Would you like to provide an answer to our weekly questions? Sign up for our newsletter to get the questions delivered each week to your inbox.
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.
Taking advantage of misspellings, merging words and made up words
In today’s marketplace, business names include made up words, misspellings, and the merging of multiple words together to form a new meaning. I took advantage of all three of these common practices while keeping in mind that we wanted our business name to be: easy to remember and describe our business. SpendLO actually states what a customer does when they work with us. They spend lower amounts of money on services because we offer a platform where they can name their own price on any service. Not only was this easy to remember and easy to spell, it is accurate description of our company and our value proposition. This also quickly helped us form our tagline: “SpendLOW. SpendLOCAL.” Our company name reinforces how we want to stimulate the local economy yet place the control of price back in the hands of the consumer. My advice is to simply be creative when formulating a name. It does not have to abide by any rules anymore. Just choose something that will stick with your customers and stand out from the crowd.
Thanks to Corey Leff, spendLO
It’s all Gravy
Gravy was originally named timeRAZOR. We landed on timeRAZOR when we founded the company as we knew the technology we were building were ultimately going to help people save time so we thought the visual of razor paired with time was appropriate. As we grew and evolved the company we witnessed the business grow from a caterpillar to a butterfly. While we were still saving people time, we were actually connecting them with all of the good stuff going on around them. We heard this again and again from our users so we decided to change the name from timeRAZOR to something that represented the good stuff – Gravy.
Thanks to Victoria Clark, Gravy
A nod to the constitution
The Unites States is unique in that we list patent protection directly in our Constitution (Article 1 Clause 8, Section 8). The world also looks to the U.S. to solve its worldwide patent conflicts. At the same time, the U.S. is improving its patent laws to harmonize with international laws such as adopting a first to file approach to seeking patent protection and creating a patent superhighway to support collaboration between international patent offices. In a sense, the world is becoming partners in the patent system. Patents are recognized as an asset class. The challenge of determining the validity (whether the patent should have been granted in the first place) and therefore value of patents is a critical business need. Article One Partners acts as a true partner to global companies to help them gain value from patents and to defend against patent litigation.
Thanks to Cheryl Milone, Article One Partners
Related Post: Most Influential Female Business Leaders
Being a hub for business professionals
In our former lives, we regularly traveled across the country and around the world, and were consistently subjected to sub-par meeting spaces. We lamented about quality-conscious companies being forced to ‘make do’ with scarce, inflexible and expensive hotel space or short-term office rentals. The concept for our business emerged as a creative meeting solution that pays mind to the bottom line. We derived a state-of-the-art space utilization formula that combines short-term meeting facilities and office space, chef-driven catering, and top business technology into one location. With the option to outsource meetings and work space, the theory went, corporations and organizations could minimize overhead and maximize productivity, all while achieving geographic or virtual footprint growth. In 2005, The Hub Centers for Meeting & Collaboration was born. True to its name, The Hub is a collection of unique, hyper-collaborative, purpose-built meeting environments, optimized for today’s mobile business professionals.. Today, there are three Hub outposts in Center City Philadelphia, with a fourth scheduled to open in the Philadelphia suburbs in August 2013. One hundred percent of the region’s Fortune 100 companies – and more than 50 percent of the region’s Fortune 500 companies – utilize The Hub Centers as a strategic outsourced meeting solution.
Thanks to John New and Bill Decker, The Hub Centers for Meeting & Collaboration
Eureka! moments often come when you least expect them
One can never predict exactly when moments of inspiration will strike. It often happens out of the blue, or at an inconvenient time like in the shower. As my idea to create a fantasy sports-like website for music formed, I struggled for weeks to determine a name that clearly conveyed both who we are as a team and what our vision is as a company. One night I sat down with my sister and my roommate for a brainstorming session. We used word association techniques, taped lists of adjectives all over my walls, and drank a glass or two of wine. After hours of conversation, we were still as far away as ever. Disheartened, I retired to bed ready to try again another day. I quickly dozed off, but then suddenly a few hours later my head popped off the pillow with an idea. As I fumbled for my notepad in the dark, I kept repeating, “Breakrs! Breakrs! Breakrs!” until I found my pen. It was perfect because on our site, fans predict which unknown bands will “break” into the mainstream. These “Eureka!” moments often come when you least expect it, so be prepared – and patient.
Thanks to Mike Hanne, Breakrs
The only thing constant will be my name
I originally founded my company under the name Best Life Solutions. At that time, I was providing life and career coaching to women—so I was essentially helping them create their best lives. However, my services evolved over time. I added on a business and marketing coaching track as well (as my background was in marketing and I had a number of peers asking me for guidance in this area). After that transition, I felt that my business name no longer reflected my services. I decided to switch my company name to Dana D’Orsi International and am currently updating all of my branding. I figured that, while my service and product offerings may shift over time, the one thing that will always be constant is my name.
Thanks to Dana D’Orsi, Dana D’Orsi International
Related Post: Relieving the Daily Stress of Being an Entrepreneur
A reminder of our humble beginnings
I am often asked about the origin of our company name, “Cube Six”. It is an interesting name, especially because it is completely unrelated to our purpose as a company. Instead, Cube Six is a reminder of our humble beginnings. We are a software development company, but when we formed the business back in 2001 there were six people working from one cubicle. Thus the name, Cube Six, Inc. Most people know us by our product name, ServMan Software, which is a complete management and accounting system for service businesses. Cube Six develops, markets, implements and supports the ServMan ERP application, and we have even considered changing our corporate name to ServMan. However, we don’t want to forget where we came from no matter how successful we are today. In fact, Cube Six has enjoyed great success and growth over the past dozen years. ServMan Software is now an industry leader with thousands of users throughout the world, including some of the largest residential and commercial service providers in the United States. A new 7,200 sq. ft. facility was recently purchased for the expansion of our call center, data center and training facilities. We have come a long way from that first cubicle, but we will always have fond memories of the “Cube Six”.
Thanks to Bill Loelius, Cube Six, Inc.
It happened in a dream
In a dream one night, I was talking to a business friend who was heavily invested in agriculture. He raised cattle, he owned citrus, he grew turf for golf courses. And in the dream, he told me that the bottom had fallen out of the market on prices for every one of those commodities. But then he stopped lamenting and leaned in close as if to tell me a secret. He had a twinkle in his eye. A whisper in his voice. He said that on a lark, some years ago, he had planted a grove of avocados. It was really just something he did for fun, without any expectation of a profit. But now, avocados were going for record prices. “The avocado,” he said, “the thing I’d completely overlooked, is the thing that’s going to save me.” And then I woke up. I immediately thought, “Should I call my friend and tell him to plant avocados?” But later that day, I realized the avocado wasn’t for him. It was for me. The thing I’d overlooked, my true calling, my avocado, was the direction I should be heading in my own business life. Today, my company helps individuals and companies to define their true mission, to create their core message, and then spread that message out into the world. We provide writing and marketing services as well as personal empowerment workshops and retreats. That’s why my company is called: “What’s Your Avocado?”
Thanks to Stacie Zinn Roberts, What’s Your Avocado?
Merging two words
Outhouse PR is a leading public relations and event marketing agency founded by entrepreneurial mavens, Jennifer Jones and Cynthia Hornig in September 2001. When it came down to naming our business we knew we didn’t want our names on the door, which is common in our industry. As public relations and branding experts, it is our job to get our clients names in the headlines, not our own; we wanted our brand name to reflect what we do, not who we are. Prior to starting our own agency, we met and worked together as the two woman in-house pr team for a major American jewelry brand. So as we began tossing names around for our new business, we kept coming back to the fact that we would no longer be an in-house team, but would now be serving our clients from the outside. Merging the two words (in-house + outside = Outhouse), we came up with our name. Outhouse partners closely with each of our clients, essentially become a brand’s in-house agency on the outside. Oh, and we love the double entendre.
Thanks to Cynthia Hornig, Outhouse PR
It looked good and was easy to remember
After 11 years doing what we were doing, we wanted to change and refocus. We knew what we were doing was right but the brand/business name we knew alienated some of the key customer groups. It took a lot of work, we wanted a name that was easy to remember, ‘looked good’ but did not set any sort of preconceived notions up front. We eventually ended up with ‘Eleven’ which, more by coincidence than design, was also represented the years we were doing what we were doing before rebranding. It was the best decision we ever made and as a result, we have tapped into a whole new audience with essentially the same product base.
Thanks to Gerard Thomas, ELEVEN Vélo
A strong and solid name
I founded Chapin Hill Advisors, Inc. an investment advisor and family office consulting practice in 2000. We are located in NYC so creating a name was critical. Couldn’t be “Boyle & Associates” or everyone would want “Boyle”, it sounded like a 1-person shop and I wanted to eventually be able to sell the business. Most of the clients we work with send their children to private schools. Chapin is part of the name attached to a upscale private school in NYC. Spence-Chapin is an adoption facility connected with the private school named Spence. So people would feel the name was familiar but it is subliminal. Hill is strong and solid which is important when working with people and their money but it is not cold and icy like Everest or Atlas. We work with a lot of women so we wanted security without being cold and scary. Chapin Hill together sounds like Chapel Hill so once again people think they have heard of it as it sounds like a place. All together it sounds like a place, it’s strong and solid yet friendly and the connection with private schools automatically represents upscale, high net-worth.
Thanks to Kathy Boyle, Chapin Hill Advisors, Inc.
Easier to remember than my last name
When I was still at stay-at-home mom, and very involved in my kids school, the Department of Education was making all of these initiatives… one of which was referred to as “Time on Task”. They wanted to be sure students were using school time as much as possible for school and learning time. Things like field trips etc now had to be worked into their ‘time on task’. Fast forward to 3 years later when I was starting my own Virtual Assistant business and trying get a name. A big benefit to working with a virtual assistant was that we tend to bill by the hour and all the time worked is spent directly on the client work – no coffee breaks, lunch breaks etc. I remembered the phrase from years before and thought it fit very well to my new business. It flowed nicely off the tongue and was so easy to work into my copy – on the website and marketing material. So, I created Time on Task Virtual Assistant Services or Time on Task VA thanks to the inspiration from the Nova Scotia Department of Education! My slogan was : “Every minute we spend working for you is time spent directly on your tasks” or my initial tagline “Minute by Minute helping you work smarter”. I have morphed a little from the minute by minute now – it’s no longer just me, I have 8 Virtual Associates working with me and they do most of the hourly type VA work. Now I help “Busy Entrepreneurs Work Smarter”. I offer a lot more strategy/consulting for small business which I don’t charge by the minute, but I have yet to give up the name Time on Task VA. It is my identity online so have been very reluctant to let it go. My entire business was built under that ID – especially since it is a lot easier to remember and say, than my last name – Colaiacovo.
Thanks to Kathy Colaiacovo, Time on Task Virtual Assistant
Having a Latin word misheard
I came up with the name PungoBox one day. Pungo means move in Latin, so it seemed like a good fit. I told my cousin, Bob, who co-founded the company with me, and he thought I said BungoBox. Turns out, we liked that name even better and it stuck. We wanted a name that would become synonymous with moving box rental. We were looking for something unique, something memorable. Trademarks were available, domain names were available. We got to create a really snarky brand, and nobody has a preconceived notion about it, so we get to define what it means.
Thanks to Tom Cannon, BungoBox
Using a Maori word
The word ‘Mahi’ means “our craft” in Maori, the language spoken by the indigenous people of New Zealand. The word, I felt was representative of how we view the MahiFX platform. As an ex currency trader, setting up my own forex trading platform, is essentially my own craft. The Maori definition also serves to acknowledge my lineage as a New Zealander.
Thanks to David Cooney, MahiFX
A name to help people recognize what we do
When I was looking for a name for my company I had a set of criteria. I wanted something that would help people recognize what we do, be unique and could pass legal muster (trademarks, etc.). The business I run is all about creating strong brands using the power of sound, so naturally both of these things needed to be part of the name. The name TreBrand (pronounced TRAY-brand) is a smashup of the word Treble and the word Brand. All in all, it’s memorable, unique, and it had a .com that was available.
Thanks to Jordan Stevens, TreBrand
A thoughtfully created name
Icreon’s founding team and key stakeholders thoughtfully created the name Icreon by identifying the key values that we associate with and use to distinguish ourselves from our competitors. “I” for the intelligence and acumen working across different verticals / industries. “Cr” for the creativity in our approach and the work we do. “Eon” for the long term view of our relationships with clients and all stakeholders.
Thanks to Himanshu Sareen, Icreon
Related Post: Unique Business Logos and the Stories Behind Them
Finding a name that truly reflects the brand
When it comes to picking a name, it’s all about brainstorming and finding one that truly reflects the brand. Consumers should be able to read your company name and have an idea of your company’s services or products without having to do any further research. When it came to finding the right name for my healthcare franchise devoted to recycling in-home accessibility and mobility equipment, I took a simple, yet strategic approach. Every night for three weeks, I wrote down three potential business names. At the end the three weeks, I had several names to consider and shared them with my wife and son to get an outsider’s perspective. They helped me whittle out the poor choices before ultimately deciding on SILVER CROSS.
Thanks to Bob Harvey, SILVER CROSS
A play on a nickname
When I was in school, my design professor had a knack for nicknaming his students. He called me “AD” based on my initials. The other kids adopted the name, but would say it so quickly that it sounded like the number 80. When it was time to name the company, I knew no one would have a shot at spelling “DiTommaso” properly, but still wanted a touch of my name in the title. So, Creative80 Design Studios was born. Clients usually get a big kick out of the story.
Thanks to Anna DiTommaso, Creative80