It seems like such a simple question, but many teachers feel really blocked, and even delay or avoid starting for want of a business name. My advice is not to lose too much sleep over it!
A good business name should be memorable, unique, meaningful, and available as a domain name.
- What makes a memorable name?
Try keeping your name short and snappy. Say it aloud. It should roll off the tongue.
Try to make a list of options, with as many business names as you can think of. Don't be afraid to write down the simplest of ideas. You don't need divine inspiration, or a creative epiphany. It's totally fine for Jennifer Smith to name her business "Jennifer's English".
- How do I find a unique name?
It's important that your business name isn't going to be confused with a competitor. There's a very easy way to check this - google it!
Go through your list and google the names you've come up with. Remember that search engines will customise your results based on your browsing history and other data, so it's a good idea to do this in an incognito window.
If you get very few results, then it's a strong contender.
If you get a lot of results, but not for a teaching business, that's pretty good.
If you find another teacher or school, it's best to scratch that name out.
- What makes a name meaningful?
It should have some meaning to you! ;)
This isn't the most important thing, but it can help you to make that final decision. Even if the meaning is basic and practical, try to write a reason for each of your remaining options. For Example:
Jennifer's English - using my name
Teacher Jennifer - using my name
Smith's English - using my name
English with Jen -taken already
Happy Owls English - my favourite bird
Owls English - my favourite bird
Little Owls - "little" works well with my young learners
- How do I know if the domain name is available?
Rather than typing in each name with .com, use a domain name checker like this one from Go Daddy. Even if your name is already taken, they'll usually offer you some alternatives.
Don't worry if you can't get the exact name you wanted.
From the list above, littleowls.com was taken already, but littleowlsenglish.com was available, which works just as well.
Once you've chosen your name, it's a good idea to buy the domain name, even if you don't have a website ready to go yet. That way, you can be confident nobody else will take it. Of course, I don't recommend breaking the bank! Your domain name should cost between $10 and $15 per year.