when naming your business just doesn't click

image by  Katie Spicer

image by Katie Spicer

I was working with some lovely clients recently on naming a new range of their products.  It’s one of the joys of my work. I love getting right into the essence of a product or offering, tuning in deeply to the desired audience and of course the word play involved in the naming itself. 

The first name came through almost instantly once we started to delve more deeply into the product and understand its foundations, its unique character and its purpose for their target market. We were all so excited as we knew we’d landed on just the right name to lend their wonderful product the gravitas it needed to make a statement. 

We played around for a while with the second product and it wasn’t quite so straight forward; there were lots of ideas but that clear resonance I always feel when I know I’ve hit on the right one was eluding me. 

Then, one of the team mentioned that the product wasn’t quite finished. It was mostly there but there was some fine tuning to do. Once I realised this, the reticence of the name to come forward made a lot more sense. It wasn’t the right time.  

I find this so often in business, especially when working with creative and inspired entrepreneurs. There are often a lot of decisions to be made, work progresses at a fairly swift pace and it can often feel like everything needs to be done at once. But in an inspired business, that’s rarely the case; we often have a lot more time to play with than we might think.

Over the years I’ve come to appreciate that there is a rhythm and a flow to everything, an order and sequence to things when they work well. That flow is unique to every business and every project. When you are tuned into that as an Empowered Entrepreneur, so much energy and time is saved. Instead of forcing decisions through, spending time going over old ground, agonising over all the possible options and ultimately suffering from post decision dissonance, your choices are timely, accurate and keep the momentum of inspired work going. 


When I wrote by book, The Empowered Entrepreneur, I knew the strapline would be a little elusive, it had to be right. I played around with words and phrases for a few months, but I wasn’t happy, so I put it to bed and focused back on the manuscript. Then as the final stages of the book were coming together and the need for a strap line was looming, the pressure to make a decision came again. I was given suggestions by lots of people. The design team were keen to settle on one and considered the decision made but I knew it wasn’t right. I felt a burst of frustration and the energy draining away which, thankfully after years of practice, is now a great signal for me to let it go….queue Frozen soundtrack…

Good decisions are not made when your energy is scattered, under unhelpful pressure or when the time just isn’t right.

I knew the strap-line would come, I knew it had its time and I knew that would be close to the end of the project, I just wasn’t sure when. It was a big signal for me to let go, trust, and refocus my energies on my inspired work. 


5 days before we send the book to print, Fiona, her lovely daughter Ellie, Katie Spicer and I were at Gail’s home to get the cover shot nailed; still no strap-line but I’d let it go and it was out of my mind. We were focused on getting the shot right. Fiona was working her styling magic and Katie was her usual calm and perfectly poised self to get that perfect capture. 

We had this beautifully styled desk in the woodland garden. Serene, and delicately positioned and we were literally chasing the fading light of the sunset moving the set as it moved, so Katie could get her shot. More laurel and hardy than elegant styled shoot, hilarious, but totally worth it. We all knew when we had the shot and I was on such a high on the way home. 

Then it came. It was just there in my mind and it tripped off my tongue. 

The Empowered Entrepreneur - mastering the art of a thriving business. 

The time had come for the name to be born, and without effort, stress or ceremony I had my strap-line. It was so simple I think I cried. In that moment, I fully appreciated what the book has to offer, and how liberating and wonderful it is for me to be running a business so aligned with the principles of Empowered Entrepreneurship, such a far cry from my corporate roots. 

Mastering a thriving business really is an art. It’s not formulaic or guaranteed, it’s not neat and tidy and predictable. It’s messy sometimes. We have to trust the process, let go of our ego a little, and our predetermined time frames and go with the flow. When we do, the rewards are immense and it becomes a joyful, inspiring and thoroughly worth-while way to run a business and spend a life. 

So if a name is eluding you or if you’re going over and over old ground with a project or venture, maybe it’s a signal to let it go, give yourself some space, trust the process and wait until the time is right.

If you feel the time is now, and you’d still like a little help naming your business or product, you might like to explore Fiona Humberstone’s naming masterclass online course. Fiona is also a wiz at hitting on just the right name and shares her process with her usual style and flair. She is offering 18% off this course until 5th October and you can find more information on The Brand Stylist website.

Elizabeth Cairns4 Comments