15 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Came Up With Their Business Name

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 – A Personal Touch

Image Credit : Welmoed Sisson
Image Credit : Welmoed Sisson

My husband Bob became a home inspector in 2003, after a long career in IT. Once he decided to start his own business (as opposed to buying a franchise), the search for a good name began. He wanted a name that conveyed personal attention, and didn't sound like a large, impersonal firm. It also had to be available as a dot-com domain. After much research, he chose “Inspections by Bob.” This worked very well as a business name…until I decided to become a home inspector as well. We didn't want to re-brand the company, so we sort of re-branded me! Since my first name is unusual, I had started introducing myself as “Mrs. Bob,” which always got a chuckle. So my work vehicle has the signage for “Inspections by Bob”, but with a small “Mrs.” inserted above the company name. The only real disadvantage to giving the company such a personal name is that we are unlikely to be able to sell it when we want to retire. However, there is very little value to a small home inspection company aside from tools and other physical inventory; most clients are one-time, so it's not like you have a loyal customer base. And our company reputation lies squarely with us as the inspectors, rather than with a product. So we are happy to have a more personal name, even if it means the company won't continue after we retire.

Thanks to Welmoed Sisson, Inspections By Bob

#2 – A Unique Name

Image Credit: Matt Warren
Image Credit : Matt Warren

I chose Veeqo because I wanted to create a unique name, that couldn't be replicated and would represent a strong brand. I also wanted the word to have no other meaning. I wanted it to be short and sweet and to be synonymous around the world with helping to make retailers lives easier.

Thanks to Matt Warren, Veeqo

#3 – Create Something of Use

Image Credit : Nikos Moraitakis
Image Credit : Nikos Moraitakis

The working name during prototyping for our hiring software was Higher Stack. To the techies inside us it sounded good but we were aware that it wouldn't make much sense to the business owners and HR people whom the product was going to service. We turned to a journalist, who later joined full time and heads our content efforts for help. It wasn't easy or instant. For nearly two days we bounced ideas back and forth, fiddling with different dot.endings. Nothing. Somewhere in the welter of words outside an airport departure terminal as the journalist was heading off on assignment we hit it: Workable. It spoke to what we trying to do, to create something positive useable, likeable. Be patient, get creative help and you'll know it when you have it.

Thanks to Nikos Moraitakis, Workable

#4 – The Bar Test

Coming up with name for a business can be daunting task. It's challenging to find a relevant, simple yet unique name with domain name available. For us the primary benchmark was the ‘Bar Test'. If I shout out the name of my company in a crowded bar if every person on the table is able to grasp the name then it's perfect for me. As a result we were able to eliminate names like ActivityDock which might be mis-interpreted as ActivityDoc (Something to do with doctors) and settled on the name ActivityDeck.

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Thanks to Ankit Seth, ActivityDeck

#5 – Two Meanings

We decided using the word “fair” in both of its meanings – as an “exhibition” and as “just”. The second word “point” was taken from the expression “meeting point” which is often used at airports as a place where professionals have their business meetings. We are a business travel agency – we provide accommodation during trade fairs and expos and give our best to provide our customers with the top offers on the market, thus the name – Fair Point.

Thanks to Maxim Shomov, Fair Point

#6 – Living Gracefully

Image Credit: Alicia Young
Image Credit: Alicia Young

I chose “Parasol Press LLC” for several reasons. I carry a lace parasol each and every day; I'm vigilant with sun protection as I have sensitive skin. I'm sure some people think it's surgically attached. In addition, I write on personal development, such as living gracefully in a rushed world. The parasol evokes a more genteel time, when manners were our true currency; it evokes a past era among the skyscrapers and neon signs. In turn, it inspired my business logo. Finally, I speak mainly on values-based programming, so personal branding and manners (practical, not prissy) dovetails into that.

Thanks to Alicia Young, Parasol Press LLC

#7 – All in a Name

Image Credit: Heather Grabin
Image Credit: Heather Grabin

For years through my freelancing gigs everyone always called me by my first initial- “H”. It came time to venture out fully on my own and of course I was stuck with the burden of a name and of course a domain. I wanted to stay away from the traditional use my name as company name so I decided to go with my initials “HG”. Of course the domain was taken so I had to be creative. After some thought I decided to take the way H was pronunciation (AICH) and my last initial G! It always is a talking point and a great ice breaker.

Thanks to Heather Grabin, AichG

#8 – A Family Nickname

One of our most commonly asked questions is “Where does the Chubby Chico Charms name come from?” It is a distinctive name and has an interesting story behind it. While the company was still in its infancy, another infant was also due. Owner Bianca Alicea was expecting her first child. Her pregnancy was very difficult and there was a high risk that she wouldn't carry to term and the baby would be born severely premature. Although it was known that she was going to deliver a baby boy, no name had been chosen at the time because everyone was focused solely on the health and wellness of mommy and baby. Bianca ended up on strict bed rest and had a lot of visitors coming to see how she was. Everyone asked how she and the little “chico” (meaning boy in Spanish) were doing. Bianca was able to make it to the third trimester and finally delivered a premature baby boy that she named Xavier. Thankfully, he was perfectly healthy and weighed in at just over six pounds! Xavier was able to come home after just a few days in the hospital with a clean bill of health. Xavier quickly gained weight and became a chubby baby boy. Being the newest member of a large family, he had many visitors, all of whom continued to call him chico. “Where is that chubby chico?” and “How is my chubby chico?” were heard often in house throughout that time, so when it came to naming the growing new charm company, Chubby Chico Charms appeared to be the perfect choice!

Thanks to Bianca Alicea, Chubby Chico Charms

See also  15 Entrepreneurs Share What Their Favorite Part of Running a Business Is

#9 – The State Bird

Image Credit : Stephanie Murnen
Image Credit : Stephanie Murnen

Shaun and I knew we wanted to build a healthcare company in Columbus, OH that was really focused on the Midwest markets and it's needs, and really wanted to get away from a name that said “Health” in it, like so many other healthcare brands. There is a lot of state pride in Ohio, and we want to be a program customized for Ohio markets that can be expanded across the Midwest and ultimately the US. Therefore, we started with the state bird of Ohio, the state flower, etc. The State bird of Ohio is a cardinal, so we though maybe we could do a play on the word Cardinal. We know brands that start with an “A” show up first in directories, and really liked brand names that start and end in vowels. So we dropped the C and L from cardinal. After some quick research, we realized that “Ardina” was also a female superhero that restores balance to the world- it was so appropriate as our healthcare product is targeted toward females and our mission is to restore balance (in terms of cost and convenience) to the healthcare system for every day consumers. With that, our brand was born, complete with a double meaning that aligned with our mission and our target market (Ohioans)!

Thanks to Stephanie Murnen, Ardina

#10 – Running a Lean Business

Image Credit : Marc Prosser
Image Credit : Marc Prosser

Search traffic has always been very important to our company. We knew that from the start, so we wanted a name that was SEO-friendly. Because our focus is on small business, to maximize search traffic we would need ‘small business' in our company name and URL. Our course, ‘small business' is already a long chunk of text: 13 letters total. We didn't want to go much longer than that, or we'd end up with a long, unwieldy name: ‘SuccessfulSmallBusiness.com” doesn't really have the same ring to it – plus it's a lot to type in. ‘Fit Small Business' worked perfectly, though, and speaks to the idea of running a lean business that keeps costs low and net income high. Our only concern was that people would think we're a fitness company, but fortunately, that has very rarely been an issue for us.

Thanks to Marc Prosser, Fit Small Business

#11 – Sharing a Passion with the World

Image Credit : Jared Sternberg
Image Credit : Jared Sternberg

I first heard the name Gondwana when my brother brought me a CD home from Chile. He was on a surf trip and was raving about the reggae band he saw live who was named after the ancient super continent. About 15 years later, when I decided to start a travel company to share my passion with the world, I was reminded of the name Gondwana. Gondwana was part of the Pangea supercontinent, when all the continents were together and the world was one. Since my goal was to bring people from different continents closer together through travel, I figured well… if the shoe fits. I actually reached out to the reggae band and their manager gave me their blessing on the name and even allowed me use of some of their songs, so long as I stayed true to myself and my goals.

Thanks to Jared Sternberg, Gondwana Ecotours 

#12 – Latin and Greek

Image Credit : Richard Zeitz
Image Credit : Richard Zeitz

As a child, I was always fascinated with the Latin and Greek languages. I felt they conveyed a strong, established brand, while adding some sense of classiness, distinction and endurance. When I started Bravias Financial – an independent financial advisory firm – I was searching for something distinctive and that played on the Latin/Greek sounding roots. I first thought carefully about the image I was trying to convey and the word *brave* kept coming up. In client meetings I often refer to “being brave” or “having courage” when it comes to retirement, and after doing a little research, I found that *brave* in Medieval Latin was translated to *bravus. *While I thought that had a solid sound to it, I knew it was missing something. After playing around with the word a bit and I came up with *Bravias*. As a firm, we really get to know our clients and perform an array of detailed analysis’s and projections so they can be brave enough to grow their assets and have the courage to retire on their terms. Then I came up with our logo image which is a big tree, demonstrating long-term growth and protection from the things that can cause harm in life. With that, Bravias Financial was born.

See also  22 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Came Up With Their Business Names

Thanks to Richard Zeitz, Bravias Financial

#13 – The Popularity of Web

Image Credit : Kornel Kurtz
Image Credit : Kornel Kurtz

This is actually a funny little story. Our business name is WebTek Computer Company. I started my internet marketing and web design business more than 16 years ago. Back then, the internet was in its infancy. So I wanted something that had “web” in it to help define what we did. But the web and internet was so new that I felt I needed to further clarify to people what we did so I added “Computer Company” on the end of our name to help signify to people it was a computer related company in-case they didn’t understand what “web” was. In today’s age, that seems silly. Everyone knows what the web is. It actually works against us a bit now because people think we are a computer service company, which we aren’t. In today’s age, computer service companies are rare, and “Web” is mainstream. I should’ve just dropped the Computer Company” and figured the web would consume the world.

Thanks to Kornel Kurtz, WebTek

#14 – The Literal Meaning

Image Credit : Angie Stocklin
Image Credit : Angie Stocklin

We wanted the name of our new eyewear brand to stand for the things that we believe in as a company, and we wanted the name to have real meaning. Internally, we talk about happiness a lot. The happiness of our customers, our team members and even our community. Felix is a Latin word for happy and iris is part of your eye. felix + iris quite literally means “happy eyes”. When we launched we had a dual personality of style + optics. Felix was our style and Iris was our optics and together they created the perfect fit.

Thanks to Angie Stocklin, felix + iris

#15 – A Family Choice

Image Credit : Lisa McCartney
Image Credit : Lisa McCartney

My husband and I created a family boardgame to help our two children with math at home (as we couldn't find anything that we could all play together where everyone was challenged – no matter what their age or ability-, everyone had the same chance of winning and everyone improved their math) and we called it PLYT. Since launch it has been proven to improve math and has gained lots of endorsements and awards. We originally created and fine-tuned the game as a family, so we decided that we should also create the name as a family. We had a family brainstorming session to see what we should call our game and we each came up with a selection of names which we whittled down to about 10 and then we each ranked them. The two that consistently scored the highest were “Playit” and “Multiplyit” so we decided to squash these two together to create PLYT (pronounced like Plight).  It has been great to have a name that doesn't necessarily mean anything as it has caused a lot of interest, guessing and questions around the name – a great talking point when introducing the game!

Thanks to Lisa McCartney, PLYT

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  1. #5 – Two Meanings is a very popular method of naming a company indeed. Our company product ExpoBeds combines “expo” to express a world’s fair or international exposition and “beds” figuratively describes hotel accommodation. We believe that such an eloquent business name that illustrates main services we offer will be more successful for startup company than #2 – A Unique Name because the second needs more funds for advertisement. Ads that will describe the audience who you are and what your business for.

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