If you’re overwhelmed by how to choose your business name for your creative business, then you’re in the right place. Choosing your business name can feel like a real challenge. It can feel like there is so much weight and pressure on this one choice. It can also feel like the name of your business will make or break your brand.
But that’s not true. While your business name *does* matter, it’s not the most important aspect of your business. And getting stuck on choosing your biz name should definitely not be a reason to not start your creative biz.
Let’s reduce the overwhelm and walk through three simple steps to choose a name for your creative biz that feels aligned, authentic, and totally you.
Step 1: Brainstorm a List of Ideas to Choose Your Business Name
First, let’s brainstorm a list of possibilities to get started on choosing your creative biz name.
Brain dump Your Ideas
Part of the overwhelm of choosing a business name can be the sheer number of possibilities. To minimize this overwhelm, first brain dump all of your ideas on paper. Grab a sheet of paper, a pen, a cup of coffee, and set a timer for 10 minutes.
Write down any and every idea that you have for your creative business name. These ideas could be as simple as your name, directly related to what you offer, or something totally tangential.
In this phase, don’t filter or judge your ideas. The goal here is to empty your brain of ideas onto your paper. Dump all of your options freely without hesitation. We’ll narrow down your options in the next step.
Mindmap Your Ideas
Another option to brainstorm your creative biz name ideas is to create a mindmap. If you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed by where to begin, begin with one name idea.
Write that name idea in the middle of a sheet of paper and draw a circle around it. Then, free-associate related names, ideas, or words that relate to your central name. Draw lines off of this center word that connects to these related words, names, or ideas.
For example, if your name idea is “Crescent Moon Designs,” here is what your mindmap could look like:
Again, don’t filter or judge. This exercise is about idea-generation which happens fully when we release judgment and allow for flow.
Step 2: Think About the Feeling You Want to Convey
Now that you’ve brainstormed a list of possible creative business names, it’s time to whittle it down.
To do this, think beyond your business name being literal and consider the feeling you want your biz name to convey to your audience.
For example, Allbirds is a shoe company. Their business name does not tell you that, but it does contain “birds” which conveys the sense of flying.
The feeling of flying feels light and full of freedom, lightness, and expansion. Allbirds focuses on creating comfortable and sustainable shoes with a brand promise of “thoughtful comfort.” Their biz name conveys the feeling and promise of comfort that they want their shoes to give you as the customer.
So, what do you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand and buy from you? Make a list of those feelings.
Then, look at your brainstormed list of creative biz names and circle the names that convey those feelings.
Once you’ve done this, make a new, short-list of the circled names.
The Benefit of a Non-Literal Business Name:
Direct and literal names for your creative business can both work.
However, one of the benefits of going the non-literal route and focusing on the feeling when choosing your biz name is that it can leave room for expansion and growth over time without being boxed into a super specific niche.
For example, I started my business by selling prints of my artwork inspired by plants and food. That’s why I named my creative business Prints & Plants. That name is very specific and made total sense at the time, but now I’m looking to shift the name of my business because I’ve grown, evolved, and pivoted. I now desire a name that is less specific and allows for organic growth to happen.
Try on Your Business Name Options
Once you have your short-list of possible names for you creative business, try each one on.
Sit with each option and notice how it feels to you.
- Which one feels aligned?
- Which one makes you feel excited?
- Which one feels authentic and natural?
Lean into the option that feels the best to you and try it on for a few days. Practice saying it out loud and sharing it with other people to see how it feels.
Then, decide on the option that feels the best for you and your biz.
Step 3: Check that Your Creative Biz Name is Available
Once you’ve picked your creative biz name, it’s time to make sure it’s available.
You’ll want to do this on a state and national level. To check if your name is available in your state, you’ll need to go through your local state guidelines for registering. To check if your name is available nationally for trademarking you can go to USPTO.
For more details and information on registering your creative business name you can visit this SBA article.
The main thing is to not let this step of choosing your creative biz name prevent you from starting your biz at all. Be thoughtful and intentional about choosing a name, and then move forward. Don’t use let overwhelm, overthinking, or the fear of “getting it wrong” stop you from starting your biz.
Even though your creative business name may feel like the end-all-be-all in the moment, it’s just one component of your overall brand.
Download the free Creative Biz Checklist
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the steps to start your creative biz, download my free Creative Biz Checklist here to minimize the overwhelm and make forward traction on your dream. And for more tips on overcoming overwhelm in your creative biz, check out this article.
Let me know in the comments what name you choose for your creative biz!