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Choosing a Business Name

Starting a business is a journey. Perhaps a catalytic event spurred you on your way, or your desire to make your passion a business kept you awake one too many nights. These moments kickstart your story in business. It’s this story that will shape the essence of your brand. Your brand strategy is built on this foundation, and in turn, your business name should reinforce this brand strategy.

Choosing a name for your business is not something to undertake lightly. Finding the right name is a rigorous process which requires a great deal of creativity, strategy and testing. Often, the name you want won’t be available due to legal reasons. Due to the nature of the process, it’s advisable to enlist the help of both a naming/branding professional and an IP attorney. The right name can make a huge difference for your brand: it should not be rushed or skimped on.

What are the qualities of an effective name?

Ideally, your business name will be a clear metaphor, or reinforce the story behind your business. Your distinctive, meaningful name should appeal to your audience – not just you. The meaning behind your business name should be accessible. Consider the visual aspect of your name. Will it come to life in a logo and through your visual identity?

From a practical standpoint, ensure the name is future-proof and scalable. As your brand grows, you need to allow for brand extensions. Don’t confuse your audience with complex pronunciations or lengthy names. A tagline may help to clarify the meaning behind your name.

Finally, is the name able to be protected? Can it be trademarked? URLs, social media handles need to be available before you move forward.

Types of names


A classic, personable approach. Speaks of the people behind the brand, humanises your business, e.g Ralph Lauren, Procter & Gamble.


Offers your audience a universal understanding of what your business represents. Presents great creative opportunities to build brand awareness, e.g Nike, Patagonia.


Straightforward, to the point, leaves no question unanswered: you are what you are, e.g E*Trade, Toys R Us.


Always a classic choice for technology based or industrial businesses. Immediately conjures up the impression of expertise, e.g IBM, GE.


When done well, fabricated names can be the most memorable. Your brand immediately personifies its unique personality, making you stand out from the pack, e.g Kodak, xerox.


To begin the naming process, word association exercises, mind maps, and thesaurus exploration can be helpful. You may favour a particular name, but as we’ve mentioned, there’s a chance you won’t be able to use it. Create a strong shortlist from your extensive exploration and put it to the test. Which names resonate best with your audience? Does it fit well into your industry, while remaining unique? Ensure the name can be registered with ASIC. Follow up with your IP attorney to ensure the name can be trademarked and that it is not infringing on other trademarks. Make sure the URL is available to you.

Once these crucial steps have been checked off, you will be able to choose the most effective, meaningful name for your new business.

If you need some help finding the perfect name for your new business, drop us a line at