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.
Putting a smile on your customers face
I got laid off from Microsoft last Summer and instead of moping about decided to see it as an opportunity to start my own business. I'd been leading Microsoft's foray into social media marketing and digital PR, and so decided to start a consultancy based on that experience and call my company Delightful Communications. Our world is becoming increasingly crowded with digital devices and platforms, so it's more and more important for companies to stand out and be brilliant online.. Delightful helps them do just that. Putting a smile on your customers' face, making them feel engaged with your brand, and using social to increase trust are all crucial components of today's integrated marketing plans. My customers are delighted with the results I help them achieve.
Thanks to Mel Carson, Delightful Communications
Using the Latin dictionary
Coming from the world of corporate advertising and media, I've seen countless exercises in futility to find just the right name for just about every product, service or company out there – and these are creative people! One of the biggest snags is trademarks – nobody in a corporate setting wants to fall in love with an idea or name and then be told by legal later on that they can't use it. When I was contemplating starting my own emerging media consulting/advisory firm, my temptation was to do the trendy thing and fuse together two completely unrelated words (capitalizing the second word, of course – like “HappyBread” or “GreenElephant”) that somehow conveyed a bit of where our work was going to be focused. Nothing clicked, and if it was close, it felt trite (I am *not* going to share the short list!). So I did what I've always done in my corporate work – strip things down to the simplest and most essential idea and go from there. For me, it was the Latin dictionary – the biggest foundational root of the English language. “Vertere” is clean, simple and rarely used verb which means “to turn, to change, to evolve” – which is exactly our mission with the firm: help marketers, media companies and financial folks understand and adapt to the fast-changing nature of media and technology – and benefit in the process. After that, settling on a logo was easy – spinning Saturn-like rings!
Thanks to Tim Hanlon, The Vertere Group, LLC
A name that stands out
I founded The Options Lady to inspire, educate and empower women to become successful self-directed investors in the stock and options market. The are very few female options traders and even fewer female options trading coaches so I wanted a name that stands out. A few months ago I was at a conference dominated by men and one investment executive shouted in the hallway, “Hey! There's The Options Lady!” It made me feel like a superhero.
Thanks to Laurie Itkin, The Options Lady
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Building bridges between different audiences
It's called Bridge Strategic Communications. It's a PR firm that focuses on clients in the entertainment and media sectors. I came up with the name for two reasons: 1. PR builds bridges between different audiences and publics and hence, it was appropriate in my mind. 2. I also created my logo as a bridge and one in particular – it's in Boston and it's called the Leonard P Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge. It's named after my brother and was done as he, as head of the Anti Defamation League in New England, was a leader in building “bridges” between all people – Jews, African Americans, Asian, gays, etc., – to create mutual understanding of each's culture so people could peacefully co-exist. The story of how the bridge became to be named after him is a great one and is always inspiring to potential clients.
Thanks to Stu Zakim, Bridge Strategic Communications
An idea from our friend Maria
After working 20 years in corporate America, my husband Warren and I were woken up to the idea that life is short – way too short to put off big dreams. Our friend Maria was struck with a brain aneurysm in her 30s, and we asked ourselves that day, “How would we change our lives if we knew we weren't going to make it to 40?” It sounds a little morbid, but it really clarified our options. We decided that day to save the money, quit our jobs, and take a trip around the world with nothing but our backpacks. When our friend Maria was in recovery several weeks later we told her of our decision, and right off the top of her head she said, “oh, like a Married with Luggage kind of thing?” (Even with a brain aneurysm, she was still thinking like a smart branding expert.) From that day forward we called ourselves Married with Luggage, and it has spawned a lifestyle media company with books, videos, and classes for people who want to make a big change in their lives but simply don't know where to start. we've been actively traveling the world since 2010 with no intention of stopping – practicing what we preach, of course!
Thanks to Betsy and Warren Talbot, Married with Luggage
A tribute to my Colombian heritage
My business name is Toro Consulting, Inc. I chose my name to give tribute to my Colombian heritage. When I started my practice, I tried to consider things that could intertwine my business and my heritage. My mother used to go to bullfights in the 1940s in Colombia and often talked about her experience. I decided that the Spanish name for bull – Toro – would be my name to symbolize strength. My graphics designer asked if I had anything I could use as a guide to create a logo. I found an old book my mother had from the 1940s from Colombia. My graphics person found the perfect bull to be unique just to me. I am often asked how I came up with the name. This is my story!
Thanks to Dan Weedin, Toro Consulting, Inc.
World Wide Web and more
I founded W3 Group in 2006. The “W3” actually stands for several things. The first, World Wide Web, makes sense because we help companies use the Web to market more effectively and grow their businesses. The second is “Win-Win-Win,” which is the kind of situations we seek to find and create. If our clients win, and their customers win, naturally we'll win as well. There are many other ways win-win-win relationships can be structured. We even use the slogan “We help you Win on the Web.” The third relates to my name, David Wright. “Wright-san” is “Mr. Wright” in Japanese (I lived in Japan for nearly 6 years), but the word “san” also means “three” –> thus the W3.
Thanks to David Wright, W3 Group Marketing
A name to fit my niche and allowed room for growth
When I got the idea to start a website focused on large dog supplies, I wanted a name that both fit my niche and allowed the company room to grow. I sat down with family one rainy afternoon and we brainstormed names. My husband and sister grabbed a dictionary and flipped open to the “P” section to find words that would go with “paw.” Finally, they saw it: Posse. It suggests a certain toughness and ruggedness, which people commonly associate with big dogs; it suggests a community, which big dog lovers certainly are; and Paw Posse would fit once we grew beyond our initial niche. Best of all, the domain pawposse.com was available so I bought it immediately. Today, PawPosse.com is a profitable retail site with the #1 ranked Large Dog Blog.
Thanks to Sonia Charry, PawPosse
They might not have remembered my name…
We were originally part of a franchise who had high hopes and a great big “Of America” name but their sales pitch was “local, community based”. The name didn't fit with the sales approach. As I went out and sold more – security guards, receptionists and customers – would not remember my name (Mary) nor would they correctly remember the name of the great big franchise “of America” name – but they did remember that I was “that DNA Lady”. And so, in 2009 I became “The DNA Lady”. Easy to remember, more in tune with the friendly, community sales approach. In history, there is the dark lady of DNA who is very rarely spoken about or acknowledged in terms of her contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA. I can relate! I can see a DNA Lady in every city in America – if I had the funds and backing.
Thanks to Mary Sullivan, DNA Lady
Two fresh words working together
Based on the above, what do you have to offer? Give me a brief pitch below. Answer: My marketing company services for profit companies and those practicing corporate citizenship. As such, I needed a name that covered both and like the cobbler, I needed a name that really marketed well what I sell, to whom and why it was great. It needed to reflect the strategic spirit by which I consult my clients. I had long liked Mint Marketing but it was taken and otherwise, just not right. Green was too overused so a friend suggested combining them: Mint = fresh, making money as in “a mint or minting”, green = ecofriendly but also money and fresh thus together they worked perfectly.
Thanks to Alyssa Dver, Mint Green Marketing
Named for my fluffy pink bunny, Mary
The company name is Zen Rabbit. When I was an infant, my mom bought a pink stuffed rabbit for me at what is now Macy's. She quickly figured out that I wouldn't sleep if this particular animal was not in the crib with me. As I got a older, I would rub her soft ears as a comfort. Somewhere along the way, she acquired the name Mary. There's a picture on my website of me at two years old with Mary in my clutches. You see that one hand is rubbing her ear and I'm in a bit of a meditative state. Mary was my original Zen Rabbit. When I started my company and was searching for a name, friends kept saying that the signature product, Gratitude Cookies, gave them the feeling of getting a big hug from someone they cared about. I translated that to mean “taking them to a Zen place of calm.” Hey, that's the same thing Mary did! Wouldn't it be cool to call the company Zen Rabbit?! Even cooler is the social acceptability of eating “Zen Rabbit” cookies in public. Because, you know, not everyone thinks it's okay for adults to be rubbing the ears of a stuffed bunny in public. Either way though, you get to the same place of blissful happiness.
Thanks to Lori Saitz, Zen Rabbit
Having a positive name
We wanted a name that had three elements – it expressed our services, it sounded positive, and it had to be completely unique. We're a digital marketing company, so we first made a list of all the potential words we could use – the main three were digital, online, and internet. We then added positive words to the end of those, such as benefits, optimism, or delight, and made a list of the combinations we believe sounded like a business we would want to work for. Finally, we checked every single nook and cranny we could to make sure that no one had ever created a company or even written an article that capitalized on the phrase we use – and ever since creating Online Optimism, we'd never looked back.
Thanks to Flynn Zaiger, Online Optimism
The inferior name turned out to be the perfect fit
Our eco-friendly online boutique is called Nancy's Gone Green. Naming the business was such a struggle – as an online retailer it was essential for us to find an available domain name that fit our brand's personality and had some relation to what we were selling. We tried literally hundreds of domains, all of which were taken (and parked by companies trying to sell them at a huge markup)! We finally started playing with our own names (mother-daughter co-owners Nancy and Mary) and we had a hit! At first we thought we were settling for an inferior name, and that we would eventually pony up the money to buy a “premium” domain name, but our name has stuck and five years later we haven't changed a thing.
Thanks to Mary Savoca, Nancy's Gone Green
Honoring my mother and maternal grandmother
I came up with the name of my family’s business, EmmGerri, as a way to honor both my mother and my maternal grandmother. Gerri is the nickname for my mother, Geraldine, a nurse who created a rich, moisturizing cream on our kitchen stove more than 25 years ago. Our friends tried it over the years and insisted we start selling it. This body lotion is what launched our company. Geraldine’s mother, Emma, was a woman who took great care of her skin, so I thought it only fitting to include her name as well. We also use the French pronunciation of the letter, “g,” to give the name a nice flow. I think incorporating my grandmother’s name is a way to honor the past while also paying tribute to my mother who started it all on our kitchen stove!
Thanks to Karen Jordan, EmmGerri
Putting it on ‘my tab'
I was thinking of a catchy yet simple name and kept going around and around with the word ‘the card' but that wasn't resonating with any key associations. Then I realized one day, when money goes onto your bar account, you say it's on ‘your tab.' So with that thinking in mind, I conceptualized changing the connotation of a bar tab to a more positive tab that you do want people to add cash towards. And from there, myTab was born! It actually took about 3 minutes to shout ‘put it on myTab' while I was walking up Van Ness St (at Geary St) in San Francisco and immediately the strap line came to me ‘now you can bank on travel' right after confirming the company name. Bank on travel double meaning – you can count on taking that dream trip with funds in your account (gifted and/or saved) and myTab's like your personal travel bank: myTab, now you can bank on travel.
Thanks to Heddi Cundle, myTab
A name to remind me I survived my greatest fear
There I was, at a Tony Robbins seminar, not knowing what to expect, when BAM, we were told we'd be walking on hot coals by the end of the evening. Several hours later, jazzed up with his hi-powered presentation, I found myself standing next to 200 people, all of us jumping up and down screaming YES YES YES! Then we lined up to walk over those coals…and it was over before I knew it. I had done it, I had faced down mankind's oldest fear…FIRE. That's when I decided to name my company FireWalker Publications, so I'd never forget that if I could survive my greatest fear, everything else was small potatoes!
Thanks to Diane Tegarden, FireWalker Publications
Related Post: Source of Entrepreneurial Confidence and Fears
A marriage between art and text
In 1992 I started a small company named Wilhe Publishing, Inc. The idea was to create and sell inspirational posters. The posters would be of poems I had written. So, the name I came up with was “Poartry”. Poartry was the marriage between ‘art' and ‘poetry'. My business never got off the ground. Fastforward to 2011; I dusted off the old idea of Poartry. This time I wanted to create posters of my own unique and original inspirational quotes. I still had copies of the first “Poartry” poster entitled, Lady Feminique. Since then, I had written a poem that I like very much. It is entitled Now.This presented a new problem with the old name “Poartry”. It did not encompass quotes. I needed a name that would encompass both. I searched the recesses of my mind and came up with the name “Arttextry”. Arttextry is the marriage between ‘art' and ‘text'.
Thanks to William Garcia, Arttextry
Immediately striking a chord with potential clients
First, there was a book from my childhood that I absolutely adored- it was called Absolutely Normal Chaos. I loved the book because it dealt with an adolescent girl dealing with all the craziness life can throw at her and getting through it. Professional Organizing is often approached in a way where women who are already great at being organized are telling women who struggle with organization, mess, busy lives and ADD how they do things themselves. I feel that this isn't very effective. Since I am ADHD myself and I have had to overcome my own disorganization and attention issues, I teach from the perspective that chaos is normal and how to make it normal and the best ways to get through it. Typical rags to riches story I guess. I just felt that the name of my business had to not only immediately strike a chord in my potential clients, but it had to resonate deeply with me and what it is that I actually do.
Thanks to Monica Fay, Totally Normal Chaos
Being bold and courageous
In a culture overrun with violent images and messages of settling for society's standard of what is ‘normal', we at Barnabas want to say something different. We say: ‘Be bold and courageous!' And we want to encourage anyone and everyone to be fearless in making choices that make a difference in their life as well as those around them. We think the best way to get that message out is to be examples of this message and be intentional about living our lives with purpose and action – to live a life worth imitating. So, Barnabas is more than a brand or a logo — it's an identity and lifestyle. The actual meaning of the name is “Son of Encouragement,” and here at Barnabas we see our purpose as just that – To be people of encouragement in every aspect of our lives – with what we say, what we do and even with the clothes we wear.
Thanks to Julie Pocino, Barnabas Clothing Co.
Hooking the talent
After doodling my way through too many breakfast speakers at my regular Wednesday morning business networking group, I was determined to have the word ‘talent' included in my company name. I felt my business name and my logo should audibly and visually demonstrate who our business served. That was the first goal. The second goal was to have a name that was easy to remember. When I would meet small business professionals at a networking event, I always remembered those company names that used the last name of the founder or owner. The name tended to stick more than if it was a generic name or an acronym of letters from the owner. My married name is Hook which is also a functional verb: to hook, to be hooked.. Because I coach talent but also recruit talent, Hook The Talent seemed ideal. For individuals, I coach them to hook the talent they need to make the career change they want. For companies, I hook the talent they need for those hard-to-fill positions. How cool is that? And of course, my logo takes it even further. There's a person with a briefcase and a big hook reeling them in. The person has a graduation cap on their head. Why? Because my market niche are those professionals who are considering a graduate degree as a component of their career change, or who have already graduated with a master's degree and want to be hooked by a company.
Thanks to Rosemary Guzman Hook, Hook The Talent, Inc.