Are you agonising over a name for your business venture?
It’s another year, and another rethink for my business.
I’ve been mentoring startups for almost 10 years, and even though I’ve had a writing support niche, it’s been the mentoring that has consistently provided the lion’s share of my income.
I freelance as a Business Mentor for various enterprise agencies and projects, some of which I’ve listed in the directory of free business support blog I wrote a while ago.
However I spin it, everything I do is because I love working with micro-businesses and entrepreneurial folks who are creating a job for themselves.
So, What Am I?
I had a lightbulb moment.
I was having a conversation a friend when I remarked that I am such a slow reader that I don’t read as many books as I’d like, and the response was, “but you’re a writer, I’m surprised you don’t read more.”
A voice, deep inside me somewhere, cried out, “I’m not a writer”.
That was a real epiphany for me. I realised that, yes, I write, yes, I’ve authored books, and (evidently) I blog – but I’m not ‘a writer’.
It set me thinking, “then what am I?”
A State Of Flux
When it comes to running your own business it never will be ‘finished’. In fact, the moment you can sit back and say, “this business is finished”, when it’s your business, what you are really saying is “I’m finished with this business.” At which point, you should move on!
Businesses should evolve, develop, flex and adapt over time, because that’s what happens to the people who run them.
How My Business Is Changing
As my business shifts away from the focus on writing, and more towards sustainability (in both senses of the word) I need to decide what to call myself.
In my quest to find some tools to decide on my new business name, I found this useful video with 5 steps to come up with a blog name – but it is equally appropriate for a business name.
It’s a similar process to what I recommend to start-ups I mentor but it’s useful to see it as a video tutorial.
I’ve adapted the five steps shared in this video slightly. Even though I’m not ‘a writer’ I still have a fondness for words, so having a word bank appeals to me on many levels, regardless of what I use it for!
Step 1: Keywords
I like the old school method of big pieces of paper. Brain dumping words onto a physical piece of paper with a pen engages the creative parts of your brain more than using a digital interface does so I recommend capturing the words on a big bit of paper, back of some old wallpaper, a sketchpad, flipchart or white board – whatever you have.
Key word in this context are the words you would use to describe what you do. In the context of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) these are also the words someone may type into Google to find you.
I’ve started with the usual words people may use such as , startup, enterprise, business etc.
Step 2: Descriptive words
I’ve switched this step from the video because step 3 is a useful tool for all of the words you come up with.
These are adjectives, nouns or verbs associated with the keywords. I’ve started with sustainable, eco, green, growing etc.
Step 3: Your Word Bank – Thesaurus
Plug your words into Thesaurus.com: Synonyms and Antonyms of Words | Thesaurus.com
You can see in this example I’ve put in the word ‘business’.
I am also looking at my Vision Boards for word ideas.
You could even build your word bank as part of this vision building process by finding words and phrases in magazines that appeal to you.
Start a document and type in the words you’ve brain dumped, words from your thesaurus search and words from your cuttings
Step 4: Mix ‘n Match
Experiment with different combinations of words, cutting and pasting and shuffling them around on the screen. You can even go old school and write the words on PostIt notes and mix them around.
Step 5: Check the Contenders
When you’ve found few combinations that appeal to you, step away for a while and do something else. This will allow you to reset your brain and come back to this with fresh eyes. You may find when you walk away and think and reflect on it, you’ll have been ruminating on a couple of work combinations in particular.
Go back to the list and pick a few (3 or 4 options) then check them.
Google the combinations to see if someone already has the domain name or the name is registered as a company already. If it’s already taken you may wish to rethink it. You wouldn’t want to either be mistaken for another business or worse still, be threatened with legal action by another business for using ‘their name’.
Once you have settled on a final couple of contenders, ask other people for their input. Ask friends, family, you could even put a poll on your Social Media channels. It’s easy to get stuck in our own head when we work for ourselves. It’s worth bouncing your ideas off other people, you never know, they may give you a better idea.
Saying things out loud is powerful.
Does it sound right?
Does it feel right?
How do other people react?
There was one quote from this video that resonated… “break out of normal patterns of speech.”
This is a timely reminder for me. We all have a tendency to use the same words a lot in our own personal vocabulary.
I’ve noticed I say ‘does that make sense’ a lot when training and coaching
I also overuse the word ‘interesting’.
I want to evoke a sense of sustainability, green, eco, and also enterprise but want to avoid these overused words – for a start, it’s hard to find a name that someone hasn’t already registered by using such words. It also sounds so samey. I hate jargon. I want a more ‘interesting’ name. It’s a work in progress…
I’m still at steps 1 and 2 with my new business name!