You have decided to hang up your own shingle and start a new consulting business. Going out on your own can be nerve racking, yet incredibly rewarding. One of the first things you will want to do is come up with a new name for your practice. Here are a few recommendations on how to proceed.
Begin with the End In Mind
Start the process by thinking about your unique selling proposition and your target customers. Who is it you are selling to and what are you selling? Why would they want to buy from you versus your competition? Having solid target customers and business objectives will solidify your purpose and crystalize the reasons to believe in the business.
Gather Your Team
Next, gather your team. Ideally you have business colleagues, mentors, or mentees who can help you brainstorm names and ideas that will personify your brand. Set up a time and place to run through the main points you know so far, the objective of the business, a business plan if applicable, and come up with key terms that you will use to ideate a name. Share a one pager that has a 40,000 foot view of the business and key goals.
Having an available chalkboard, whiteboard, or wall and sticky notes on-hand is a great way to start. Write keywords of your business on the board or onto sticky notes and place them on a board or the wall. For instance, if you are leading business consulting for executives use business as a keyword, executives as a keyword, and add some of the traits you will be consulting and/or coaching on, such as public speaking, getting new customers, optimize financial performance. Keep writing names and words on the post-its or board looking for words that you could use in your name.
While ideating, let the tasks and the words take you and your team to new word associations. Think of words that you would like others to say about you and your business, integrity for example, trustworthy, helpful, pinnacle is another, best-in class, etc.
Decide what criteria you are using to judge the names you have coming in. Do you want a classic name, a clever name, something intriguing, experiential or emotional? Do you want a combination of styles of names? Share some business names that you really like with your team. Talk about competitor names and which ones really resonate with you and likewise would connect emotionally with your target customer.
While ideating encourage your team to look up competitor names, key word synonyms on Thesaurus websites, review the dictionary online as well as old fashioned hard or soft copy versions of both. Use the internet, and especially google words or names that are of interest. Look at competitor websites too. When something sparks, write it on the board or a sticky note. See if any of the words of interest make sense combined with another word. Have fun, be playful, and be open to the ideas that flow in, capturing your favorites along the way.
The goal in brainstorming would be to get 5 or 6 names that you feel could represent your business. With a half dozen names in hand you can begin vetting the ideas with colleagues, friends, and family beyond your team. Ask them for honest feedback on what comes to mind when they hear your proposed name. The main consideration is not if they like the name,rather it is “does this name meet the key criteria and position this business in a good light?”
Determine if any of the names are going over better than the others or if you are gravitating to a particular name.
Trends In Consultancy Naming
While many of the larger consulting forms have Classic Names or Acronyms, think McKinsey, Bain & Company, A.T. Kearney. Currently we are seeing a trend of consultancies using intriguing or abstract names, while some are still using classic names but freshening them up to make them more modern.
Recent consulting business names determined through the Squadhelp process include:
- Orenda- an investment strategy consulting
- Verity Path-Online payment consulting
- Sagetics- business intelligence firm
- Hatch- tech & management consulting
- Octave Nine- tech consulting firm
Finalize Your Top Choices
Filter your names down to 2 or 3 options. You are off to a great start! With vetted names ready, consult with a trademark attorney and make sure there are not linguistic considerations that could interfere with your choice. This link about Trademarks & Linguistics could help you continue into the final steps of picking a name for your consulting business.