Want to learn how to come up with a business name that will help you attract customers, media attention, and investors?
👉 This guide to choosing a business name will explore:
- Why it’s important to choose the right business name 🤓
- How to brainstorm a business name 📛
- Business Name Creation Checklist 📝
- How to use a business name generator 🎡
When you’re finished reading you’ll have all of the tools you need to create an appealing name for your business.
Why it’s important to choose the right business name
Learning how to choose a business name is important because the right business name can place your business ahead of the competition. According to the Journal of Financial Economics (JFE), your business name and its appeal can increase recognition among investors if you’re ever interested in selling your business. Consequently, this can increase your company’s value.
One way to grow and sustain customer loyalty is by having a brand name that stands out, is easy to pronounce, and resonates with them. A name that can draw attention to your company.
On the other hand, choosing the wrong name can significantly impact your success. People are less likely to remember your business if the name is too long or difficult to pronounce. Even if they remember your products, they might not remember the name.
Some names can do even worse damage. For example, if your business name doesn’t mean anything in English but translates to an offensive word in Spanish, you might accidentally limit your audience. You can also run into legal trouble if you choose a brand name that’s too similar to another company, especially if that company sells similar products.
All of these things are essential considerations as you learn 👨🎓 how to come up with a business name.
How to brainstorm a business name
You will be surprised how much information you can gather just by brainstorming. To get you started, we have broken down the process into three steps.
💡 Pro tip: Write down every name that comes to you during this stage. You can narrow them down later by going through the business name creation checklist.
- Write down your story
- Conduct in-depth research on popular business names
- Research works of literature and mythology
1. Write down your story
There is a story behind every great brand. Reflecting on your story can often inspire you to craft your brand name ideas.
Not sure where to start? Consider the following questions:
- Why do you want to set up this business?
- How do you envision your business’s future?
- What makes your business idea special?
⚠ Remember, at this stage, your answers are for yourself and no one else. Let yourself write whatever comes to mind (and keep it to make the About page of your website later) and focus on quantity, not quality.
🔎 How to find these names: Once you’ve written out your story, look for words that represent a significant portion of it, describe the story as a whole, or evoke a similar emotion to the story you’ve told. These can be individually used as business names or combined to create something unique.
2. Conduct in-depth research on popular business names
The next step in how to come up with a business name is to research existing company names. There are a couple of reasons to do this:
- To find inspiration. You might see a business name and decide you want to do something similar.
- To avoid legal trouble. We’ll talk about this more in the Business Name Creation Checklist, but for now, let’s just say that it’s important to Google words/names you like to make sure they’re not already being used by a company, especially not a company like yours.
Similarly, you want to research two types of company names: business names within your industry and business names outside of your industry.
Business names within your industry
Researching business names in your own industry can help you understand what types of names can work for your business. For example, if you notice that a lot of companies in your industry are using names that directly use a specific word (like the “note” in note-taking platforms Evernote and Sleeknote), you might look for a way to include that word in your own brand name.
The key here is to make sure your brand name isn’t too similar. If the sound or spelling is similar enough to another company for customers to mistake the two you’ll end up with confused customers and possibly a lawsuit. This is especially true if both companies sell similar products/services.
To avoid customer confusion and potential legal troubles, always put your own twist on a business name. You can use a rhyming word, look for synonyms, or even create a deliberate misspelling of a word to transform it into a unique business name.
🔎 How to find these names: You can easily find dozens of business names by Googling “Top companies” and filling in your industry. This will return lists, directories, and sometimes even websites for the top companies in your industry. Scroll through these until you find something inspiring, then use rhymes, a thesaurus, or unique spelling to make it your own.
Business names outside of the industry
You may also want to look at business names in other industries, especially industries that are adjacent to yours. You can then bring common naming practices from another industry into your own business, allowing you to create something completely unique.
Note that it’s still essential to put your own twist on any business name you like. You don’t want to have to deal with trademark lawsuits down the line.
🔎 How to find these names: Search Google for “Top companies” or “Top sites” and fill in an industry adjacent to yours. For example, if you’re starting a food blog, you might look up “Top food blog sites”. Look at both “Top 10/20/50/100” lists and individual websites. Make sure you just use these names as inspiration and find a way to put your own twist on them.
3. Research works of literature and mythology
If your customers can form a strong mental connection with your brand, it is highly likely that they would also associate themselves with it. An easy way to form this connection is to name your brand after a figure from something with enduring popularity: a mythological figure, a historical event or person, or a place or time.
Below are some examples of popular brands that have used this method for how to come up with a business name:
- Nike (named after the Greek Winged Goddess of Victory)
- Amazon (the largest river in the world)
- Lego (from the Danish word “Leg Godt”)
- Pandora (Greek mythology: the first mortal woman whose box contained all diseases and mystery)
And the list goes on. You may already be thinking of a historically/mythologically significant name or three. If not, use the technique below to discover some.
🔎 How to find these names: Pick a culture you have a connection to and research gods/goddesses, important historical figures, and myths about relevant aspects of life. For example, if you’re creating a magazine about hunting, you might research Artemis and other gods/goddesses related to hunting and use either their name or the name of a person/place in their history. Alternatively, you could research great hunting locations and name your company after one of those.
Be careful about using words from cultures you’re not part of. If you’re set on a word from a different culture, research it heavily to make sure there aren’t alternate meanings that could ruin your company’s image. You also want to make sure you’re not using a word that’s currently considered sacred in a commercial context or otherwise committing cultural appropriation. If you’re not sure, reach out to someone from the culture in question.
Business name creation check-list
Before you get carried away by that awesome name ringing in your head, pause and take a deep breath. There is more to a name than fancy words. Yes, it has a historical meaning, or perhaps mythology, or maybe you sniffed it out from a movie or a book, but you have to ask yourself the following questions:
1. Does it make sense?
The name you chose should be familiar to your target audience or prospects. It should be culture-neutral and unambiguous as much as possible. Furthermore, naming your company “STD Contractors” just because it is in “Grand Theft Auto” might confuse non-gamers and can create a poor mental image of your brand.
2. Does it mean something else in a different language?
If the name means something radically different in another language it might confuse international customers.
3. Does it fit your industry?
The name you choose can be industry-neutral like “Apple,” “Nike,” etc., or industry-specific like “Vodafone,” “Healthline,” “Daily Bread,” etc. However, using an industry-specific name can serve you better by quickly building a mental connection between your brand name and what you do, especially when your business is new.
4. Is it future-proof?
Your brand name should still be relevant even if you decide to extend your product offering in the future.
5. How easy is it to spell?
As you may have noticed, most popular brands have their names within two to three syllabic words (except for a few). If it is easy to spell, then it’s easier to remember. This also makes it more effective as a domain name.
6. Is it difficult to pronounce?
Your company name should roll out of the tongue effortlessly.
7. Will people remember it?
People will most likely remember a short and easy-to-pronounce name more than a long and hard-to-pronounce one. Think “Infotech” as opposed to “Quantum Computer Service.”
8. Is it already the name of an existing business?
Search for the name you’re considering with Google first and also run it through your local business registry to make sure that it isn’t already in use.
How to use a business name generator tool
Your business needs a name – a captivating one. However, perhaps you don’t have ⏱️ the time to brainstorm brand name ideas, or maybe you don’t like anything you’ve come up with so far. One quick and easy way to get around this is by using a business name generator.
- What is a business name generator?
- How to use a business name generator
- Popular business name generators in 2023
What is a business name generator?
A business name generator is an online program that instantly generates a wide variety of unique company name ideas based on keywords and/or industry type. Most of these tools are free, easy to use, and directly connected to domain registration so you can start setting up your company site right away.
How to use a business name generator
Using a business name generator is pretty straightforward and intuitive. All you need to do is enter the keywords that describe the type of business you want to run and/or the industry and hit the generate button, and voila! 🤩
Your search results will appear a few seconds later with dozens of name suggestions based on the information you entered.
Once you find the one you like, click on it, and you’ll be taken to a domain registration page. Many business name generators will show you if the name you picked is available or taken. If it is still available, it is a good idea to register your business domain (website) right away. You never know who else might be considering it.
You should also run your company name through your state or national registry to ensure no other business is registered under it—this will save you from legal troubles in the long run.
Popular business name generators in 2023
Here is a list of some of the best business name generators in 2023:
Final advice on how to come up with a business name 🏁
Naming your business is one of the most important steps you can take as a business owner. You want something relevant to your brand, easy to pronounce and spell, and memorable. This helps you attract customers and keep them coming back. The right business name can even help you secure investors.
You may be able to find a business name with one of three brainstorming techniques: writing and searching your story, researching other company names and putting your own twist on a name you like, and/or pulling names from mythology or history.
If you’re struggling to pick a name, worried that you’ll choose a bad name, or you’re overwhelmed by the many other tasks involved in starting a business, you may want to use a business name generator. Business name generators are great for a few reasons:
- They provide dozens of options right away
- They make it easy to buy your domain instantly
- Most of them are free
👉 Discover dozens of business name ideas today with the DomainWheel business website name generator!