Today, I want to share some of my best ideas to name a business.
How important is your business name?
Do I really need to answer that question?
Would you eat at the Rover Restaurant?
The thoughts of eating dog food or even worse, Rover himself would send me to Burger King.
While some companies have succeeded even with a terrible company name, the statistics are quite low.
Usually, the only reason they were able to fly into success was the fact that they had deep pockets for marketing and advertising.
I was looking back at “doomed by their name” companies.
- Ayds: This diet candy just did not consider the medical implications that would come when Aids ravaged the world. They disappeared.
- Isis Chocolates: They were around longer than the terrorists, but were forced to change to Libeert.
And, some companies made great decisions to scrap first choices for others.
Maybe if you had a sore back, but to find something on the internet?
Yes, Google could have been BackRub.
There are many factors you will want to consider when naming your business.
I have decided to provide you with 27 ideas and tips in naming your business.
But, that is not all!
I will also give you a variety of tools you can use to help you come up with ideas to name a business.
We hope that you come up with a name that helps you turn your business into a highly profitable success.
1: Use The SMILE Standard
SMILE stands for:
- Simple – The name needs to be simple.
- Meaningful – The name has to have meaning.
- Imaginative – The name should inspire a picture in people’s minds.
- Legs – The name should be able to grow with your business.
- Emotional – The name should attain an emotional response.
2: Use The SCRATCH Standard
SCRATCH stands for:
- Spelled stupidly – Do not use a name that is difficult to spell.
- Copied – Stay clear of naming your business in a way that could be considered copying.
- Randomized – Random names that do not reflect your business are a bad idea.
- Annoying – Names that annoy people will not normally work.
- Tame – Your business name needs to generate passion.
- Cursed – Your name needs to be understood by all who see or hear it.
- Hard to pronounce – If a person cannot pronounce it, they will forget it.
3: Ask for Expert Help
I will just say that it can pay to pay.
Working with an expert can be your wisest move.
Yes, they can be expensive, but worth it.
Just do a search for business naming experts.
4: Great Sounding
Your business name needs to sound great when said aloud.
Many names may look wonderful on paper but when they are spoken can sound terrible.
Say it aloud to see if it sounds right.
5: Using A City or State May Not Be in Your Best Interest
While your business may just be a local one now, consider the long-term possibilities.
It all worked out okay for Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, but it may not for your name.
They changed to 3M.
You will want customers to find your business and if you use a weird spelling, the odds of their doing so are against you.
Try to use spellings that make sense.
7: Brainstorm with Key People
I say key people because so many business owners start asking every friend and family member their thoughts.
When you do not use the name they came up with, you may alienate that person.
I suggest having a brainstorm session just with key people and let them know immediately that you will make the final decision.
I suggest even providing reasons you did not choose names.
This will keep them from feeling alienated.
8: Make Sure the Business Name Does Not Translate Bad in Any Other Language.
The name may sound great but when it is said in Turkey, the name comes across as if you are calling their mother a camel.
Not good, even if you are a United States company.
Remember that we are a nation of many people and you do not want to upset any group.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- How to Make a Big Name List for Your MLM Business: 10 Steps to Success
- Promote Your Home Based Business for Free: 17 Amazing Ideas
- How to Make a Good First Impression with Your Business Prospects
- 33 Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make
- Sample Website or Blog Business Plan
9: Choose A Name That Is Attractive to Your Target Market
I suggest that you determine your primary target market.
Now, put yourself in the place of an individual in that target market.
Will the name appeal to you, or will it drive you away?
10: Convey A Benefit
Does your business name convey a benefit?
While this may be difficult, it is something you should consider when choosing a business name.
11: Easy to Remember
You want people to remember your business name.
If they can remember the name, they will share it with potential customers.
12: Bust A Name
While I will be sharing various other tools further on, I find this tool a huge plus in finding a business name.
Bust A Name lets you enter key words and it will start giving names with domain availability.
I highly recommend this tool.
13: Make Sure the Name Is Group Friendly
I mentioned other languages earlier, but you should also consider groups in general.
Just consider if you are using a certain religion, race or other group system within your business name, you may be alienating others.
Will a Methodist go bowling at the Baptist Bowl Alleys?
Maybe, but why chance it?
How about Believer Bowl Alleys?
14: Choose A Comforting Name
If the name instills fear or stress, it may not work so well.
Would you buy a mattress from Bugsy’s Beds?
It just isn’t comforting even though Bugsy is probably the owner’s name.
15: Initials May No Be Your Best Idea
There are some companies who have had great success with initials, but they usually got there by spending huge amounts on advertising.
Unless you have deep pockets like IBM does, I suggest you stay away from using initials as a business name.
16: Keep It Simple
The simpler your business name, the better.
If it is simple, people will remember it.
Complex business names can be lost easily.
17: Consider Competitor Names
I suggest you make a list of the top competitors in your business area.
Consider their names when you are brainstorming your name.
You want your name to be remembered over all the competition.
You also want your name to be unique in comparison.
18: Try to Keep Your Business Name Short
This goes along with keeping it simple.
The shorter your business name, the easier it will be to remember.
19: Try to Be Specific
It can be frustrating when you assume a business is something other than they are.
This often happens because of their name.
Without knowing if there is an actual business with this name, I will use an example that just popped into my brain.
You are searching because you are hungry and you come across Pizzali.
You call and discover Pizzali is a Crematorium.
Are you still hungry?
20: Be Informative
This goes hand-in-hand with #19.
If the ad would have said Pizzali Crematorium, I would have moved on to a place that says pizza.
The information you give within your business name can help customers find you.
21: Use A Name That Is Understandable
This also follows along with the previous tips.
If potential customers can understand by your business name what you offer, they are more apt to do business with you.
22: Do A Keyword Test
It doesn’t hurt to throw some keywords into the Google Adwords system to see what comes up.
I did this when I chose the name for my website, Lancerlife.com.
I did discover that there is a high school in California that has a newsletter that goes by Lancer Life, but I determined that I could take over the rankings, and I did.
You should do a similar study with your business name ideas.
23: Try to Purchase the Main Domains
I suggest that once you have determined what your business name will be, you should purchase the .com, .net and .info domains.
This will keep other entities from using your name and pulling higher rankings in the search engines.
This does not mean you have to build websites on all 3.
The best method is to redirect traffic from the unused domains to the main domain.
24: Do Not Use Inc. Unless…
Your business is actually incorporated.
If a customer notices this, they will consider it dishonesty and if you will not be honest with that, what other things will you lie about?
25: Narrow The Choices Down to 4 or 5
Get your choices down to 4 or 5 and start using the various methods listed to determine the best choice.
26: Do A Trademark Search
Before you dare name your business, you should absolutely do a trademark search.
What seemed to be successful businesses have been driven to bankruptcy when an obscure company who holds the trademark sues them.
There are 2 places you can use to check to see if the trademark is open:
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office (this is where you will go to get your trademark too.) https://www.uspto.gov/
- Trademarkia http://www.trademarkia.com/
27: Discover What the World Thinks
Before committing to a business name, you just may want to find out what the world thinks.
Or at least your target market.
You can go about that in various ways, but I suggest these:
- Put together a sample of the various names and do a poll. I have used Poll Maker before for free and it works great. http://www.trademarkia.com/
- Set up landing pages using each name and run A/B testing to see which one has more success. For a cost, you can do that at Leadpages: https://www.leadpages.net/
There you have 27 ideas in naming a business.
You do not want to take the naming of your business lightly.
I suggest you take your time and make it right the first time, because changing a business name can be quite stressful.
As I stated at the start, I also will share various tools you may want to use.
Be sure and let us know what worked for you.
Business Naming Tools
- Check synonyms and more by using a thesaurus: http://www.thesaurus.com/
- Combining words: http://unique-names.com/word-mixer.php or http://www.nameacronym.net/name-combiner.aspx
- Brainstorming and mind mapping: https://bubbl.us/
- Inventing new words from old words: http://www.degraeve.com/invent-a-word/
- Find words with certain letters: http://www.morewords.com/
- Other great tools: http://www.wordlab.com/ http://lifecoachestoolbox.com/index.php/free-metaphor-generator http://tools.seobook.com/spelling/keywords-typos.cgi http://www.poemofquotes.com/tools/rhyme-generator.php
Now I am going to do somewhat of an about-face; you should not get too anxious about having the perfect name.
If you seek perfection, you probably won’t find it.
No matter what you name your business, if you are providing high quality and use a solid business approach, you will probably have great success.
Marketing will be a key aspect and if done correctly, no matter what your business name, you can discover huge success.
I do recommend that you follow all the tips I gave you above and you should find a great name that suits your business.
I also want to mention that if you are still having a hard time finding a business name, you may want to use a crowdsource method.
Just put up some dollars and have a contest.
I know of 2 websites you can do this at:
So, let’s hear your thoughts.
What have you used?
What tips here are your favorite? Tools?
Do you have any business naming ideas or tips that you would share?
We appreciate all comments and feedback.
You can leave your comments and questions below.
They are listed for your convenience.
About the Author
Greg Boudonck is a freelance writer and the author of over 50 books. He writes on many different topics, but business subjects are one of his primary areas of writing expertise. See Greg’s biography here.