If you’re thinking about starting a business or renaming yours, here are some pointers about original business names. Including what I’ve learnt as Ink Gardener.

Take your time

Cut the carp - my rejected business nameA business name is like a tattoo. Hopefully you’re going to have it for a long time so don’t rush.

Initially I was going to call my copywriting business ‘Cut The Carp’. But then I started thinking it sounded a little negative. I was going to offer more than editing. And the idea of a fish as my business identity was less than appealing.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Haven’t a clue? Take a look at magazine ads or browse the web, and not just your competitors. Collected some business cards? See what stands out. Then write down the names that appeal to you. You’ll soon see a pattern.

Really struggling?

Other languages can be an inspiration. Icelandic has lots of consonants that may get you thinking…

Ronseal or creative?

The Ronseal route of “doing exactly what it says on the tin” can be great. If you have a distinctive first and second name, it can be ideal if you offer a service. However make sure you add a description of what you do – so for example Olivia Brabbs Photography. Sadly there are too many Helen Reynoldses in this world for that to be an option for me.

I went the more creative route of Ink Gardener which has been a double-edged sword. As a completely original business name I could nab most social media accounts and website addresses.

However at events people assumed I was a gardener so I’ve taken to adding Copywriting at the end of my business name. Also I had no idea that people find Gardener so hard to spell. Variations have included Gardner and Gardeneer.

But explaining what I do in terms of gardening has been a real winner. My ideal customer is often unaware of what ‘copywriting’ is. But they’re intrigued by the name and it’s a good conversation opener.

It also gives me scope to expand. Ink Gardener’s Question Time? Ink Gardener’s World? The possibilities are endless…

Talk it through

After giving a talk about Twitter, I was discussing something with LEAN business consultant Laura Cotter. At that point she was from Business Streamlined Ltd. As I scribbled ‘@bs’ on the whiteboard, we both burst out laughing. BS are not the best initials!

The following week Laura sent me this on LinkedIn:


She is one smart cookie.

Cover all the bases

Come up with the bestus of the best original business names? Great. Now you need to check it’s available. In days gone by you’d have a shop sign, maybe a business card and an ad in the Yellow Pages. In the 21st century the name needs to work online too.

Has it been taken on the web?

Of course you can type ‘www.yourawesomebiz.co.uk’ into your internet address bar and see if it’s been taken. But I recommend searching the neutral Whois lookup site which lists what might be coming up for grabs soon. You can use URL sign-up places, but it has been known that when you return to buy it, the price goes up or it’s been nabbed by someone else.

I would also check out buying the ‘.com’ address as well as ‘.co.uk’. You don’t want people clicking through to your doppleganger in Texas. There’s more about URLs on my article three questions you must ask your web designer.

Is it still free on social media?

Will the name work on Facebook, Twitter maybe even Pinterest and Instagram? You don’t have to sign up to search. For Twitter, type in www.twitter.com and then the name such as www.twitter.com/inkgardener . Or use the search in the top right-hand corner of my Twitter page.

Consistency isn’t vital but try to at least have one relevant core word. For example for my client Caroline from Pet Education and Training we settled on the Twitter account ‘petexpertUK’.

Is it legal?

Check out Start Up Donut’s excellent article Choosing a business name FAQs for what else you need to be aware of.

Need a fresh pair of eyes?

If you’re stuck for inspiration, I’d be happy to help. I’m also here to sort out your web content and navigation. Please get in touch.