified what she was hearing from me and said it sounded like I wanted to bring the farm to people, so how about Bring the Farm to You. Genius! It took an outsider to see what I couldn’t because I was too close. The name is simple – says exactly what I do – and I love that it has a call to action right in the name! It turned into a beautiful logo of a traveling barn that now adorns my trailer. And I love that I can also metaphorically Bring the Farm to You through my eZine or other value I put online. It’s inspired me so much (and my business has grown so well) that I’m now working on a name for the module-type program I’m creating to teach others how to build their own outreach education business! So this article came at a great time! Thanks for the continued inspiration Christine!

    • Christine Kane

      Perfect Christa! Often the best ideas come because we are LISTENING to ourselves work and communicate!

  • Deborah Bollman

    Super post! I actually changed my studio/business name this year. I’m so drawn to light. I paint it and it is a spiritual concept to me. I, also, have a thing for all things italian. I originally was going to call my studio Bella Vita Studio which means “A Beautiful Life” in Italian and Vita is my mother’s name. I ultimately went with La Bella Luce Studio which means Beautiful Light.

    • Martha

      I love that name.. beautiful.

  • Krista

    Timing is everything! Did you watch “Silicon Valley” on HBO last week? It was all about the founder fervently defending the name of his business “Pied Piper” because it’s a Fairey tale and everyone else telling him very rudely it’s a horrible name. There’s even a VisionQuest involved to find the perfect business name!

    • Christine Kane

      Didn’t see it Krista – but it sounds pretty funny. 🙂

  • Julie Ray

    As usual, your articles are so timely … it’s like you’re inside my head 🙂

    I have been struggling with finding a name for my website for weeks, and today when I opened your email and saw “How To Name Your Business” I had to laugh out loud. Thank you for the guidance and suggestions, I will give myself permission to continue playing with names … and I’ll work on my five core philosophies. An added note: until today, I have been reading your articles and blogs and getting a huge amount of inspiration from them, despite the fact that I kept thinking “but I don’t have a business.” I’ve always considered myself deficient in business, not cut out to be a business woman, so therefore my dream of a website for women couldn’t be considered a “business.” Today is the first day I’ve identified with that term and realized I need to embrace it. Thank you Christine for empowering me today!

  • Rachel Claret

    I came up with the word ORGANIZEN almost two years before I finally decided to use it. (dismissed it the first time around).

    • Christine Kane

      Great Rachel! Are you using it now? URL and all?

      • Rachel

        Actually, I finally released the name to the Universe (after holding onto it long past the time I was using it). I trust that if I invented that one, when I’m ready, I will be able to do it again. ☺

        • Rachel

          Oh, I do still have the URL, but I’m open to selling it to the right person…

    • Alle L’Eveille

      Cool name, Rachel! I love it! Naming is part of my business services. I love to see someone come up with a great name like that!

      • Rachel

        Thanks. I definitely did what Christine is recommending…. I played with it a lot and made lots of lists and made up a lot if words…

  • Markus

    Hello,

    Great article. I was looking for a name and playing with many things. Then one day I realized how many of my subjects ask me to “Please Hypnotize Me!”. They do it when they want it, they do it when they see me hypnotize others and they do it when it’s over, as in “Please Hypnotize Me Again”.

    Then it just totally made sense. Now I won’t hypnotize anyone unless they ask, using those words!

    I just got the domain and only have a placeholder up for now, but am working hard at getting my products completed, etc…

    This is the first public place I have put the name.

    All the best.

    Markus

    • Christine Kane

      Well thanks for trusting this tribe of Uplevelers with your first “reveal,” Markus! Awesome!

    • Krista Steele

      As a response to Markus for name suggestions for his hypnosis business: Inner Wisdom Access
      or Inner Wisdom or Inner Voice or Inner Voice Access – this empowers people searching for solutions – knowing they need assistance accessing their inner Voice – you can help them access it- it suggests a partnership in getting there- they know they may have the solutions within, but need expertise in getting to the solutions.

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