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How to choose a business name: 3 top simple strategies and what I did

Choosing the right business name is not an easy job and definitely not a decision to be rushed. I’m going to share with you my top three strategies for choosing the right name for your business and I will also reveal which strategy I used and my reasons behind it….read on!

Choosing a business name by Penelope Hope

At some stage or other in your life so far, you’ve probably had to choose a name for something or someone. Perhaps it was for a house, a pet, a child or maybe a business? I am pretty sure that you found it quite tough, am I right? You just really don’t want to get it wrong, as either you or someone has to live with that name for a long time to come. (PRESSURE!!!)

Even picking a beautiful foreign sounding house name can backfire on you when every time you try and order something over the phone you have to spell it out yet your post still arrives spelt incorrectly! Frustrating, huh?! I’ve been there before.

We decided to name our house after one of our favourite places we discovered whilst travelling, two were on the shortlist Whitehaven (Whitsunday Islands) and Franschhoek (South Africa) and yes for this reason alone we opted for the former for ease of spelling and to ensure our post didn’t get lost!

When it comes to naming your own child a lot of time and energy is spent finding that perfect name that you will continue to love as the years go by and that will grow with your child as they turn from cute baby, to toddler, to rascal, to teenager and on to become an adult. (think boardroom to bedroom! wink)

If you’ve got more than one child then not only does it have to work with the surname but also fit alongside other siblings names. (oh man!) There is so much to consider. I have three children and yes, I spent many an evening reading through baby name books and googling their meanings! I’d say the effort paid off, as I still love the names Mr N and I chose for our kids… let’s hope we still do in years to come! (Don’t want to think about ‘bedroom’ quite yet!!)

Choosing the right name for your business

Now, the difficulty of choosing the right name for your business is really no different. You have to live with it for a long time to come, it needs to be able to grow with your company, it needs to be memorable and most importantly it has to appeal to your target audience.

After a spot of research on advice for picking a business name there are three common strategies to consider…

  1. Choose a name that clearly identifies the product or service you are offering
  2. Name it after yourself
  3. Pick something that might seem quite random initially but is either very memorable (e.g Apple, Amazon, Nike etc), has a personal meaning or a background story that will connect with your target audience.

How to choose a business name by Penelope Hope

That is my attempt at summarising and simplifying a lot of articles and blog posts I have read on the subject, there are obviously so many other things to also consider when picking a name for your future business such as whether the name has already been used by someone else (be careful and do your research!) is the name available as a web domain, could it mean something entirely different in another language? Take your time, do your research and get brainstorming!


My Eureka moment…

It was during my pregnancy for ‘numero 3’ that I was in the midst of setting up Penelope Hope, my homeware brand. So not only was I searching for baby names but I was also brainstorming for the perfect business name. I felt that using the naming strategy one; identifying the product or service I was offering, might become restrictive for the company’s future growth so struck that off the list. I also knew straight away that I didn’t want to call it after myself, as I wanted to keep my name to myself, as daughter, friend and wife. However, I liked the idea of using a pseudonym, a bit like when an author uses a pen name (or “nom de plume”- so I’ve learnt!). Who doesn’t love a bit of mystery and intrigue?!

The name we had chosen if we were to have a baby girl was Penelope Hope. (When I say ‘we’, I really mean ‘I’ -Mr N wasn’t getting much of a say in it!) I was drawn to Penelope as it has a melodic sound, that sort of rolls off your tongue as you say it. ‘Hope’ is also the meaning of my name, Nadia, in Russian, the definition uses words such as aspiration, desire and ambition. All of which I have in abundance! Always dreaming away.

So when numero 3 turned out to be a boy, we obviously had to pick a more masculine name for our son and it was then I had my eureka moment…… I could now use the name Penelope Hope for my business! Thunderbolts and lightening!! My perfect pseudonym. There is no denying this business has become my fourth baby and at that point I certainly wasn’t keen on saving it for any future daughter! (Hell no!)

As I’d done my homework on names and their meanings, coincidently the meaning and history of the name Penelope seemed to tie in perfectly with textiles & fabrics.

Coming from Greek Mythology, Penelope, wife of Odysseus, was a weaver. Penelope remained true to her husband for the ten years he spent fighting in the Trojan War and for the ten years it took him to return from Troy. She promised to choose a suitor after she had finished weaving a shroud for her father-in-law, but every night she unraveled what she had woven during the day. After three years, her trick was discovered, but she still managed to put her suitors off until Odysseus returned and killed them.

Penelope at her weaving loom

Hence the name Penelope has come to signify loyalty, capable and faithful. Attributes that are at the very heart of the brand I am building. The name also derives from pene, which translates as ‘thread on a bobbin’. It just couldn’t get any better!

I have always been intrigued by folklore, mythology and meanings behind names so I definitely felt using the name Penelope Hope for my business was just meant to be and who doesn’t love a good story?

What did you name your business or children and do you have a special story behind your choice? I’d love to know.

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