Figuring out how to name your consulting business isn’t as simple as it seems. It’s rare for a great name to simply jump into your mind in a burst of inspiration. More often than not, a great name takes time, work, and a lot of brainstorming.
Look at Google for instance – it didn’t start off with the name we know and love today. Initially, the founders wanted to use the title “BackRub”, until a stroke of luck convinced them otherwise.
Unfortunately, when you’re naming a consulting business, you can’t just wait for luck.
Instead, you’ll need to take the time to assess your brand identity, determine what kind of message you want to send, and refine the essence of your company into a single word or phrase.
Today, we’re going to be looking at some of the key points you’ll need to keep in mind when naming your consulting business, to help you avoid some expensive mistakes.
How to name a consulting company: The first steps
The process of naming a consulting company is often more time-consuming than people realize. While some organizations are lucky enough to end up with a great moniker after a day of creative brainstorming, most need plenty of time to ruminate on different possibilities.
The first step for most companies, will be identifying the brand. Ultimately, the best consulting firm names need to be representative of what your company does, who you are, and what kind of brand promise you’re making.
With this in mind, if you don’t already have a set of brand guidelines highlighting your values, vision, and mission statement, this is where you’ll need to start.
Conduct research into your target market so you can position yourself in the context of your competition. Ask yourself what kind of names make the most sense to your industry, and think about the direction you’re heading in.
Consider what kind of words and phrases you’d associate with your company. These terms will act as focus points for your inspiration. For instance, are you reputable, reliable, and sophisticated? Are you friendly and flexible?
Before you start choosing names for consulting firms, you’ll need:
Your brand guidelines
Define who you are, what you stand for, and what kind of values you’re going to champion. These factors will show you what you need to convey in your choice of moniker.
Researching the competition ensures you have a good idea of the kind of names common in your industry, as well as what sort of titles you need to differentiate from. Don’t choose something too similar to the competition.
The more you know about your audience, the more likely it is you’ll choose a name that resonates with them, and their expectations. Find out who your customer is, what they care about, and what their pain points might be.
Naming a consulting business: Finding inspiration
Finding inspiration is often the toughest part of naming any company. The best thing you can do is open yourself up to playing with a variety of different ideas during the early stages of the process.
Generate comprehensive word banks based on associations with your business, and research your market for extra guidance.
Some ways to find inspiration include:
Use your key attributes
Look at the things about your business responsible for making it special. Ask yourself what you aim to do for your clients, and what kind of specific values you can deliver. This will help you to differentiate yourself through your name.
Try a metaphor
Look at metaphors to help you suggest important information about your business. For instance, do you see your consulting company as a wellspring of knowledge, or a partner to your potential clients?
Use a word bank
Create a list of positive terms you associate with your business. These words can be combined and transformed to create a wide selection of potential titles. Merging two words can be a great way to create a unique name, like “Accenture”, which combines accelerate and venture.
Consider working from other brand details backwards towards your name. If you already have an idea for a logo or a brand slogan, these can offer excellent sources of inspiration.
Once you have your inspiration, it’s important to work on narrowing down your options. Check your Secretary of State’s database of registered LLCs and corporations to ensure your name isn’t too close to an existing title.
While you don’t necessarily need to trademark your business yourself, you should at least check the patent and trademark office to be careful.
If you’re concerned about following specific rules and guidelines for your consulting company name based on your legal structure, you might need to talk to a lawyer about your options.
It’s also worth discussing your name with experts from different countries you may want to work in, as different terms can have a different impact depending on where you are. When learning how to name your consulting business, caution is key.
How do I choose a consulting name?
Whether you’re choosing a name for a brand or a product, you’ll only have one chance to make the right first impression. The right consulting company names can often be the key to making an immediate impact on your potential clients.
One option you may want to consider if you’re struggling to find inspiration using the methods above, is using your personal name.
A lot of consulting companies take this route if they already have a strong reputation with their intended audience. Just keep in mind, using your personal name means you won’t be able to expand your business or sell it as easily at a later stage.
If you’re choosing your personal name, you’ll also need to ensure your name is unusual enough to stand out, but simple enough to remember and spell.
If creating an eponymous business isn’t on the cards for you, follow these tips when figuring out how to name your consulting business:
Keep it simple
While complex names can feel clever at first, they frequently cause problems. A challenging name might be easier to trademark or get a domain name for, but it’s also harder for your audience to spell, pronounce, and share with other potential clients.
A name with a “hidden meaning” can often go over the heads of your intended audience and may make you look less authentic and appealing.
Don’t be too restrictive
Sometimes, when you’re struggling to find good consulting business names, it’s tempting to focus your title on a specific location, or a certain service you offer.
For instance, you might want to call yourself the “SEO Consultants” right now, but this could restrict you from offering other services in the long-term, like social media marketing.
Ultimately, you need your name to give you plenty of room to grow and explore new avenues as your business evolves. Usually, this means going for a “suggestive” trademark, instead of something too descriptive.
Use words capable of suggesting certain qualities about your company, rather than outright saying what you do.
Focus on positive associations
A great name for your consulting company should make your customers feel positively about your brand, before they even get a chance to talk to you. Think of names like “Brillo”, connotations with the word “brilliant” immediately create a sense of positivity.
Your name should immediately bring the right concepts to mind, whether you’re trying to highlight your reliability, thought leadership, or trustworthiness. However, you’ll need to be extra cautious to check these connotations translate across multiple geographies.
Remember, some words and phrases may have different meanings in other parts of the world.
How to define good consulting firm names
There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for choosing the perfect name. Figuring out how to name your consulting business is often a time-consuming process. In most cases, business leaders will often seek out help to speed up the process.
If you’re struggling with your naming process, remember the following key guidance:
Consulting business names should be memorable
A good name is always memorable. It should immediately stick in the mind of your target audience for all the right reasons. You can improve your chances of a memorable name in a variety of ways.
For instance, language tools like rhyming and alliteration are great for sparking memory.
Memorable names are also simple enough to spell and pronounce, so your customers can quickly search for you online, or talk about you to a friend.
Your name should be scalable
When choosing names for consulting firms in the modern world, remember your business can easily grow to global levels. You don’t necessarily need to be in the same country as your client anymore.
With that in mind, focus on finding something you can easily transition into other markets.
Rather than focusing on location, or a specific service, look at a name capable of conveying your brand essence. You’ll also need to ensure if your business evolves, your name won’t lose its brand equity.
For example, “Sarah Smith Consulting” might lose some of its appeal if you merge with another company in the future and end up with a consulting partner.
Always check for availability
Unfortunately, there are already dozens of consulting company names out of circulation in today’s competitive world. If a name has already been trademarked, or it’s something someone else is using in your region, you won’t be able to access it.
Even if a name hasn’t been trademarked, it may not be available on the .com domain you want. A name too similar to another company will also mean you risk losing your customers to another brand due to confusion between the two entities.
Consulting firm names need to be professional
While funny names and puns might be fine for fashion or food companies, they simply don’t work for consulting brands. Keep in mind, as a consultant, you’re trying to convey a certain reputation or image to the people you want to work with.
And, while a humorous name might make you seem more approachable, it could also mean your customers don’t take you seriously. Don’t allow your playful nature to lose you the clients you desperately need to keep your business running.
Know when to ask for help
Good naming rarely happens in a vacuum. Ultimately, you might find yourself in need of a little extra help to ensure you’re choosing the right title.
If you think you’ve found the right name, you’ll need to work with experts and people from elsewhere in the business to ensure the moniker has the right impact on every audience, wherever you’re going to serve your clients.
If you don’t know how to name your consulting business effectively, you might even consider purchasing the services of a naming company. Sometimes, working with a dedicated professional (like Fabrik) can save you a lot of the headaches associated with choosing a name on your own.
Tips for naming your consulting business
The challenges of naming a consulting business can be overwhelming for some business owners and brand managers. Not only do you need to find a unique name capable of conveying the specific values of your business, but you need to make sure you’re avoiding any dangerous mis-steps along the way.
Here are some quick tips to help keep you on the right track:
Look at positive power words
Positive terms can be a good way to infuse your name with a fantastic impact. For instance, “success” and “achieve” are great words to connect to a consulting company.
Even words that sound like other power words can be helpful. “Deloitte” sounds similar to “delight”, for example.
Consider going a little longer
While short and sweet business names are often the top choice for most companies, it’s more common to see consulting firms with longer names.
Look at the Boston Consulting Group, or McKinsey and Company. Sometimes, the longer name can even make your business look more authoritative.
Check domain names in advance
Make sure you can take your presence onto the web by purchasing a domain name. If the domain name is already taken, even if you can’t find a trademark for the moniker you choose, then you may need to consider a different term.
Ultimately, you need your brand name and domain name to be the same.
Don’t follow trends
Consulting companies should never follow trends in the naming industry. While it might seem like every organization is using the “& Company” suffix in your industry, it’s important to ensure your business stands out.
Following the trends just means you’re more likely to end up with an outdated name.
Be careful with acronyms
Acronyms are common in the consulting landscape, with countless brands using this strategy to shorten their name (like IBM). However, for the most part, these companies started with a longer, more descriptive name, and switched to the acronym after building brand equity.
An acronym makes it harder for new businesses to convey what they stand for
Try a prefix
Prefixes with positive connotations can be excellent for consulting forms. “Forti” – for example – highlights an idea of fortification, while “Lumi” makes us think of illumination and discovery. You could also look at terms like “Innov” for innovation, or “Intel” to highlight your intelligence.
Consider a metaphor
Metaphors can be another excellent way to bring your consulting name to life. The term “bridge” might not mean much at a glance, but when associated with a consulting company, it can draw to mind ideas of bridging gaps and facilitating growth or discovery.
How to name a consulting company: Getting confirmation
After days or hours of brainstorming, you think you might have the ultimate list of consulting firm names, don’t jump into registering your business straight away. One of the worst things you can do when naming a company is rush into your decision.
Keep in mind, if you need to change your business name for any reason in the near future, you’ll need to go through a complex process of filling out paperwork, paying fees, and communicating your new name to stakeholders.
Not to mention, changing names means you lose any brand equity you’ve built for your business, and have to start designing brand assets again from scratch.
To improve your chances of a successful consulting name first time around, run some tests before you dive in. Consider using PPC ads on Google to see whether your name has a good level of marketability by analyzing click-through rates.
You could also send surveys out to existing or potential customers to see what they think of your new title.
Another good way to test your name is to work with a designer to mockup some dummy logos. This is a good way to see how your company is going to look from a visual perspective with your new name. Is the title too complex to create a good logo, or does it fail to make the right impact?
Finally, make sure you speak to all the relevant people in your team. While it’s possible for a business owner to choose a name on their own, figuring out how to name your consulting business can be a tough task solo.
It’s much better to get the insights of other people in your team, so you can ensure you’re not overlooking any odd connotations or meanings you never considered.
Good luck naming your consulting business
As you can see, figuring out how to name your consulting business correctly is rarely the straightforward people most people think. Ultimately, a name is one of the most important tools you’ll have for defining and differentiating your brand in a competitive world.
However, it’s also one of the most difficult attributes to choose.
When you’re naming your consulting business, you’ll need to make sure you’re putting the right amount of time and focus into the project to deliver the right results. Take your time to research your options and come up with a wide selection of ideas before you commit to anything.
Once you’ve chosen the name with the most impact for your brand, protect it by ensuring you have the right trademarks and copyrights in place.
It’s also worth making sure you purchase your domain name as quickly as possible, before you start sharing your new title with possible customers and competitors.
If all else fails, talk to a naming expert, like Fabrik!
Fabrik: A naming agency for our times.
We’ve made our name famous by naming other businesses.
Get in touch if you have a company, product, or service that requires a unique name. Click below, and let’s start a conversation today!