It’s All in a Name: How to Come Up with Business Name Ideas

When you’re getting your business off the ground, one of the first things you ask yourself is how to come up with a good business name. It’s a tricky task because your business name not only represents all your hard work, but it will also stay for (hopefully) a long time. You want something memorable, clever, short and sweet—whew, that’s a tall order.

Well, you’re in good hands, my friends, because we have plenty of business name ideas, along with our picks for some of the most creative business names out there.

Business Name Ideas, Tips & Tricks 

15 (and a half!) strategies to come up with a creative business name you and your customers will love.

1. Identify What You Do Differently

Take a look at your competitors—do you offer something they don’t? If you do, try placing that service or product in your business name.

2. Create a Word Cloud

What words represent your company? Once you come up with a few words, try a free online word cloud generator to help find other related words that you could use.

3. Google It

Search what potential customers might be entering into Google to see what your competitors’ names are. For example, if you’re a lawn mowing service in Oakland, California, try searching “lawn mowing service in Oakland”. This will also help eliminate any potential names or words with negative connotations.

4. Rhyme

It’s the oldest trick in the book. A lot of good business names rhyme so customers always remember them.

5. Play with Capitalization

A lot of newer names these day use all lowercase letters or ALL CAPS if you’re really looking to get someone’s attention. Or, maybe you try MiXeD cAsInG.

6. Mash Up Words

What does it sound like if you combine a couple words from your word cloud? When you’re thinking of how to come up with a business name, this is a unique way to typically ensure that name hasn’t been taken.

7. Mix Up the Ending

Using the lawn mowing service example again, maybe you take the base word “lawn” and add additional letters to the end to create something like, “Lawnrr”.

8. Make It Personal

Is there a person, place, or animal that’s really special to you? Try integrating that into your creative business name.

9. Go Au Natural

Plant and flower names are often really interesting and can serve as a jumping off point for your business name.

10. Do a Word Association Exercise

If you don’t want to be super literal with your business name ideas, think of other ways to express the words within your cloud. If “reliable” is something you want to lean into, what are things that are reliable? Golden retrievers, taxes, death…we kid, but you get the idea! Pick out a word or two, maybe like “golden” and add it to your name for a subtle nod to your company values.

11. Check Your Surroundings

Is your store or office on a hill? On a cool street? Throw that in the name!

12. Make No Sense

Go ahead, throw the rules out the window. Choose a name that has nothing to do with your service or product. Guess what—you’ll get a lot of people asking what your business name means, which is a great way to advertise.

13. Try Another Language

Obviously you want your name to be easily pronounced, but there’s a certain je ne sais quoi when there’s an international feel to a name. Maybe add in just one foreign word and keep the rest in your native language.

14. Take It Back to Elementary School

Shapes, colors, and numbers add an element of fun when you’re figuring out how to come up with a business name.

15. And Finally, Check If It’s Trademarked

Now that you’re in love with your clever business name, check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark search tool to ensure it hasn’t already been trademarked.

15 ½. And Purchase the Domain Name!

Creative Business Names We Know & Love

Another way to get the creativity flowing is to look up other good business names throughout history and think about what made them catchy.

Here are a few of our faves:

Apple

Apple plays into our #12 point—make no sense. Apple has absolutely nothing to do with computers, but the name is simple, memorable, and has good connotations. Of the name, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said he was “on one of my fruitarian diets” and thought the name sounded “fun, spirited, and not intimidating”. We agree, Steve.

Madewell

The jeans and apparel company put their money where their name is. When you see the Madewell name, you instantly know what they stand for—well-made clothing. We say it’s a candidate for the clever business names hall of fame.

Brandless

Brandless is in the same vein as Madewell in the way that its name represents what they’re all about. Because they aren’t one of the “big brand names”, they’re able to offer similar food at a lower price point.

Victoria’s Secret

Shhh…the name is a secret no more. Victoria’s Secret founder Roy Raymond chose the name “Victoria” to give the feel of the regal Victorian era.

Starbucks

The Seattle-based juggernaut’s name was created by the founders, all who have ties to the literary world. Starbuck was the first mate of the ship in Moby Dick. Even their logo is a mermaid, which plays into their seafaring branding.

We hope you’ve learned how to come up with a business name and are off and running. When you’ve made a decision, tag us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter so we can see your business name ideas. And, of course, check out new business marketing ideas and products to customize with your new name!

 

 

 

Catherine O.

Word nerd. Burrito connoisseur. Pen pal.

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Catherine O.

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