You’ve created a business around something you love to do, and friends and family are encouraging you to make it official. Maybe you are selling homemade pies, or you’ve been walking dogs in the neighborhood, or you’ve been teaching stretching classes for seniors at the local Y. But, if you make it official, you’ll need a good business name. When you start a business, you want the business name to resonate with your clients and you want it to mean something to you at the same time. But where do you start?

You need to brainstorm. Start by making three lists. The first list is made up of everything related to the product or service you offer. For example, is you are making pies, your list would include things like pies, fruit, baked goods, sugar, crust, desserts, pecans, bakery, brown butter. Include any puns, synonyms, opposites. If you are starting a dog walking business, your list might include pets, playdates, walks, outings, Fido, Spot, paws, wet noses, doggy, puppy. On the list for a stretching class for seniors, you might see words like, elder, exercise, stretching, movement. If you get stuck go to a synonym finder on line or Google your idea and see what you find.

The second list is a list of adjectives that relate to your business. For a dessert business, your list would include things like delicious, yummy, tasty, delectable and so on. A dog walking business might have adjectives like convenient, fun, energetic, fuzzy, cuddly. The stretching class for seniors list would include gentle, serene, or meditative.

Then make a third list of things that mean something to you. You’d include your name, your street, your state, your town, your dog’s name, your school mascot, your college colors, your home state, anything that relates to who you are. Now comes the fun part. Start combining words from the three lists.

For your pie making business, you might come up with Peggy’s Pies. Alliteration always works well. Betsy’s Baked Goods, Felicity’s Fruit Pies. Sandy’s Savories, Debbie’s Delectables. If you think you might expand beyond pies, a name like Peggy’s Pies would limit you. If you know you are planning to expand beyond pies, you might want to start your first list with everything related to desserts. Maybe Susie’s Savory Sweets from Savannah, Bearcat Bakery, or Downtown Desserts. Or you could use a single word name like Tartine, Tarts or Crust.

For a dog walking business, think of fun cute things like Fido’s Freedom, Dogs Day Out, Puppy Playdates, or Elm Street Dog Walks. The stretching class could have names like Get Your Stretch On, or something simple like Stretching for Seniors. It important that your business name tell what you do and if it doesn’t, a tag line is key. This is where you might incorporate a word from your adjective list.

If you named your pie company something like Jake’s, you could add a tag line like, The place for the perfect pie – or Crust, Baked Goods from Scratch. Puppy Playdates could use a tag line, A fun outing for your dog, or We walk your dog when you can’t. Hot Cross Buns could have a tag line, Yummy Pies, Cakes and Cookies for Everyone. Jill’s Stretching for Seniors could have a tag line, Gentle Meditative Group Class or Serene Stretching for Seniors.

The idea is to tell what you do in your business name and then make it personal. The name should feel good rolling off your tongue. Once you have a list of choices you need to go to the web and check to see if your domain is available. If you chose Peggy’s Pies, check www.peggyspies.com for availability. You may have to add your state to make it work if you are sold on that name. You could use something like www.peggyspiesCT.com. The last thing you want to do is start your business with a name that has brand recognition with another business that is known in your town.

Next you need feedback. Ask your friends and family what they think of the business name. Is it hard to remember, is it hard to spell, is it hard to pronounce? If so, you may need to start again. Think of yourself in the grocery line having a conversation with a friend and you’re telling them about your new business. “I just started a dog walking business and it’s called Fido’s Fun. Check it out on the web.” Your fiend would most likely remember that name, right? And they could easily find it on the web.

You’ve done the hard work by coming up with a business idea that has some traction. Now it’s time to have some fun naming your new venture.