17 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Came Up With Their Business Name
What’s in a name? Would a rose called by any other name sell just as well? Coming up with a name for your business is just as important as the business idea itself. A name not only identifies you, but it can also serve to set you apart from your competitors and reflect your values. We asked some CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners about how they named their company and this is what they had to say.
1) No Tricks. No Hassles. Only a Guarantee
After venturing into the telecommunications industry, I had a vision to create company that provides the highest quality service at the most affordable cost. When I figured out how I could offer audio conferencing for free to consumers he decided to buy the $10 URL. I struggled with the company name for days until I thought why not just name it exactly what it is? I'm a very open and honest entrepreneur and wanted the same for my company so I named it FreeConferenceCall.com. Although it doesn't seem special, it's grown into an industry name that is used by Fortune 500 companies every where. So what's in a name? It's everything. In my case, I made it simple for consumers by naming it exactly what it is. No tricks. No hassles. Only a guarantee. And it's certainly paid off for me.
Thanks to Dave Erickson, FreeConferenceCall.com!
2) Chinese Term
After selling my previous business, I started investing my money using the services of highly skilled professional money managers. To my utter surprise, year after year they could not match the SP500 returns and I started looking for a solution that is be easy to use, yet addresses the shortcomings of the professional stock picking services. Since nothing existed on the market, I developed wootrader.com – the term Woo is used in Chinese to designate the village shamans/magicians and it seemed an appropriate association, as the rankings provided by wootrader are often perceived as ‘miraculous'.
Thanks to Atanas Stoyanov, Woo Trader!
3) My Grandfather
I named my company after my grandfather, Francis Joseph Day. He was everything that I could want from my employees: professional, kind, honest, and hard working. He left a humongous impact in my life. I have been inspired by his role model to pursue my dreams, and in honor of Mr. Day, we are proud to be Day Translations.
Thanks to Sean Hopwood, Daytranslations.com!
4) 19 Years Ago
I started, and named, my business when I was 12 years old (19 years ago) and the name has stuck ever since. I admittedly wasn't all that creative or thorough at the time. We're a video production company and I used my initials TAR, not knowing at the time that it's fairly common to name a business after the founder. When I came up with the name the business was more hobby than anything, but now it's a full service, professional, incorporate business.
Thanks to Tim Ryan, TAR Productions!
5) Great Efforts Happening
After returning from a deployment to Afghanistan with the Navy Reserves, I wanted to shift gears and build a meaningful organization deeply rooted in national service. I founded NationSwell with the goal of shining a spotlight on the people and organizations who are doing the most creative, innovative and effective things to solve our nation's challenges. NationSwell connects those who are working for change with those who have the willingness and means to help. The name, NationSwell, is a play off of the term “groundswell.” I wanted a name that lends itself to the great efforts happening around our country and one that speaks to a powerful tide of support and energy being generated towards finding solutions to critical social issues.
Thanks to Greg Behrman, NationSwell!
6) Vital Role of Education
Plexus is defined as any complex structure containing an intricate network of parts. We are creating that intricate network among students and colleges. Mainly used to define the complex network of vessels attached to the heart, given the vital role of education we found the name Plexuss fitting for our website. The added S to Plexus is there to symbolize success. Education is the biggest investment an individual makes; yet there is not one destination site that can help students and parents choose a college with the best return on investment. College graduates developed Plexuss to empower students to find and choose the very best college for them.
Thanks to J.P. Novin, Plexuss.com!
7) Deeper Meaning that Aligns with Our Mission
I thought of the name Küdzoo because I wanted something with a deeper meaning that aligns with our mission. By engaging in their education, students can grow their futures. When looking for a name, I looked up “fast growing plants” the name Kudzu appeared. A kudzu is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. It grows at record speeds and takes over its surrounding environment. We switched up the spelling to make it our own and now call our educational rewards program Küdzoo. By excelling in their educations students can grow at record speeds and positively effect their surrounding environment through their success.
Thank you to Logan Cohen, Küdzoo, Inc.!
8) Branding Exercise
I was working with a branding expert and one of the exercises was to ask about 20 of the closest people I knew and ask them to give me two words to describe how they see me. One of the responses was my brother who said “Clever, yet Rugged” and I thought that was kind of neat. I started thinking of names and phrases that I felt embodied that and a couple were “gunmetal grey” and “whiskey neat”. I thought “whiskey neat” was really cool so I searched for the domain and oddly enough it had just expired. Unfortunately a domain reseller had purchased it and wanted about $1,500 at one point which I thought was too much. I kept checking in over the next 6 months or so and it changed hands once or twice and finally around Christmas (I guess he needed some quick cash for presents) he accepted my offer that I thought was more fair.
Thanks to Chuck Sharpsteen, Whiskey Neat!
9) The URL was Available
When The Babysitting Company started 10 years ago, it started as a hobby and casual pastime. Once we incorporated, we needed a name. This was hard to do because I knew that the name would be forever. Most everything else in business you are recreate and change with the times but your name is what is permanent. All of the names that I thought of and that my family an friends thought of were “cutesy” and were catered more towards babies or it wasn’t clear what the company did. Finally after several weeks I decided I wanted to be as straightforward as possible so it was clear who and what we were. When I thought of “The Babysitting Company” everyone thought that there was no way that URL would be available and sure enough it was. Once I bought the URL I knew that it was meant to be. The message is simple and professional and we are very proud of it.
Thanks to Rachel Charlupski, The Babysitting Company!
10) Change Lives Forever
Our company is called New Life ESL. We’re an American company in China for teachers, by teachers, that recruits people from all over to come teach English in China. Because we’ve all loved our time here in China for close to 5 years, we started New Life ESL to not only help people with a new career, but to change their lives forever. We look forward to welcoming you to China.
Thanks to Brendan Gibson, New Life ESL!
11) Natural Progression
I am a publicist in Los Angeles, CA. I started a fashion and entertainment blog many years ago called White Handed and it was just a natural progression as I started freelancing and then launched my own business this year to use that name for my business. The name is a play on my last name, and it's my job to be my client's right hand. The blog has been retired but the business is flourishing!
Thanks to Marla White, White Handed PR!
12) Unique Traits
I was struggling with an original name for my tarot business. I thought about what traits about myself made me unique. I wanted a name that reflected how different I was and how different my services would. I got up form my chair and walked past a mirror and noticed a piece of fluff stuck in my hair. While trying to get it out, I said, “Eureka! I'll call my business Dreadlock Tarot”. And my baby was born.
Thanks to Ashley Oppon, Dreadlock Tarot!
13) 600+ Names
Curricula was actually one of the first 25 names that we thought of when designing our business. We easily ran though an excel sheet of over 600+ names. We used phrases in Farsi, Latin, Spanish, you name it! We then started to combine words for what the vision of the company meant to us. That was very easy to do but we realized that it was very difficult to spell or pronounce such names. We wanted to find a name that had: 1) No other company called our name 2) easy to spell in English 3) It meant something towards our brand and was not just random letters. After so much thought and discussion we kept coming back to one of the names that we originally thought of, Curricula. Ever since, we have been very successful in our branding outreach and connection our core market with the product.
Thanks to Joseph Rucci, Curricula!
14) Job Well Done
“You may now kiss the bride” are the words that always rang in my ears at any wedding ceremony that I observed. When it came time to starting my wedding planning business, I immediately thought “you may now kiss the planner” for a job well done and Kiss the Planner Weddings & Events was born. I love when my clients tell me after the wedding how wonderful everything was and ask if they may kiss the planner. They often include a statement about how much they wanted to kiss the planner in their online review or thank you note to me which just reinforces my belief that I absolutely chose the right name.
Thanks to Aviva Samuels, Kiss the Planner!
15) One-to-one Service
I didn’t like the realtime captioning services in the market that are currently offered to deaf people. They were unprofessional, poor quality, and had systems that were not geared towards the client – e.g. I was forced to wait 2 weeks for a copy of a meeting transcript “because it’s company policy”. Where was my access? So I set up on my own as an agency and provided captioning services to other deaf people like me, using captioners I love and know who are good, with plenty of advice and support to our clients anytime they needed me or my colleagues. We are always on social media advocating for and speaking directly to our clients. 121 encapsulates a one-to-one service from a great little captioning company … hence “121 Captions”.
Thanks to Tina Lannin, 121 Captions Ltd!
16) Mainstream & Recognizable
My consulting company is named GreenStone Labs. In 2013, I was moving from mainstream R&D and science startup consulting to consulting the cannabis industry. I wanted a name that didn't scream Marijuana so that my mainstream clients (including universities) wouldn't be upset and I wouldn't have any legal troubles with banking (most banks will close accounts even if the business doesn't directly touch the cannabis plant). I still wanted a name that a cannabis industry member would recognize as a cannabis related business. I thought of all combinations of synonyms for Green, High, and Stone(d) that had a domain and social media handles available. To my surprise, GreenStoneLabs.com was available! It was a perfect fit because GreenStone sounds like a mainstream financial or neutraceutical company. Adding Labs on the end of GreenStone emphasizes my scientist services.
Thanks to Dr. Michele Ross, GreenStone Labs!
17) Unique Spin
WooView is the first WooCommerce iPhone App developed to manage your shop on the go. WooCommerce powers almost 30% of all online stores on the Internet with over 8.6 Million downloads. WooCommerce is not only the most popular but also the most powerful shopping cart platform in the world. WooView was named because we wanted to take a familiar term but make a spin that was unique enough to our product. Our team discussed names during our development cycle and landed on WooView due to the direct influence on the Woo themes product line. We wanted our users to feel comfortable using a Woo themed services but differentiate at the same time to a similar, innovational brand. WooView was born based off the positive influence of our users and creative mindset needed to influence a diverse mobile workforce.
Thanks to Joseph Rucci, Wooview!