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15 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Came Up With Their 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.

#1 – Clear Company Value

Photo Credit: David Zimmerman

Photo Credit: David Zimmerman

I started thinking about my company’s name by being honest about the criticism in my industry. There are a lot of companies, out there, who call themselves experts in online marketing, but end up being untrustworthy and ineffective. I wanted a name that would address that perception head-on- both to reassure people and make it a clear company value (holding us accountable, by our name). At the same time, I wanted something simple and fun. I tried to think of an animal that conveyed honesty, but couldn’t think of anything that wasn’t cheesy. I ended up in the plant kingdom, with an acorn. An acorn holds the potential for growth (an important concept in marketing efforts) into a substantial and strong oak tree. I combined the concept of growth with honesty into my company’s name: Reliable Acorn.

Thanks to David Zimmerman, Reliable Acorn

#2 – Flexibility

Photo Credit: Margaret Wolfson

Photo Credit: Margaret Wolfson

An excellent approach for developing your company name is to get clear on what you want the name to communicate. For River + Wolf, the name of my brand naming and writing company, words like flexible, unstoppable, precise, and original were on the list. The river part of our name speaks to the unstoppable as rivers carve their way through solid rock. Conversely, a river is adaptive–it twists and turns, responsive to the lay of the land. The wolf metaphorically conveys the attributes of precision, originality as no two wolves make the same sound. Overly functional names like, for example, The Naming Group or Strategic Name Development, might be better for SEO reasons, but they don’t have much storytelling power. And a name with storytelling ability is a name with legs!

Thanks to Margaret Wolfson, River + Wolf

#3 – My Moniker

Photo Credit: Bianca Lee

Photo Credit: Bianca Lee

My company is called White Rose Marketing Solutions. I started my company to increase the awareness about marketing within the small business community (what it is, what it is not, how to know you’re doing it right, etc) as I come across many that confuse marketing with PR or sales and are frustrated when their marketing programs don’t create the sales boost they expect. Supporting companies with marketing services as they DIY or directly is what we do at White Rose Marketing. The name White Rose is a loose moniker for me. My name is Bianca which means white in Italian and because I did not want to name my company Bianca and Associates I started with white. There is a white rose named Bianca (there is also pizza and wine named Bianca!) so in a way, I have named my company after myself. The way I explain it within the context of the business is as follows: The color white symbolizes purity and the rose is a layered object representative of the various layers of strategy/tactics that are necessary for a business to grow. It is unlikely for a lopsided strategy to grow a business or for one tactic to provide the growth that most companies desire. Therefore at White Rose, we focus on pure, properly layered strategic plans. As such, in addition to being named after myself, the founder, the name of the company is a metaphor for what we endeavor to do for our clients.

Thanks to Bianca Lee, White Rose Marketing Solutions, LLC

#4 – Just and Fair to All

Photo Credit: Todd Miller

Photo Credit: Todd Miller

Our company was founded by my father in 1980 as Classic Products, Inc. — a rather generic name. Over the years, we became known as Classic Metal Roofing Systems. Eight years ago, we decided to make Classic Metal Roofing our brand name and change our corporate name. My business partner and I wanted the new name to reflect our striving to be a “Kingdom Business” discovering what unique role God wants us to play in the local and global marketplaces. We wanted a name that would serve as a reminder to all of our team members, regardless of their faith, that we are about more than just crunching pieces of metal, packaging them, and shipping them. We chose the name Isaiah Industries, Inc. based upon the major Biblical prophet Isaiah. There are two pieces of scripture from the book of Isaiah that we frequently reference and use as part of our DNA. They are Isaiah 56:1 which includes the excerpt “Be just and fair to all. Do what is right and good, for I am coming soon to rescue you.” The other scriptural reference we frequently refer to is Isaiah 43:19 which is “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” These texts help to form the banks of the river for how we operate as a business. All of our team members enjoy knowing that the organization is based upon doing the right things all the time, and being something different from other businesses.

Thanks to Todd E. Miller, Isaiah Industries, Inc.

#5 – Remember a Name

Photo Credit: Derek Hines

Photo Credit: Derek Hines

When deciding on a name for my company, I originally thought I would go with something that had an authoritative air to it. Something that would sound credible and would seem like the name of a business that was larger and had been around a while. I thought of names like, Ranking Results Northwest, Portland Optimization Strategies, or Portland SEO Works. But in the end, I chose, SEO Derek because I wanted to get SEO into the title for search purposes, and by adding my name, people could remember who I was without having to look it up. My feeling is, if this business ever grows to the point where I’m hiring staff, I’ll consider changing the name. Even then, I might not. I took a cue from a company I used to work at, CaptionMax, whose founder and president was named Max. Potential customers always wanted to meet Max. So it worked for us. I could see the same thing happening for SEO Derek.

Thanks to Derek Hines, SEO Derek

#6 – Such a Big Leap

Photo Credit: Lisa Gerber

Photo Credit: Lisa Gerber

I remember the very moment I came up with my business name because I was a passenger in a car, experiencing extreme anxiety that I was leaving my ski resort marketing job to launch my business. My forehead was pressed against the window looking out at the rain thinking “What the hell am I doing? This is such a big leap. And that’s when the connection was made. Big Leap Creative helps businesses get from where they are to where they want to be – their own big leaps. As far as any process involved, I have found Daniel Levitin’s book “The Organized Mind,” to be helpful when it comes to creative problem solving. He explains there are two phases. In the first, we assess all the facts, scenarios and solutions (left brain). In the second, we need to relax and let go of the problem to let the right hemisphere of our brain take over. This is when we can effectively make connections to disparate thoughts to create a “coherent new whole.” This is why we get our best ideas not at our desks but in the shower, on a trail run, or during a walk. It starts with declaring the problem, gather all our thoughts together – this is what we do, our mission, our values; create a list of words we like, come up with some initial ideas. Now, let it do it’s thing for a few days. Don’t force anything.

Thanks to Lisa Gerber, Big Leap Creative

#7 – Straying from Generic

Photo Credit: Yuliya Rae

Photo Credit: Yuliya Rae

When choosing a name for my photography business, I wanted to stray from the traditional First Name Last Name Photography, feeling it would be too generic and, given my name spelling, impossible to locate on the web. I started playing with words that signified the ability to open and close, allowing things to be hidden or revealed. Zipperture is a combination of the words zipper and aperture – the changing blades sitting on the camera’s opening and letting in certain amounts of light onto the sensor. As I was focusing on empowering women through photography, I felt like this word perfectly described my business’s moldable nature to fit the woman I would be photographing. My business name allowed me to have more conversations where I could convey my passion and message thanks to people being curious about its meaning.

Thanks to Yuliya Rae, Zipperture Photography

#8 – A Running Joke

Photo Credit: Audie Chamberlain

Photo Credit: Audie Chamberlain

Finding a name took a long time. My business partner and I went back and forth for months and there were a few URLs that we bought to test out. We ran names by our closest mentors and friends and nothing quite felt right. We wanted something that had drew attention, that stood out, and that felt a little special. In the end the answer was right in front of us all along. Before I started my business I went to a conference in Hawaii called Worthshop and one of the speakers was Jody Burr who talked about finding your inner CEO. She took us on a meditative exercise to call forth our inner CEO. I’m a Leo and a lion was one of the things that immediately came to mind but I also saw a glowing orb. That imagery stayed with me long after the conference and it became a bit of a running joke between my business partner and I but really it was the name that best conveyed what we wanted to provide: power, connections, influence, and a touch of magic.

Thanks to Audie Chamberlain, Lion & Orb

#9 – From an Email

Photo Credit: Susan Snyder

Photo Credit: Susan Snyder

Our financial services firm is named Single Point Partners. The name came from an email from a prospective client. As we were building our firm we had a clear vision of the service we were offering, however, the name was a difficult process. Then, while still at our former firm, an email came in from a prospective client which perfectly described our new business model. They stated they were looking for a single point of contact for helping to address all their financial affairs. A light bulb went off and Single Point Partners was born. It’s hard to imagine what our company would look like had we gone with one of the other names on our original short list.

Thanks to Susan Snyder, Single Point Partners

#10 – A No-Brainer

Photo Credit: Nanette Miner

Photo Credit: Nanette Miner

Naming my business was a no-brainer. It originally went by another name – Business Visions Consultants – which meant nothing to anyone but me. In addition, it was really hard to be intelligible when answering the phone. It had the old name for 8 years and then, when I was finishing my doctorate, it came to me that I should rename it The Training Doctor (which it has been for 17 years now). The Training Doctor has multiple meanings: first, I have a doctorate, and work in the field of workplace training; secondly, a lot of the work we do is fixing sick training programs – programs that companies have in place, but they aren’t working for some reason (we figure out what is going wrong and re-design the training); and thirdly, the common abbreviation for our field is T+D (training and development) and we often simply use TD to represent The Training Doctor.

Thanks to Nanette Miner, Ed.D, The Training Doctor, LLC

#11 – A Clean Slate

Photo Credit: Liz Theresa

Photo Credit: Liz Theresa

I’m an online marketer and web developer from Boston – when I set out to launch my business, I chose to use my own name since I was launching as a personal brand. My real name is Liz Downey and the funny thing about this is that I never actually hit the ground running with that name. I had freelance gigs sporadically, but never found my groove and never developed a clear brand. So then I decided to change my name – I came to Liz Theresa, which is my first and middle name. And changing my name felt like a clean slate. Liz Theresa became a separate role and identity with no bad memories (not that Liz Downey has many bad memories to begin with), but Liz Theresa never had the same problems Liz Downey had in high school. Liz Theresa was my fresh start. And I’m proud to say (four years later now), I’m still Liz Theresa and really thriving in my business.

Thanks to Liz Theresa

#12 – British Quality

We chose the name ‘Katherine Hamilton Intimates’ to communicate to our customers that we are a UK designer of luxury lingerie. Using my name ‘Katherine’ not only communicates the designer and founder of the brand, but the name also has associations with the British Monarchy which communicates Britishness and quality. Having decided to use my first name, I chose not to use my second name; to market the brand would be to market myself which felt narcissistic and made me feel exposed. I wanted some emotional distance between my professional and my personal life and so we instead chose the name ‘Hamilton’; a name that has been carried through my fathers’ side for generations and therefore continues to communicate the story behind the brand and also credits my heritage. Finally, we chose ‘Intimates’ to communicate our products in a sophisticated fashion.

Thanks to Katherine Payne, Katherine Hamilton Intimates

#13 – From Our Daughter

Photo Credit: Eric Black

Photo Credit: Eric Black

Lyla Tov Monsters name came from the same inspiration as our plush toys…our daughter, Lyla. When she was three years old, Lyla drew a picture of a monster and told her mom, Erin, that she wanted to give it her dad, Eric, as a holiday gift, but that her mom had to help her make it real. That first monster was the inspiration for all future Lyla Tov Monsters. Unlike many monsters in the toy market, that first monster was cute, cuddly and happy looking. Erin thought that it would be a great play on words and Lyla’s name to call them Lyla Tov, which means good night in Hebrew, Monsters and position them as cuddly monsters that could help children sleep knowing they had a monster that was on their side to keep them safe from any bad monsters or other nighttime frights.

Thanks to Eric Black, Lyla Tov Monsters

#14 – Duck, Duck, Goose

Photo Credit: Jordan Havercamp

Photo Credit: Jordan Havercamp

ParkParkGoose is a mobile parking application that was named as an homage to the children’s game of duck duck goose. The goal was to have a quirky name that people will remember, and to bring a level of whimsy to an otherwise stressful and frustrating experience. Parking in major cities across the globe consists of running around in circles just looking for an open space. In the children’s game, you don’t have to stare dumbfounded at a confusing sign wondering if you are allowed to sit down or not, let alone how long you are allowed to stay there. Someone tags you and tells you when you need to get up and go. ParkParkGoose now makes parking as simple and straight forward as the game you loved as a child. You find the open spot, the app takes care of the rest.

Thanks to Jordan Havercamp, ParkParkGoose

 #15 – Human Value of Caring

Photo Credit: Randy Paynter

Photo Credit: Randy Paynter

In the late 90’s when I conceived of the business, grunge music topped the charts and apathy ruled the masses. However, I cared about the world and making a positive impact, and I knew a lot of other people care(d) too. I wanted a name that was about the core human value of caring, not the solution or something that was tied to a specific issue or cause. The name was intended to have multiple meanings but ultimately I saw it as the next generation of caring…Care2. Launched in 1998, Care2 is the world’s largest community for good, with over 35 million members taking daily actions to make a difference in the world.

Thanks to Randy Paynter, Care2

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