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How Did You Come Up With Your Business Name?

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The idea of exactly what your business is going to be usually comes first. Secondly, most often, is giving a title to your idea. What exactly is going to be the name of your business? Some people turn to their childhood for inspiration or a beloved family pet. It could be a made up word you dream of one night and feel it has the right ring to it. Even still there are some people who study foreign words for the perfect meaning behind their chosen business. Whatever the inspiration or relation may be, the naming of your business is one of the most important parts of becoming a CEO. Having a brand behind a strong title can make all the difference in the world.

 

Photo Credit: Kanessa Tixe

Photo Credit: Kanessa Tixe

Using an uncommon word

My business partner and I named our company The Maven Firm because “Maven” means an expert. Its not a word commonly used. With a team comprised of individuals who are consumer-driven, corporate savvy and creative, we thought it was ideal to call the company The Maven Firm. We are all experts with a diverse background within different industries. As a team, we offer more 20 years of experience within the entertainment, hospitality, lifestyle, non-profit, corporate and consumer-based business. In addition, when we were selecting the name of our company, we were sitting at a Starbucks and a gentleman literally said, “No need to move as it seems like you mavens are speaking business.” This was a sign that maven was meant for a team so diversed who will offer its clients the opportunity to broaden its reach and the ability to cross market due to our across the board knowledge.

Thanks to Kanessa Tixe, The Maven Firm

 

Photo Credit: Gordon Vaughan

Photo Credit: Gordon Vaughan

Inspiration from a ski run

In 2005 I was given a great opportunity. In order to get paid I had to found a company and name it while I coordinated a multi continent grassroots marketing plan. I was living in the mountains of Colorado at the time and gave myself a few hours to come up with a name while I researched how to start a company. I made a list of every keyword that would make sense for my industry and plugged them into the computer. They were all taken in some fashion. Finally exasperated I walked over and gazed out my window. In the distance I could see the snowless trail that was my favorite mogul ski run. It dawned on me that learning to ski moguls and planning a great experiential marketing campaign are quite similar. In short both require a lot of experience, planning, and the willingness to be a little daring. I had my name. Of course no body ever hears that story, they think I named it because I have experiential solutions for business moguls.

Thanks to Gordon Vaughan, Mogul Solutions LLC

 

Photo Credit: Terry Cutler

Photo Credit: Terry Cutler

Idea from a television show

Back in 2003 I got influenced buy watching shows like CSI and 24 and was wondering how Chloe O’Brien was breaking into these systems so fast. After doing some research I found a course called the “certified Ethical Hacker” which taught me the same techniques the bad guys use to break into company networks, except we use those skills as the Good guys. So as a Certified Ethical Hacker, we get legally contracted by companies to try and break into their system before the bad guys do. Similarly to a Locksmiths who tests and unlocks doors, I came up with Digital Locksmiths as we also test “doors” in the form of Firewalls and networks.

Thanks to Terry Cutler, Digital Locksmiths

 

Photo Credit: Steve Young

Photo Credit: Steve Young

Offering instant clarity

We chose our business name to provide instant clarity. With businesses sprouting up every minute it’s tough to stand out from the noise. We wanted a name that not only provided instant clarity of our service (helping customers find the best local photographers and videographers), but one that was easy to remember as well. I would recommend that businesses also think about search engine rank when deciding on a name. Think about what a typical user would search for when trying to find your service. This doesn’t mean to purchase a exact match domain (eg. “SanFranciscoSeafoodRestaurant.com”), but rather to keep in mind related terms when deciding on your domain name. To use the earlier example, your business name maybe “Crab Shack” and your URL maybe ” sfcrabshack.com” or “crabshacksf.com”.

Thanks to Steve Young, SmartShoot

 

Photo Credit: Fall Child Photography

Photo Credit: Fall Child Photography

Using a daughters name

When my oldest daughter Violet was just 6 months old, she was diagnosed with Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip – or Hip Dysplasia (you wouldn’t be the only one who thought it only happened to Golden Retrievers!). She would end up spending 6 months of her life in a full body cast to correct the problem. While she was in her cast I needed to keep it clean during mealtime, and the tiny baby bibs I found at the big box stores just weren’t cutting it! I knew a bit about sewing, so I started making her some oversize bibs to cover her up. When friends and family started requesting them as baby gifts, I knew I was on to something! However when it came to naming my company I was stumped. I wanted to include my daughter’s name, and a friend mentioned I should call it Hip Violet. The name stuck! Violet IS a pretty “hip” kid in more ways than one! She has turned into a happy, healthy, dancing 6 year old, and my company Hip Violet is filling a niche for handmade practical baby gifts that parents rave about!

Thanks to Jesi Josten, HipViolet

 

Photo Credit: Susan Bender Phelps

Photo Credit: Susan Bender Phelps

A little help from Homer

I run Odyssey Mentoring and Leadership. We provide corporate training in the critical skills you need to succeed. I started by looking up the word mentor to see if there might be a word for it in a foreign language that would sound really good. I learned that the word was the same in most European-based languages including: Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Haitian-Creole, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, and Swedish. Then I read about how the word came from the name of a character in Homer’s epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. I also learned what Odysseus never knew: Mentor was a terrible mentor. He knew all about hunting, partying and womanizing, not much about leadership, governance, honor, and making wise choices. That’s why Athena, the goddess of wisdom, stepped in. She inhabited Mentor’s body and guided the young man herself when he needed it most. Everything he learned from his mentor was divinely inspired by a goddess. And that’s why the character, named Mentor in Homer’s epic poems, became synonymous with teaching, guiding, and coaching. Mentor is the name we have bestowed on those every day heroes who generously give of themselves to influence, support and develop another person. Mentoring partners embark on a journey of self discovery and empowerment. And that is the story of how I named my company.

Thanks to Susan Bender Phelps, Odyssey Mentoring and Leadership

 

Photo Credit: Gary Frisch

Photo Credit: Gary Frisch

Homage to an alternate career choice

The company name sprang from my last name, Frisch. At one time in my life I thought of joining the Navy and becoming a pilot, in which case I thought my “call sign” (e.g. “Maverick,” “Ice Man”) should be “Sword.” So my flying handle would be “Sword” Frisch. But as a frequent attendee of air shows, I got to know a group of Navy fighter pilots during one event and they told me the squadron picks your call sign, it’s not up to the pilot. They said they’d dub me “Tuna” or maybe “Gefilte.” I didn’t much care for the name “Tuna Frisch” nor “Gefilte Fish Communications,” so I fell back on my sword and chose Swordfish Communications as an homage to my alternate career as a fighter jock.

Thanks to Gary Frisch, Swordfish Communications

 

Photo Credit: Corey Leff

Photo Credit: Corey Leff

Emphasis on our goal and focus

The name spendLO explains the goals and focus of our company. You will notice the LO is capitalized. That comes from our desire to convey our site is about LOW pricing and LOCAL service, hence the slogan “spend LOW. Spend LOCAL.” spendLO enables consumers to “NAME THEIR PRICE” on ANY service imaginable, as vendors bid to service their needs. This unique concept makes sure the project is within the consumer’s budget. We make sure to utilize pre-qualified service providers from within the local community. The platform itself ensures that consumers utilize service providers within their neighborhoods (as we know 80% of each dollar spent locally is funneled back in to the community). Local businesses are given a cost-fee, risk-free way to drive additional revenue, because it’s free to register, join, post projects, and bid. Everyone wins!

Thanks to Corey Leff, spendLO

 

Photo Credit: Melissa Montanez

Photo Credit: Melissa Montanez

Encouraging girls to be proud of their intelligence

My business is called Technigirl. It’s a composite of the words “technical” and “girl”. I chose this name because the focus of my business is on creating and selling products that encourage girls to be proud of their intelligence, and to give them options beyond the range of typical girls’ clothing and toys. As an engineer myself, I want to encourage girls to go into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Every day in my “day” job, I witness the lack of women. And in my interactions with young girls and boys, I can already see a lot of the societal biases that discourage girls from going into fields like mine. I think girls need to be encouraged from a very young age in this regard, and that’s why I started my line with baby and little kid clothes and items. I hope to have an impact on the way girls (and boys) think about themselves and their potential.

Thanks to Melissa Montanez, Technigirl

 

Photo Credit: Donna Hogan

Photo Credit: Donna Hogan

Reinventing myself from scratch

I named my business “Start From Scratch” because I found that every time I would talk to a small business owner about marketing and they would tell me all about their past marketing experiences, I would say, “Let’s start from scratch”. It also peeks people’s interest to inquire “What is it? Or what do you do?” For me, it also had two meanings; the first being the marketing sense but secondly, I was re-inventing myself with this business so I, myself, was starting from scratch. Double meaning but effective.

Thanks to Donna S. Hogan, Start from Scratch

 

Photo Credit: Jessica Sjolseth

Photo Credit: Jessica Sjolseth

Ordinary Acts of Kindness

OAK Lifestyle was named for Ordinary Acts of Kindness. Our founders are four ordinary people who believe the world can change through the ordinary kind acts we do in our daily life. We wanted to produce ordinary products that people use in their everyday life that give back. Our primary product, a buy one, give one backpack (+ we give school supplies) was even designed with an “OAK pouch” for quick acts of kindness. Ordinary people are giving back by simply buying the backpacks, then we encourage our customers to continue to think of ways to give back, and inspire others to do the same. It’s the OAK lifestyle to be kind to others on an ongoing basis.

Thanks to Jessica Sjolseth, OAK Lifestyle

 

Photo Credit: Joshua Colfer

Photo Credit: Joshua Colfer

Shortening the name

The company’s name, “Prodigi Arts” is short for “Professional Digital Arts.” This name encompasses our commitment to providing professional, creative and innovative animation for businesses. The name is not only an abbreviation for this much longer title, but also an articulation of the culture of animators that comprises Prodigi Arts. In essence, each member of Prodigi Arts is a “protege” in the traditional sense of the word. The title of the company is meant to encourage and invigorate Prodigi’s employees to create the best work that they can, utilizing the artistic gifts they have been endowed with. In 2007, the name was coined by Chris O ‘Conner, Prodigi Arts’ principal, after deliberating at great length about how to encompass both the mission and culture of his animation company in a single title.

Thanks to Joshua Colfer, Prodigi Arts

 

Photo Credit: Alonzo Kelly

Photo Credit: Alonzo Kelly

Everything is in a name

What’s in a name? Everything! People usually remember the name of the last restaurant they ate at before they remember their server. I can remember the name of the last Airline I used, but couldn’t tell you who gave me my life saving instructions before take-off. When I launched my business, my executive coach stressed to me the importance (and difference) of Marketing, Branding, and Public Relations. I chose to give my leadership development practice a title that addressed several key points; 1) easy to remember, 2) people will remember ME!, and 3) allowed for growth. Naming my practice Kelly Leadership Group helps people remember my name (Kelly) and allows for continued growth (Group). Many solo entrepreneurs use this same technique when naming their business. They use titles such as Group, Associates, and Firm. All of them imply a team which may not be the case. How we choose our logos however, is a much bigger mystery.

Thanks to Alonzo Kelly, Kelly Leadership Group

 

Photo Credit: Mike Koehler

Photo Credit: Mike Koehler

Intersection between a grin and a grimace

After trying a bunch of very stiff and “business-y” names on for size, my wife and I looked at each other and said it was time to just get real with the name of my new social media consulting business. Smirk New Media was born in 2010, letting people know the attitude we had and the business we were in. Social media has always been the intersection of a punchline and a very serious way to connect with your customers. Smirk – that intersection of a grin and a grimace – fit perfect.

Thanks to Mike Koehler, Smirk New Media

 

Photo Credit: Heidi Rasmussen

Photo Credit: Heidi Rasmussen

Looking at health benefits in a new, fresh way

We get this question a LOT! When we started our company, freshbenies, we wanted a name that would convey “we’re looking at health benefits in a fresh, fun, new way.” I wanted a word that wasn’t like stodgy insurance companies and loved the word “benies.” So, I Googled it and found it in the urban dictionary as a shortened term for “benefits.” freshbenies is a health discount card that also gives 24/7 access to call a doctor (and get a prescription, if needed). Most people aren’t aware of the types of services in the card, so we wanted something that would pique interest and get them to take a look. We’re not “freshbeanies” (it’s not a hat company) or “freshberries” (it’s not a produce company). We’re “freshbenies” as in “fresh benefits”. Plus, it’s just really fun to say!

Thanks to Heidi Rasmussen, Freshbenies

 

Photo Credit: Laura Bisel

Photo Credit: Laura Bisel

We sell our name

Our company was created from the dream of our oldest son. When Skylar was six years old, he began to create lists of ideas for bath fizzies he wanted to create and sell. It took almost a year for testing and perfecting, but we finally came up with the perfect product. We wanted him to follow his dream and decided to build a website to introduce his creations to the world. As the adult in the equation I had my own ideas of what our company should be called, but I certainly couldn’t pick one without input from the boy who started it all. When I asked Skylar if he had any ideas for a name, he thought quietly for a minute and said,”Well, it’s a business, and we sell fizzies…how about Bizzy Fizz?” I couldn’t argue with that! Now, here we are eight years later, and still going strong!

Thanks to Laura Bisel, Bizzy Fizz

 

Photo Credit: Nicole Reaney

Photo Credit: Nicole Reaney

Watching how the market responds

It took a little while to come up with a business name. At first I traded with my name – just to launch and learn over time how the market responded to our business. When the time was right to establish a brand, we had a few brainstorm sessions involving staff, family and friends, discussing our strengths and what set us apart from other similar businesses. InsideOut PR – came about a few days after these sessions. Why InsideOut? – We manage internal and external communication – While we are external consultants, we pride ourselves on becoming a core part of our client’s team – Our service offering extends beyond traditional PR – to capture all marketing communication and PR solutions – Our core philosophy of ‘client addiction’, means we take time to get to know our clients inside out – And when you turn something inside out… you get the fresh perspective you need. We were so excited when we found the right name – it fit seamlessly. I believe you need a few days to let your unconscious get to work following active brainstorm workshops – the best ideas will then transpire.

Thanks to Nicole Reaney, InsideOut Public Relations

 

Photo Credit: Robert Buehler

Photo Credit: Robert Buehler

Named after a love of Golden Retrievers

I named my maid service after my love of Golden Retrievers – Golden Maid Service. I think it works really well, because a Golden temperament matches many of the qualities I want in my business: Smart, Kind, Friendly, Confident, Reliable,Trustworthy. I also contribute a portion of every home cleaning we do to the Frisco Humane Society (a local animal rescue group). This all ties together to make our service very attractive to all animal lovers and, of course, Golden Retriever owners in particular. I’ve been told by many customers that they selected our service (out of hundreds in the area) because they appreciate our dedication to pets.

Thanks to Robert Buehler, Golden Maid Service

 

Photo Credit: Angela Price

Photo Credit: Angela Price

A concentrated garden of beginnings

The inspiration for my company name came from a trip with my husband to Sonoma, CA. The Sonoma Valley in Northern California, is one of my favorite ‘magic’ places. It is the perfect blend of natural elements: lush fields, vineyards, orchards forests, the sea. I have met interesting and passionate people and have the most amazing food and wine. I was on the precipice of leaving the corporate world to follow my passion by starting a garden design business, and this trip to Sonoma was serving the purpose of inspiration and cleansing. I came across a brochure for a winery tour, and the title on the brochure was ‘Heaven Condensed’. It hit me like a message that I should call my company ‘Eden Condensed’ – a perfect inspirational garden of beginnings, but on a really concentrated scale. And so, Eden Condensed was created.

Thanks to Angela Price, Eden Condensed

 

Photo Credit: Jillian Bremer

Photo Credit: Jillian Bremer

Keeping the spark behind the sweet

I’m the founder of sweet & spark, a new bay area start-up making one of a kind, vintage jewelry modern again. We’re curating timeless collections from the East & West coasts (the sweet) as well as mimicking current trends with vintage pieces (the spark). Both my mother & mentor have taught me that love is all that matters. My mother always taught me to see the positive in every situation, to never pass judgement and always give people the benefit of the doubt. My mentor pushed me to stay competitive with myself and keep the spark that I have behind all the “sweet” to follow my gut instincts always. On a consistent basis we are always sharing inspiring and motivational sweet & spark notes on our facebook & twitter page.

Thanks to Jillian Bremer, sweet & spark

 

Photo Credit: Charity Kuahiwinui

Photo Credit: Charity Kuahiwinui

The right sized solution

You see, my partner and I were both working for big corporations in Seattle when we decided to form our LLC –knowing that we’d always wanted to go into business together. A few years later, we were both laid-off during the “Great Recession”. An HR Manager by training, I was involved in numerous downsizing conversations where we talked about “right-sizing” the organization — a branding effort. For a little while, my partner and I struggled to find the perfect way for our skills to overlap — Human Resource / Health Insurance and Website Development are not naturally complementary. But recently we have been struck by how our business has blossomed as a result of the overlap — the small business clients we serve. These micro and small businesses are the perfect size and poised for success as are 70-80% of all businesses in America — just like us. We are the Right Sized Solution for every small business –helping them find the success and stability needed to take their own dreams to the next level.

Thanks to Charity Kuahiwinui, Right Sized Solution

 

Photo Credit: Barb Przybylowicz

Photo Credit: Barb Przybylowicz

Born from a joke

Four years ago while working with the physically handicap, residents kept sliding from their wheelchairs and recliners. Then 3 years ago while working with seniors in assisted living, staff would find residents who slid from their chairs/wheelchairs, causing injury. The joke was “we need stick em’ on their butts”. Initially I called my product StickeeBunns (pertaining to the “joke” we need stick-em on their butts) until I ran into complication while. trademarking. My design logo with SB was already in place and market ready so I had to keep the SB in place and renamed my business SafetyBunns (purpose of my non-slip pants). This ended up being a wonderful thing. Every time I would contact a vendor, they thought I was talking about a roll and non-stick PANS!!

Thanks to Barb Przybylowicz, SafetyBunns

 

Photo Credit: Crystal Lewis

Photo Credit: Crystal Lewis

Inspiration from my children

A few years ago I knew I wanted to start my own business. I had dabbled in various avenues ranging from running my own cleaning business to styling hair. During these years, I created lotion products for my kids because they had very sensitive skin. People began to request for me to make lotion for them as well, and I decided to try this avenue of business. It wasn’t hard for me to think of the name of my business. My kids have always been my inspiration in whatever I do, so I thought it was only fitting for me to incorporate their names into the name of my business. My business name, MiKouri is a combination of the names, Mikayla (11), Courtney ( 8) and Amari (2). During my business launch party everyone fell in love with the name, and what it stands for.

Thanks to Crystal Lewis, MiKouri Bath & Body

 

Photo Credit: Jenny Schmitt

Photo Credit: Jenny Schmitt

Working through the formal naming process

In 2005, I went through the formal naming process – a marketing effort to determine the best name for your company/brand. In my industry (communications) the default is to name your company with your personal name, e.g. John Smith Communications, but something about that was just wrong for me. First, the company isn’t about me (or my ego), it’s about what we can do best for our clients. Second, I wanted a name with good recall and recognition. Third, I wanted a name that could grow as the company grew beyond just me. As I went through the naming process, two things became clear about the skills I had: sorting through lots of information and ideas to get to the point and bringing out the best ideas. As we listed out words that match those skills, we kept coming back to two words: cloud (sorting through the info haze) and spark (that one good idea, the a-ha moment). It made sense to blend them together into one word and create the brand. For the last seven years it’s been a successful choice and certainly a brand people remember.

Thanks to Jenny Schmitt, CloudSpark

 

Photo Credit: Nat Gertler

Photo Credit: Nat Gertler

Alphabetical order

I named my company About Comics in part because I felt it could give me flexibility – I could publish things that weren’t actually comic books but were on the topic of comics – but in larger part because of where it fell in alphabetical order. In the comics business, the wholesale catalog is in alphabetical order by publisher, so I wanted retailers to be writing in their order before they realized that there were too many lucrative items coming out in this ordering cycle, and they’d better be conservative. Of course, the name proved less flexible than I planned, because I eventually wanted to publish things and provide publishing services for things that had nothing to do with comics. So I launched the new line Combustoica – a meaningless term that sounds powerful, and is an anagram for About Comics.

Thanks to Nat Gertler, About Comics

 

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Profile photo of Gresham Harkless Jr.
Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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