1.1 Naming my business
Another important aspect of differentiating your business is coming up with an effective name. In many cases, growing your freelance business is closely linked to your personal reputation, so networking and using previous projects to generate interest is crucial. Because of that, many freelancers use their own name as the business name.
However, there will be some business ideas where your own name won’t mean anything to the customers you want to attract. In those cases, the right brand name can play a valuable part in promoting what you have to offer.
The Design Trust (no date) offers five practical steps to help you name your creative business shown in Box 1.
Box 1 How to name a creative business
Step 1 What are your vision, values and passions?
Your business name should reflect those things.
Step 2 Does your business name reflect you and your niche market?
Your business name should reflect who you are and who your ideal customers or collaborators are.
Step 3 Get more inspiration
Brainstorm (preferably with others) names based around your values, vision, specialism and ideal clients and look at the names your competitors use. What works? What doesn’t?
Try using visual images to create a collage or mood board that reflects your business. Using different parts of your brain in this way can lead to inspiration when you feel stuck.
Step 4 Reality check
Practical questions should include:
- is the name easy to spell (and say)? Also what acronym does it produce?
- is it easy to remember?
- how does it translate into different languages?
Step 5 Make your business name legal
To make sure you aren’t planning to use the same name as someone else, there are some useful places to check whether someone else has already registered it. There isn’t a central register for sole trader names, but you can ‘company name availability checker’ (Remember, to ensure you don’t lose your place in this course you should open these links in a new browser window or tab. To do this on a computer hold the Ctrl key (or Cmd on a Mac) when you click a link and select to open it in a new window or tab).and use the Companies House
Once you know that you can use the name you’ve chosen, you may need to register with HMRC or Companies House (if you’re forming a limited company). You’ll find out more about that in Week 7.
After you’ve gone through the Design Trust’s five step process, you might still feel that your own name will have more meaning for potential customers or collaborators than something more abstract. In some cases, you might even want to trade mark your own name (as long as it is available!) so that you can ensure exclusive use.
Once you’ve got a USP, the right business name and a strong sense of who you plan to target, it’s time to start getting your idea out there.