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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Watch paint dry

When it comes to original descriptions, the paint companies have it down to a fine art. Naming 50 shades of grey, or 1000 shades of white, must surely be the ultimate accomplishment.

Indigo Flame, Hague Blue, Lighthouse Welcome… Why not scan through some names and write down words that appeal? Some websites to play on include:

You can also get a head start on brand colours.

4. Northern Lights

Other languages can be an inspiration. Icelandic has lots of consonants that may trigger some thoughts.

5. Ronseal or creative?

The Ronseal route of “doing exactly what it says on the tin” can be great. Just 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.

I went the more creative route of Ink Gardener. It’s been a double-edged sword.

As a completely original business name I could nab most social media accounts and website addresses. Explaining what I do in terms of gardening has been a real winner. Not many people know 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…

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. If I had a pound for every Gardner or Gardeneer, I’d be quids in.

6. 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:

bstreamlined-business-name-example

She is one smart cookie.

7. 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, Instagram maybe even Pinterest? 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.

Good luck!

About the author

Helen Reynolds is an experienced UK web content writer, helping organisations from holiday cottages to cathedrals. Find out more about her packages at Ink Gardener services.