How To Name Your Business
For some, coming up with a business plan is difficult. For others, it's the product pricing strategy that seems too complex to tackle. But for most, naming your business, products, or services can be the largest hurdle to overcome.
Continue reading to discover common naming methods, brainstorming techniques, and tools that are sure to get your creative juices flowing.
Common Traits Of Successful Business Names
While there are exceptions to every rule, there are a few tried-and-true traits that make good business names. Characteristics of successful business names include:
With shortening attention spans, you want your company name to be short and sweet. The best names are typically no more than two or three syllables maximum.
Examples: Google, Nike, Dell, Facebook.
Push yourself to come up with something customers can say. If people struggle to say it aloud or if everyone says it differently, you may want to consider another option.
Examples: Netflix, CarMax, Dollar Tree, SunTrust.
Make it easy for everyone to find you online. You want your company name to be one customers can search for without difficulty.
Examples: Best Buy, Capital One, Mastercard, Visa.
Find rhymes, alliteration, or similar sounds to keep your business top of mind. If it's clever, people will love to share it and it will be easy to remember!
Examples: Wetzel's Pretzels, Shake Shack, 7-11, Smuckers.
Pick a name that's intuitive without being too generic. Use words that reflect your industry but that won't be too difficult for your business to rank for without modifiers.
Bad Examples: Staples, Whole Foods, Square, Thermos.
Company Naming Methods
There are dozens of approaches you can take to naming your business. Below are five different methods you can try to find a name that works for you!
1. Name It After Yourself
One of the easiest ways to name your business is to use yourself as the inspiration. Try your name solo, combine the names of your family members/partners, or get more creative.
Add descriptive words to the end like consulting, bakery, mart, etc. Or create an acronym to help bring your name to life.
Examples: Walt Disney, Johnson & Johnson, Walmart, IKEA (Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd).
Pros: This works well if you're an independent contractor, family business, or want to establish your business as your legacy.
Cons: If you ever want to sell your company or disassociate yourself, a name change may be required which can harm branding.
2. Describe What You Do
Use your name to introduce customers to your product or service offerings right away. Write down a bunch of buzzwords and descriptions about your business and see if any words stick out to you.
Examples: Bed Bath & Beyond, Office Depot, YouTube, Yankee Candle.
Pros: A name that describes what your company does can be unique and can help your customers understand your business more clearly.
Cons:This can be limiting as your company grows and evolves. For example, if you launch your company as Glorious Weddings but expand to other event types, your name may be warding off potential business.
3. Make Up A Word
Your name would certainly be unique! Think up words you can alter, combine, or shorten to represent your business.
Examples: Häagen-Dazs, Lego, Spotify, Groupon.
Pros: You get something unique, true to your brand, and there will be no brand confusion!
Cons: Made-up words may not mean much to a new customer base without explanation. Plus, if you get too creative, customers may dismiss it as weird, unprofessional, or off-putting. Be careful and test your company name ideas if you’re making up a word!
4. Pull From The Dictionary
Repurpose words that people are already familiar with. The words you use don’t need to be in your native tongue, either.
Examples: Amazon, Apple, Target, Volkswagen
Pros: People likely already know these words and won't have a problem pronouncing, spelling, or remembering them.
Cons: Customers may have a difficult time finding you online if your name is too generic – the number of search results may push your website or social profile too low on the list to be found.
5. Tell A Story
Myths, legends, anecdotes, or a funny personal story can be used as inspiration for your company name. Dig into stories that inspire you and see if anything can be carried into your business name.
Examples: Nike, Starbucks, Adobe, Samsonite.
Pros: You'll have a fun response when people ask about the origins of your name. Plus, it can be more exciting than some of the other options and you can tie it into your marketing.
Cons: If the connection back to your business is weak or nonexistent, it can be an ineffective naming technique.
There are tons of options across the internet to help entrepreneurs like you hit the ground running. We evaluated the options, here are our strongest recommendations!
Business Name Generators
- Namelix: Namelix generates business names using artificial intelligence. Most products that do this combine multiple dictionary words, which tends to make long, un-google-friendly names. Namelix generates short, brandable names that are related to your business domain.
- Shopify name generator: Generate business name ideas and instantly check domain name availability. Shopify’s business name generator will do the work of finding the perfect brand name for your business.
- WordLab name generators: Whatever your business naming needs – company names, product names, domain names – the Wordlab Business Name Generator can name it.
- BNG: Generate thousands of name ideas for your business or company. Instantly check domain availability with our Business Name Generator.
- Namesmith.io: The creative business name generator. Generate a name for your business and check the domains for availability. All for free!
- Domain Name Generator: Get smart domain name suggestions using synonyms, suffixes, prefixes, short url, new gtlds to find the perfect domain name. Generate ideas for social usernames and check availability for free!
- Trademark Electronic Search System (Tess): Search the United States Patent and Trademark Office's database of registered trademarks and prior pending applications to find marks that may create confusion or prevent registration.
- Creative Booster: Test out your name on a logo or product label with handcrafted professional graphic design freebies. Easy downloads via email.
While your focus should always stay on the success of your company overall, be thoughtful about your company name and apply our techniques, and you’ll be sure to choose a good one. After all, your product or service will make or break your company – not your name.
Once you have a solid candidate, find out how to find a designer to make your logo, where to use a logo, and the best places to sell your products online. You may also want to check out our article on choosing a URL.