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.
Came up with the name while brushing my teeth
I came up with the name of my company, Jaybird Communications, while brushing my teeth. I thought about using my last name, Jakobsen, but it gets misspelled all the time, and I wanted something more inclusive for a future team. I also wanted it to have some sort of musical reference, since I started my career in the music industry. As I brushed away, with these thoughts in my head, the words to “Rockin’ Robin” popped to mind: “He walks through the tree tops all day long, hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and singin’ his song. All the little birds on Jaybird Street…” Jaybird. A nod to my last name (Jay), a musical reference, and bold, colorful, chatty bird seemed a good image for a new public relations firm.
Thanks to Laurie Jakobsen, Jaybird Communications
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Three weeks, two guys, and one name for an autism treatment
When the company was first formed, we were operating under a name that hadn’t been thought out and didn’t connect well with our message. When we were several months away from releasing our Public Beta site, I knew we needed to come up with a name that would suit our message, our vision, and our therapy perfectly. I got together with the chief of technology and the two of us decided we were going to drop everything until we came up with the perfect name. (Little did we know we were committing to three weeks of uninterrupted brainstorming.) We started out by sifting through the dictionary and finding words less than seven letters long—we wanted a name that was short and memorable. We ended up with a list of over 20,000 words. Once the list was created, we picked out all the words that piqued our interest. We had 500. The list was still too big, so we eliminate words that realistically wouldn’t work, such as conifer and yummier. We ended up whittling the list down from 500 hundred to 200 and we eventually stopped when we got to 50. Well, we stopped with English words and we turned to foreign words. We focused on words that could easily be spelled and pronounced in English, but still had a relevant meaning. Then, you guessed it, we made another list. But this list was different from any of our previous ones. This time the computer did all the work. We specified different consonant and vowel patterns, suffixes, and key words, but let the computer turn those guidelines into completely new words. When we finally narrowed our potential company names to 35 words, we ranked each word based on 11 different criteria. After going all the way from 20,000 words, to made up words, to a top ten list, we deliberated and finally—after a long three weeks—came up with our company name, Mendability.
Thanks to Lauren Johnson, Mendability
Aiming high with our name
When online graphic design marketplace 99designs launched in 2008, our name was aspirational: our goal was to have 99 concepts submitted to each customer’s design contest. We just surpassed our 200,000th design contest and have paid out $50 million to designers in 192 countries. The typical 99designs’ customer today gets to choose from more than 120 design concepts. We’re glad we aimed high with our name – and no, we don’t plan to change it!
Thanks to Patrick Llewellyn, 99designs
The importance of achievement and reaching for higher goals
When I first started my consulting practice, I wanted a business name that captured the importance of achievement and reaching for higher goals. I spent hours writing down words on a piece of paper and trying various combinations with no luck. At the time I was coaching my son’s soccer team and it was at a practice that the name of the business just came to me. We were discussing how moving the ball side to side was good for ball control, but in order to score we needed to move the ball vertically down the field. Vertical had been the word I was looking for. I chose VerticalCoach as a symbol of that vertical push we all need to make if we expect to reach our goals. When I expanded my practice to include other services, I realized the name needed to evolve. By naming my business Vertical Business Group, I embraced the idea of a group of services and service providers available to help small businesses overcome obstacles and reach their financial goals. I also kept the Vertical in the name as a reference to the vertical achievement that is the hallmark of the consulting I provide.
Thanks to Will Eisenbrandt, Vertical Business Group
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A symbol for the essence of my work
I was looking for a name that would serve as a symbol for the essence of my work. My company name is Saidiana Productions (in Swahili, help each other). I am a national advocate for the formerly incarcerated and their families. Currently, I am taking my award-winning call-to-action documentary, STAINS:Changing Lives After Incarceration across the country to change America’s mindset, work ethic and general lack of interest as it pertains to this often forgotten population. The name Saidiana filled that prerequisite.
Thanks to Doris Mangrum, Saidiana Productions
A combination of half my first and last name
I currently have a handmade jewelry business with the name House of Zada. Zada is actually a combination of half my first and last name to help me keep the line linked close to my identity without full exposure. As for the term ‘house’, it entails a few things. Growing up, I have received endless compliments on where did you get this or how did you put that together. When I decided to start the jewelry line, I wanted friends, family and outsiders to see my vision up close and personal just as you let someone into your house and allow them to see what you are all about. Also, down the road, I plan on expanding the line to include different types of accessories including high quality handbags and clutches and potentially a clothing line. This allows the term ‘house’ to serve as an umbrella term for my empire. Hope it helps.
Thanks to Nada Zaki, House of Zada
Connecting with a unique word
My co-founders and I had a very unique business name process. We created Jossle (www.jossle.org) the very weekend before finals of last year. Spending the entire three days to flush out the concept and create the website, virtually gaining no more than 8 hours of sleep each that entire weekend. On one of these days we resorted to actually studying for our finals. During my studying, I asked my co-founder Eric Muli how I should study for a class called OEM. He replied that I should use my study sheet for TOM, breeze through OB, and “jossle” through TOM. Immediately I had a strong feeling about this word. I asked him what it meant to which he replied it was african slang for hustle. Delighted I immediately sent a group message to my other co-founders that this would be our name, to which everyone came to a unanimous agreement. Hustle is exactly what we envisioned the venture to be about. We wanted it to symbolize “the new hustle” for college students, due to the very nature of it.
Thanks to Daquan Oliver, Jossle
Not following the naming trend
When Northern Light was searching for a name, we hired a naming consultant that interviewed everyone on the staff, studied competitors and company naming trends, and came up with 5,000 suggestions. We hated them all. Then my administrative assistant suggested to me that we name the company after a clipper ship. The imagery of speed and elegance was immediately obvious. She went to the library and checked out a book that had an alphabetically-sequenced chapter on every clipper ship built in the United States. We sat together, flipping through all the clipper ship names one page at a time. Pretty far into the book, we turned the page to “Northern Light,” and both of us sat back and looked at one another. It felt obviously right. Just jumped off the page. When we read the accompanying text about the Northern Light we got even more excited. She was built in Boston; she had a radical new design that turned out to be the best technology of her era; and she was a commercial success. We never considered another name from the instant we turned that page in the book.
Thanks to David Seuss, Northern Light
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Living the dream
My company name is Living The Dream Inc. When I decided to start my own practice I wondered what name to use if any other than mine. One day I was walking to the gym and I was talking to a friend about how having my own practice would be completing the dream life for me, and the light but went off. Living The Dream. One of the best parts of the name is that since I am an introvert, when I am at networking events, I can write it prominently on my name badge and people just can’t help but coming up and asking me about it. It is one the best decisions I’ve made.
Thanks to Judi Cinéas, Living The Dream Inc.
Using an acronym
TIGERS® is an acronym and that’s the end of the story, not the beginning. I wanted to know what makes a good group of people truly great. And, by great I defined them as ethical, quality-focused, productive and successful. I qualified success to mean that not only do group members achieve goals; they also feel personally satisfied and happy, too. So two decades ago I reviewed all the research I could find in business, education and psychology group dynamic studies. Out of this work six principles that build high levels of collaboration in teams and in work culture emerged. These principles are trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success. They form the acronym TIGERS®. And, just like healthy tigers track their dinner, healthy teams and work cultures can also track these principles within the team dynamic. And just like the fur pattern on the face of a tiger is as unique as a human finger print so is each team. Therefore, being able to track these six principles within the team dynamic is important to providing on target team interventions that improve team effectiveness. After two decades of helping outstanding leaders nurture the heart beat of these principles in their work culture, I have the great satisfaction of knowing that a few are now listed in the top 100 most ethical leaders in the country. This means that thousands of employees have experienced work cultures that are roaring successes and a happy and rewarding place to be.
Thanks to Dianne Crampton, TIGERS Success Series
Creating buzz for our clients
In July 2009, on a hot South Florida afternoon in the midst of the recession, Julie Mullen and I decided to start our own PR agency, after having worked independently. Once we made a decision to launch the company, we moved quickly and within hours we were on the phone with each other brainstorming on names. We wanted “agency” in the title, since we are a PR agency, and kept throwing around the fact that we generate buzz for our clients. We came up with Buzz Agency, but that was taken! So we grabbled “The Buzz Agency” and it’s been a hit from day one. Since that time, we’ve grown into an agency with six team members and have beautiful and highly visible office on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach, Florida. Our revenues and client base have steadily grown, and we attribute part of that to our catchy name!
Thanks to Elizabeth Kelley Grace, The Buzz Agency
Focusing on what consumers relate to
We knew that the name of our business had to not only be special, but also be relatable to our consumers. Joss is a loose translation meaning good luck. Main comes from Main Street, as in the location where consumers find their most trusted retail stores. At the intersection of Joss & Main, consumers will find a destination for the perfect home décor item, will have supreme customer service, and will continue to come back even just to window shop.
Thanks to John Mulliken, Joss & Main
Mixing different parts of a name
I had left a Chief Financial Officer position two years ago, when the market for CFO positions was slow. I realized that many small to medium-sized companies desperately needed executive-level expertise, even if just on a project basis. So, I launched Harvin Consulting LLC in August 2011.As for the name, I didn’t want to use my own name, yet wanted one that would be easily remembered.So, I took the first three letters of my last name (“Har”) and the last three letters of my first name (“vin”) to create “Harvin” Consulting. Of course, I quickly realized that was a real last name, and it stuck. These days, Harvin provides “On Call” CFO and Project Management services to companies in all phases of their life cycle, especially start-up, distressed and wind-down.
Thanks to Calvin Harris Jr., Harvin Consulting LLC
Describing what our business does
At the time I created WhatRunsWhere there was no service that did what we did, so there was not really even a commonly used name for the type of service I was making. We had to introduce people not just to our product, but to the concept behind the service. Because of that we decided we wanted a name that could depict what the product actually did. “WhatRunsWhere” was the answer – a memorable name that gave had the added benefit of starting to answer the question “What can your data tell us?
Thanks to Mike Cojanu, WhatRunsWhere
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Simplest, most direct way to describe our business
We had a lot of fun with students testing out different names for our academic success seminars and products. We asked them to come up with examples of how they would advertise to other students. It was surprising that they avoided ‘comic’ or ‘cute’ in favor of very descriptive, simple names. In the end School Skills name was the simplest, most direct way to describe what we deliver.
Thanks to Chris Tobias, Educational Excitement
Covered all year round
As we were getting ready to start our new insurance agency, we were trying to come up with a name that represents cover because insurance is something that covers and protects. One of the things covering a person is a Tree, from there the decision was easy. We went with the name Evergreen because A Evergreen Tree is covered all year round. In 2012 When switched from doing all types of insurance to only doing insurance for real estate, we created our tagline ‘Insurance for Real’.
Thanks to Izzy Green, Evergreen Insurance & Risk Management
Inspired by a memory of my favorite quality guru
I thought long and hard about a name for my healthcare improvement consulting company. I was inspired one day by a memory of my favorite “quality guru” and author, Dr. W. Edwards Deming. In his management philosophy, the first step was to have “constancy of purpose” over the long-term, a sense of mission and purpose that goes well beyond just making this quarter’s financial targets. Hence, the name of my firm…. Constancy, Inc. Clients who are also a fan of Deming’s quality improvement methodologies recognize the name and give it a knowing nod when I meet them.
Thanks to Mark Graban, Quotes from Health Kaizen
To go beyond being a “consultant”
I founded Eco-Coach in order to promote environmental awareness and provide businesses and individuals with services and tools to ease the transition to a more environmentally sustainable way of doing business. The name arose from the fact that as a consultant, we act as a “coach” for my clients – providing the knowledge, tools, & encouragement to help them succeed and achieve their fullest potential. I love getting to teach others how they can improve their bottom line while helping the planet, and am proud to have clients consider myself and my colleagues as their personal “eco-coach” to help them improve their businesses!
Thanks to Anca Novacovici, Eco-Coach, Inc.
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Like the Japanese poetry form
Our mission is to make presentations simple, beautiful, and fun. Like the Japanese poem that inspired our name, our free iPad app gently applies constraints to unlock creativity. Limiting the text on each slide to just one or two lines encourages you to keep your message focused. Illustrating each point with an evocative image (from our built-in keyword search, which puts millions of beautiful, high-quality Creative Commons-licensed photos at your fingertips), taps into your audience’s emotions with powerful poetic imagery. And keeping formatting consistent by using one of our professionally designed layout options makes your work feel polished and cohesive. The haiku inspiration carries through to one of our classic theme options, Five Seven Five. (Below is a screenshot of the app showing the Five Seven Five theme, and here’s an example of a Haiku Deck created with it.) We have even had fans make Haiku Deck haikus! But our Gallery is evidence that giving our community some rules, or best practices to apply, as well as some inspiration, leads to an outpouring of creativity and beauty. When it comes to presentations, we believe less is more, and that everybody has beautiful, poetic stories waiting to be set free!
Thanks to Adam Tratt, Haiku Deck