How I chose my business name

What's in a name? Quite a bit actually. Choosing an identity for your new business, project or event can be really tricky, not to mention time consuming.

A few people have asked me how I decided on my own business name, so I thought I'd share the process with you here. 

Once I had decided to become a freelancer, the obvious choice might have been my name. It's fairly unique so if you Google me then I mostly monopolise the first page of the results. However, I knew that it was likely I'd be involved with other (quite different) side projects, so I didn't want my name to only be synonymous with this element of my work. 

I therefore decided that I would need a separate name to represent this particular freelance venture. But how to choose? When I first started my business, my focus wasn't actually on Squarespace websites specifically. My main aim was to help people discover online tools that could make their lives easier, saving them time and money. In fact, my initial tagline was "We match existing technology platforms to your business needs" (that was when I was being all corporate and talking about myself as "we" before realising I wanted to be more transparent). 

With this in mind, I set about brainstorming name ideas.

The successful candidate would have to meet a number of criteria including:

  • An available .com or .co.uk domain name
  • An available Twitter handle
  • No obvious competition in search engine results

I actually wasn't too bothered about the name explaining what my work was. After all, what's a Google? There are quite a lot of abstract business names out there, so I thought about ideas that still had a personal connection for me, such as "Purple Elephant" based on a picture that used to hang in my bedroom as a child. I also had a play around with the Hipster Business Name Generator tool which is fun, but probably more aimed at shops or cafés. 

I then began to think about what I wanted to achieve and why.

I came up with a number of responses to this including: 

  • Share online tools
  • Save time and money
  • Help small businesses
  • Make life easier
  • Match technology options to business needs
  • Online tools consultancy
  • Take advantage of what's out there already
  • Don't reinvent the wheel
  • Spare people from horrible clunky tools

Of all these, I felt that "Don't reinvent the wheel" was the concept that most summarised my philosophy and approach, and it was also (thankfully) broad enough if I wanted to slightly change my business offering. However, I had read somewhere that you shouldn't use a negative phrase as your business name, plus it was quite a long and unwieldy phrase. I then thought about how I could turn it around to make it positive, and The Wheel Exists was born. It was available on Twitter, there was a domain name free, and to my surprise, not much came up on search engines when typing it in. In fact, if you Google "The Wheel Exists" then I take up all of the first page. 

By the way, if you've only just gone "Ohhhhhh that's what it means" then don't worry, you aren't the only one! That is probably the main flaw in the name which is why I also have a version of my logo with "Don't reinvent it" underneath. I reckon about half of the people I meet "get it" straight away and the other half need an explanation! 

How did you choose your business names? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @thewheelexists.