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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 – Finding a Domain

Photo Credit: Aalap Shah

Photo Credit: Aalap Shah

Our name came from very humble origins.  About 5 years ago, my business partner and I were debating on whether to spend $2,250 for a branded domain from an online domain brokerage and had fallen in love with a techy name for our marketing firm.  We thought it’d be really neat to have a techy name and something that was made-up vs. using our last names for our agency.   As I was about to fill in the credit card information, my partner mentioned how we were working on social media and that it’d be interesting if we just took the so from social and the me from media to create our company.  We both thought it was an awesome idea and it was free – but, of course, some.com was taken by aband in Australia.  Because it was already taken we decided the next best option was to add connect in it –> as we would use social media to connect our brands and fans together.  Thus, our company, SoMe Connect was born.

Thanks to Aalap Shah, SoMe Connect

#2 – Being Friendly

As an insurance agent, it’s not imperative but crucial to understand that it’s not the company you write for that attracts new business but it’s you. The client buys you for whatever your value added proposition is. For me, I happen to write for an insurance company that is over 100+ years, however the brand is neither great or bad; it’s just good. In fact, very few have heard of them. So since it’s me that the client buys, who exactly is me? Since I was a kid, my friends always made fun of me because I spoke to everyone. Didn’t matter who you were or how old you were, I always found a reason to strike up a conversation. I purchased my first home back in 1995 and it was obvious that most on our street were also first-time buyers. Not knowing anyone’s name I naturally waved to everyone that walked or drove by. After a while people were asking who I was and at that point not knowing my name, people referred to me as The Friendly Guy. 21 years later, I needed to take a look at my brand. It was then I was reminded I have always been a friendly guy. June 2016 Friendly Guy Insurance was rolled out and it is now my logo and is used for all of my marketing campaigns.

Thanks to James Freeman, Friendly Guy Insurance

#3 – Finding Passion

Photo Credit: Sam Kearns

Photo Credit: Sam Kerns

I chose to call my business RainMaker Press because it’s my passion to teach people how to quit the rat race and build a life based on their dreams and passions. I’ve been in business for myself for more than twenty years, and now I write books that teach others to do the same. Anyone can become a rainmaker in their own life. All it takes is passion, knowledge and guidance. At the root of every success story is someone who decided to stop working for others, and instead begin building their own dreams. My business name represents my passion–to teach others how to become rainmakers in their own life.

Thanks to Sam Kerns, RainMaker Press

#4 – Not Emo

Photo Credit: Erin Morris

Photo Credit: Erin Morris

My original business name was Emo Studios, which was a disaster. I am not an emo designer. Emo was my nickname, I thought it was cute. When I decided to get serious about freelancing and turn that into a legit small business, I knew the first thing I needed to do was rebrand my business. I chose Evergreen Design Studio after a lot of brainstorming around what excited me, what type of people I wanted to work with, and what type of values my company represents. I did a lot of research into my target client’s lifestyle, likes, dislikes, habits. I did a lot of soul searching about what inspired me. The one common thread throughout was nature. Evergreen represents that and also conveys the values of freshness, honesty, and quality – Evergreen’s designs are strong and withstand the test of time.

Thanks to Erin Morris, Evergreen Design Studio

#5 – Making Up Words

Photo Credit: Shireen Jaffer

Photo Credit: Shireen Jaffer

We wanted our name to reflect our mission, and we also wanted it to resonate with our young student audience. That meant it had to be cool! We made a list of all the words that resonated with our mission, and started experimenting by putting two words together and seeing if the made-up word resonated. Since we focus on skill-building, skills was a keyword. We also empower students to develop a variety of skills, and to develop skills outside of those learned at school, so diversify was also a word. We put the two together and came up with Skillify!

Thanks to Shireen Jaffer, Skillify

#6 – Horse Withers

Photo Credit: Andrea Hall

Photo Credit: Andrea Hall

I started this new equine coaching business about a year ago and was on the quest for a business name that incorporated what I did and of course resonated with me. I finally settled on Withers Whisper, LLC. The withers on the horse is the first place a mother grabs and nuzzles the foul. It ensures safety and security. My business does both for the clients I am working with. My niche is lawyers, people who have been involved in the legal system and couples wanting to work on their relationships. Horses are so clairsentent, spiritual and energy healers that the whisper of the horse is magical and all knowing. The horses are the best lie detectors on earth. When people leave after a session they will forever be changed. The whisper of the horse echoes the spirit of the soul.

Thanks to Andrea Hall, Withers Whisper, LLC

#7 – Based on History

We chose our business name, Bavarian Clockworks, based on the history of our product. The original cuckoo clock was created in the 17th century in the Black Forest region of Bavaria, Germany. Craftsmen in the area used logs from the local forest to carve elaborate clocks. Our company name is designed to preserve this rich tradition and provide reference to the birthplace of our industry.

Thanks to Bob Ellis, Bavarian Clockworks

#8 – A Higher Standard

Photo Credit: Lynette Smith

Photo Credit: Lynette Smith

In 2003 I selected and filed on the name All My Best for my copyediting business, a sole proprietorship, in order to hold myself to a higher standard and to imply a promise of high quality to my prospective clients. At that time, I selected, as my business subtitle, Business and Nonfiction Copyediting. Seven years later, I wrote and indie-published the comprehensive reference book, How to Write Heartfelt Letters to Treasure: For Special Occasions and Occasions Made Special, and I changed my business subtitle to Copyediting and Heartfelt Publishing. Happily, All My Best also implied the complimentary close for a personal or business letter, so the name adapted well. My tagline for this new iteration is Building Results, Respect, and Relationships, which also works well for both aspects of my business.

Thanks to Lynette Smith, All My Best

#9 – A Perfect Metaphor

Photo Credit: Heath Fradkoff

Photo Credit: Heath Fradkoff

I’ve always thought the location a perfect metaphor. For more than two hundred years this been the place where goods come ashore and finally reach the consumers for whom they were created. That’s also what effective marketing does: it helps creators find safe harbor and deliver their crafts to the waiting public. Ward 6 Marketing was developed to help makers in technology, media, and creative fields traverse a sea of competition and land solidly with target customers.

Thanks to Heath Fradkoff, Ward 6 Marketing

#10 – Norse Mythology

Photo Credit: Armando Gonzalez

Photo Credit: Armando Gonzalez

At RavenPack, we scour the world for information to give our clients an advantage. We lead our clients to untapped sources of value. In Norse legend, the god Odin was attended by two ravens: Huginn and Muninn. Huginn represented thought and Muninn represented memory. The two ravens would scour the world for information each day, returning to tell Odin what they had learned. Hence Odin would possess superior levels of knowledge or information about the world. Hence the name RavenPack – a ‘pack of ravens’ scouring the world’s leading information sources to give leading financial institutions an edge. Our logo too is meant to depict a pack of ravens in abstract form. But the symbology doesn’t end with Norse mythology. Ravens are also widely thought to be the most intelligent of birds, often leading hunters to their prey in return for a share of the spoils. For example, in Yellowstone National Park, they have been observed leading wolves to prey. In turn the wolves don’t object to the ravens having a share. To form this bond of trust they are seen playing with wolf cubs. In the Arctic, meanwhile, they are known to have led Inuit hunting parties to their prey. In return, the hunters offered some choice cuts for the birds.

Thanks to Armando Gonzalez, RavenPack

#11 – Wisdom and Learning

Photo Credit: Mari Anne Snow

Photo Credit: Mari Anne Snow

When I first started as an entrepreneur in 2009, I was pretty scared. It was the depths of the recession and a tough time to get a business off the ground so I wanted a name that meant something to me personally yet represented us well to our clients. Sophia is the Greek word for wisdom. My first business, SophiaThink, is all about wise thinking and sound problem solving. Sophaya is a derivation of SophiaThink…it’s the phonetic spelling of Sophia so we carried forward the wisdom and learning from my first business, SophiaThink, to my second, Sophaya. I’m very proud of both my businesses and I love, love, love the names and when people ask me about them, I love telling the story.

Thanks to Mari Anne Snow, Sophaya

#12 – Perfect Description

One of the most difficult and time consuming decisions we had to make as a startup was to select a company name that would reflect our product and brand. After many different possibilities, we decided on Lifestone since our device could be lifesaving, was small, pocket-sized, and looked like a small stone. It’s also a very simple name to remember. In hindsight, I think we picked the perfect name to reflect our wellness product.

Thanks to Anlynn Liu, Lifestone

#13 – Power of Subconscious

Photo Credit: Daniel Lofaso

Photo Credit: Daniel Lofaso

Before doing logical planning on availability of a business name and an associated domain, I actually would go to bed thinking of what a good digital marketing company business name would be. It’s amazing the power of your subconscious when you let it flow. I knew I wanted something relevant to digital marketing, but not so generic that it would be really boring. I also wanted something that didn’t have my name in it in the event I wanted to sell my company in the future. After I woke I up with some great ideas, I practiced what I preached to my marketing clients. First, I did my research to find out if my name was already taken by other businesses, researched domains, checked copyright documents, and perused social media to ensure I could get my brand name all across the digital web the way I wanted it to appear. Then, I Googled my potential business name to determine the context of it and to ensure it wasn’t so generic that I could never rank for specific searches of it. The Digital Elevator was born from this process.

Thanks to Daniel Lofaso, The Digital Elevator

#14 – Regional History

Photo Credit: John Knolle

Photo Credit: John Knolle

In the Wealth Management and Financial Planning world, it’s easy to simply use your surname as the name of your company. However, when it comes time to sell the company it could be a detriment, since the namesake advisor will no longer be associated with the firm. This change can lead to an expensive and often times confusing rebranding. Aware of this concern, I steered clear of my own name as well as the boring top of the mountain names commonly found in this field like, Summit or Pinnacle. I chose my name for its uniqueness to the area, its history within the region, and the simplicity of its spelling. The name, Saranap dates back over 100 years when a commuter train cut across California, connecting Oakland to Sacramento. My practice is based in Walnut Creek where the local station, Saranap, was named for the railway developer’s mother, Sara Napthaly. The station is no longer in existence as the railway was replaced by paved roads and automobiles but the geographic region still bears the name.

Thanks to John Knolle, Saranap Wealth Advisors, LLC

 #15 – My First Red Shoes

Photo Credit: Lisa Cruz

Photo Credit: Lisa Cruz

As a small business startup back in 2008, we knew we needed a name that stood out, to differentiate ourselves. The name also had to represent confidence (because in 2008 there wasn’t a lot of that going around). While we bantered around names for a few weeks, nothing felt right. Eventually we landed on Red Shoes PR. This name came from the first pair of red shoes I bought in 2006. I was heading to a wedding but didn’t have shoes to wear with my dress. My cousin brought me shoe shopping and told me I needed to buy a pair of red, strappy shoes. Thereafter, anytime I wore these red shoes people commented on them. The name represents what we do for our clients, through PR, to get people talking about their brand. Eight and a half years later, the brand is stronger than ever. Every employee is required to wear red shoes every day. The first benefit we offered employees was a quarterly shoe allowance to purchase red shoes. People love the brand. It’s not uncommon for job seekers, clients and colleagues to show up in red shoes. Today, red shoes represent even more than what we anticipated. It represents strong, confident women who lean in every single day, in many different ways, big and small.

Thanks to Lisa Cruz, Red Shoes PR

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