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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 – Social Value

We at SocialsFirm believe that business should be used to create social value and not just profit margins. When choosing a name, we wanted to incorporate the concept of collectiveness that is so important in a world connected by social media. At SocialsFirm we connect followers with those who are worth following and use 50% of our profits to incubate social entrepreneurial ventures. We are not just a company, we are a social firm. We settled on SocialsFirm to not only represent the good that our clients allow us to achieve in our community but to embody the very nature of social media.

Thanks to Mathew Martinez, SocialsFirm

#2 – Trust Tree

Photo Credit: Randy Michels
Photo Credit: Randy Michels

When my partners and I decided to start a law firm focusing on trademark services, we decided to practice what we preach to our clients about choosing a new business name. So rather than using the traditional law firm naming convention (e.g., Dewey, Cheatem & Howe), we opted for a business name that was distinctive and protectable with a federal trademark registration. We also wanted a name that inspired trust in our clients. Over the years, we often referred to being in the “trust tree” when discussing sensitive matters. Therefore, this seemed like the perfect name for our new law firm. One of my partners also happens to share the same name as the comedian Will Ferrell. Will Ferrell fans will undoubtedly be familiar with a well-known scene from the movie “Old School” about the “trust tree”.

Thanks to Randy Michels, Trust Tree Legal, P.C.

#3 – HOP

Photo Credit: Kim Clancy
Photo Credit: Kim Clancy

In coming up with my executive search firm's name in 2010, I knew I did not want my own name in the title. I also didn't want recruiting, staffing, search, etc., even though that would explain what I do. I started playing with family names. My father's first name is Hampton, but he goes by his middle name. I liked the sound of Hampton – it sounds strong and professional. There were conflicts with other trademarked names, so I needed another name to go along with Hampton. I ran through other family names and recalled O'Bannon as my great, great grandmother's surname. I added Partners, because I wanted to leave the option open to have other employees. In a dream, the word HOP came and it immediately clicked for me. People HOP to other jobs, careers or board seats, they HOP to it to get motivated to change jobs. I get many compliments on the name and logo. My advice is trust the ideas that come out of left field, or in your dreams.

Thanks to Kim Clancy, Hampton O'Bannon Partners, LLC

#4 – Thoughtful Merger

Photo Credit: Terry Frishman
Photo Credit: Terry Frishman

Culinest combines Culinary with best – since I focus on working in the food industry with excellence. It is a merger I made up, and could therefore own and brand with my tagline *Culinary Business Excellence*. Importantly, my business name also contains the more subtle word nest – since I help many food business start-ups via teaching how to classes and consulting. My logo graphic intentionally emphasizes forward motion, with the bouncing ball moving upwards and onwards, rather than a nest image or separation in the word because I also want to continue targeting and working with larger companies who might not have responded favorably to the more start-up imagery.

Thanks to Terry Frishman, Culinest

#5 – Powerful Imagery

Photo Credit: Audie Chamberlain
Photo Credit: Audie Chamberlain

Finding a name took a long time. My business partner and I went back and forth for months and there were a few URLs that we bought to test out. We ran names by our closest mentors and friends and nothing quite felt right. We wanted something that had drew attention, that stood out, and that felt a little special. In the end the answer was right in front of us all along. Before I started my business I went to a conference in Hawaii called Worthshop and one of the speakers was Jody Burr who talked about finding your inner CEO. She took us on a meditative exercise to call forth our inner CEO. I'm a Leo and a lion was one of the things that immediately came to mind but I also saw a glowing orb. That imagery stayed with me long after the conference and it became a bit of a running joke between my business partner and I but really it was the name that best conveyed what we wanted to provide: power, connections, influence, and a touch of magic.

Thanks to Audie Chamberlain, Lion & Orb

#6 – More Than a Product

Photo Credit: Jenny Kile
Photo Credit: Jenny Kile

When I first decided to build my business, I knew my goal for Kardtects was to share how anyone could build amazing card houses with the completely original building cards that ‘Kardtects' would be introducing to the world. But I wanted to be sure my business name would convey the company is more than just a product, and is part of a growing group of builders who are rediscovering the fun in building card houses, and who can build incredible card structures, from our exceptionally designed building cards. Instead of an Architect, you are a Kardtect. A person who builds ‘card houses' with Building Cards (made by the company Kardtects). I feel combining the name to include ‘who YOU will become' with the product itself (building cards) best shared the message of my business: sharing how YOU can rediscover the Fun in building card houses!

Thanks to Jenny Kile, Kardtects

#7 – Bringing Things Together

Photo Credit: Jessica Sprinkel
Photo Credit: Jessica Sprinkel

I was still working full-time in marketing when I realized the tool I needed to do my job didn’t exist – I had to create it myself. I started mocking it up in PowerPoint and, being a marketer, I had to name it and create a fake logo. On a whim, I chose the name Sponge because there’s definitely the notion of bringing things together within the application – your plans, campaign assets, performance metrics – so you can see everything in one place. We’re “absorbing” everything related to your marketing efforts, you know? I started showing the mockups to a few of my colleagues and everyone gushed “I love the name!” “Genius!” “It makes total sense!” they said. So it stuck.

Thanks to Jessica Sprinkel, Sponge Software

#8 – A Brick Shorter

We’re the Two Three Bricks, and how we came up with our name was a funny story really. We were in the midst of building our ecommerce store which does customised LEGO prints, and we needed a name. Naturally, with LEGO bricks, we narrowed it down to the few keywords – bricks, studs, figures, mini, small. We then thought how our (we’re a couple in real life!) heights in real-life (she’s about a foot shorter than him) are not reflected that accurately in Minifigure form, since LEGO figures are all the same height. Which brought us to think that in LEGO, she should definitely be a ‘brick’ shorter than him – which led us to our name, the Two Three Bricks!

Thanks to Harris and Stephanie Lim, Two Three Bricks

#9 – Expressing what Matters

Photo Credit: Beth Freschi
Photo Credit: Beth Freschi

Before I named my business, someone suggested that I create a business card.. I was sitting at my computer using a template, and it asked my company name. I sort of went into daydream mode, and pictured what I do for my clients. With life coaching, I am providing a time for clients to tell me their hopes, dreams, ideas and plans. As I thought about it, the concept of A Time for Expression came to me, because that is what I am providing—a time for people to express what matters to them. Then I thought about how that would apply to the relaxation training side of my business, and again I felt A Time for Expression fit, because when we are relaxed, we are more creative and open to how we feel about things and what we want to do. So, whether clients are talking to me as a life coach or listening to my relaxation training guidance as a relaxation coach, I am providing a time for them to express themselves—A Time for Expression. A PR expert once told me the name is esoteric, but that kind of made me like the name even more, heh heh.

Thanks to Beth Freschi, A Time for Expression, LLC

#10 – Terrible Pun

Photo Credit: Jennie Holmes
Photo Credit: Jennie Holmes

I came up with my business name before I had full defined by business. I had a friend who is a sales coach and trainer and I worked in digital marketing. At the time we were both employed by other people, her by FedEx and I was working for a marketing agency. One of our favourite topics was the sales and marketing divide and we started a blog together to provide resources and ideas on this problem. We spent time talking about what we wanted it to represent and we were convinced that it needed to be something that worked, a real solution. The next part is slightly naff, but we wanted it also to represent us. As we had the same name, Jen, we wanted to work this in. Hence Generate Solutions. We felt that it worked because it not only represented what we felt about our delivery to clients but also that it was personal, in a terrible pun, to us. We created the name based on brain storming and talking about the ideal of the business. We then tested these through Google to see what was available and if any negative connotations were associated.

Thanks to Jennie Holmes, Generate Solutions

#11 – Unacceptable Status Quo

Photo Credit: Jim Berlin
Photo Credit: Jim Berlin

I came up with the ‘Logistics Plus' business name because I wanted to create a company where status quo was unacceptable. I wanted my customers to know that, when it came to managing all aspects of logistics, my company would go above and beyond the call of duty to get the job done. To put it more bluntly, I wanted to be known as the company that ‘gives a shit' (or GAS as I like to say). The Logistics Plus logo was designed with that idea in mind, hence the + emblem to the right of the word logistics. I also wanted to convey that we manage all modes of logistics: Ground, Air, Ocean, and Rail.. For that reason, we adapted the O in logistics to visually illustrate that piece of what we do. In the late 1990s I added the tagline Passion for Excellence to further convey the notion that my people put the plus in logistics by doing the big things properly, and the countless little things, that together ensure complete customer satisfaction and success.

Thanks to Jim Berlin, Logistics Plus Inc.

#12 – Inspired by Fans

Photo Credit: Adrienne Austermann
Photo Credit: Adrienne Austermann

When I knew I had a big idea, the first big challenge was finding a name that portrayed the product, and one that was actually available. I made finding a name with an available address an immediate priority. Sitting in my living room, at the computer with a few family and friends around, I started asking for their word associations to the point of difference about my product. We brainstormed the target audience, the phrases that came to mind in relation to the product, the audience and the experience. Although nothing was off the table, as a former advertising art director, I knew it that to be on point and would know when it was right. I think having a product that is essentially a new product category was helpful in having an available name. So the product being an all natural, good for your skin face paint, inspired by the need for collegiate superfans to have something good for their skin that functioned in the elements, the name Fan Masque was born.

Thanks to Adrienne Austermann, Fan Masque

#13 – Sparking Lives

Photo Credit: Meaghan Puglisi
Photo Credit: Meaghan Puglisi

When we renamed our company Lifesprk after being AgeWell for eight years, it was a rigorous process. We hired an agency to help us with the rebranding efforts and several names were suggested through an in-depth discovery of who we were as a company. We kept coming back to the words ‘life' because we wanted to focus on helping people live, not on providing care, and ‘spark' because we firmly believe in the need to put the spark back in the eyes of seniors. The name we ended up choosing – Lifesprk – resonated so perfectly with us because it embodies our mission of sparking lives. We purposefully left out the ‘a' in spark for two reasons: first, because we wanted to be a little provocative to stand out and be different with our brand identity.. Second, because as a company we're taking the ‘a' out of aging with our whole person senior care approach. There's nothing wrong with aging, but many people have issues with it and quite honestly someone's ‘age' is irrelevant – living a sparked life is an ageless opportunity.

Thanks to Meaghan Puglisi, Lifesprk

#14 – Elbow Pad Love

Baby style as a whole is in desperate need of a revolution, but something PRACTICAL. One night while I was tucked away in the nursery while my husband entertained our revolving door of baby crazed house guests, it came to me – interchangeable separates in fashion forward, but super comfortable prints. Then another – REVERSIBLE separates to benefit from a two for one scenario, limiting the number of pieces needed in a wardrobe while also allowing me to pack my stuffed diaper bag with half the amount of clothes currently in there. Then another – coordinating detachable hoods and other accessories to exponentially increase the combination capabilities. I was onto something. When we got to the design phase and I discussed my love for elbow and knee patches, it dawned on me – Mix + Patch! Coordinating pieces to mix into your baby's wardrobe with a signature patch on each piece. Voila! A name was born!

Thanks to Jessica Timmerman, Mix and Patch, LLC

 #15 – Variety

Photo Credit: Paul Stahura
Photo Credit: Paul Stahura

When we tell people we work at ‘Donuts' it usually elicits a smile. My co-founders and I considered lots of potential names, but knew we wanted something unique and interesting. We chose to call our company Donuts because, for example, when you enter a donut shop, you're presented with variety and choice, one of our key goals for Internet namespace expansion. Now, Internet users have that same choice among our two hundred ‘not-com' domain name options like ‘dot-marketing' (.marketing), ‘dot-photography' (.photography) and ‘dot-style' (.style). As an added bonus, our name is a fun, catchy conversation starter, because it's a play on the words: ‘we're nuts about domains.' Our logo itself embodies our business name: we highlight the letters D, N and S in teal blue, which is a nod to the Domain Name System.

Thanks to Paul Stahura, Donuts Inc.

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