How to Name Your Business


Gosh. This is a tough one and it seems this question has come up a few times this last month. So let’s taco ’bout it!”How do I name my business?”It’s a short question, but it’s a deep one. It’s a question that comes with vulnerability for many reasons. 1. It shows you’re starting a business and/or renaming¬† a business. 2. You’re opening yourself up for success, but you’re also opening yourself up for failure. 3. You don’t want to be made fun of. I feel like those last two are probably the biggest things that hold people back from starting a business let alone taking control of it and owning it.My two businesses are ArtByCarly and CK Design. When I first started ArtByCarly 10 years ago, it took me moooonnnnths to decide on it. ArtbyCarly was actually a name that my mom came up with, which to be honest kinda made me hate it more. I’m not sure why, but I hated it. I liked the fact that it goes with ABC, it’s at the top of the alphabet and it’s literal. It’s literally art, by me (my name is Carly, in case you didn’t know already). So, rather than sitting on it much longer I just went with it. I went through 3 logo changes and I’m about to go through a 4th one hopefully by the end of 2019 with a refocus on my market/niche. But I digress.For CK Design… I was trying to come up with something super creative and cheesy. Subliminal but literal and I was also trying to create something that matched my ArtByCarly logo so it was a little bit of an easier transition not only for my stress levels and anxiety, but also for my followers. When I created my logo for ArtByCarly, I tucked the C in the B and the B in the A. It’s a triangle that holds all the big letters in my name and works great as a stand alone logo mark. It’s one of my favorite logos I’ve created. For CK Design, I wanted to focus on branding but keep it tied to me and who I am. I really liked the idea of creative key. Ironically enough, my initials are now CK. Hence CK Design. Carly Kewley Design and Creative Key Design. It’s all in a box with my initials tucked in, very similar to my ArtByCarly logo and I kept my fonts similar so it was a much easier transition.So what was my process for naming CK Design? Word lists. I sat down and forced myself to write down every single word that I wanted associated with my business. Creative, design, branding, photography, clarity, growth, building etc. I kept going back to the short phrase creative key and I loved it but I wasn’t sold on it yet for a name, so I married it with CK design. I know the marriage between the two and it helped me build my logo and my brand around that concept. I also know that this is a baby yet. I’m only a year into this new brand and there’s a good chance that it’s going to go through some growth spurts and quite possibly a name change. I’m okay with that and you should be too. Is it terrifying? YUP. It’s absolutely terrifying. But it also signifies growth and it and really help you focus like a laser beam on who your audience is and how you want to serve them.Write down words that you want to describe your brand and your business. Play with connecting those words. Envision what your brand is going to feel like and go from there. I want to leave you with a few ideas for business categories to help get you started:

  1. Alliteration names. Examples are Best Buy, Coca-Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts, PayPal.

  2. Literal or Descriptive. General Motors, Toys R Us, Groupon (coupon and group… super clever IMO.)

  3. Abbreviation. H&M (Hennes & Mauritz), LG (Lucky Goldstar), IBM (International Business Machines), UPS

  4. Founder Names. Gucci, Ford, McDonalds, Disney, J.P. Morgan, Johnson & Johnson

  5. Evocative or Metaphore. Apple, Nike, Amazon, Virgin, Patagonia

  6. Invented. Koda, Xerox, Exxon, Pantone, Sony.

Think of nouns, adjectives and verbs when writing your list. Don’t feel like it has to be literal, don’t feel like it has to be abstract and don’t feel pressured into inventing a whole new name. Think on it but do not get stuck in perfection. Perfection, simply put, is just a disguise for procrastination. Think of your ideal customer, the experience you want to provide, the personality behind your business (your brand) and whether or not you can feel confident with it. If you’re not confident in your name, it’s going to show.Most of all, be kind to yourself and have fun!

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