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29 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Came Up With Their Business Name

The idea of exactly what your business is going to usually come 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- Based on our target audience

Photo Credit: Greg Kraios

At the launch of the company, the core email community (people with a lot of technical understanding) was our target audience. “250ok,” the receiver-SMTP response for an accepted message, is a term known by all email nerds. So, “message received” is the uncoded meaning of “250ok,” and that made a lot of sense considering the audience. Years later, it remains true. In addition to the name’s market fit, the simplicity found in “250ok” lent itself to a mantra we repeat across the organization: avoid unnecessary complication. It’s simple, it’s clean, and it means something to our core customer.

Thanks to Greg Kraios, 250ok!

#2- A lifestyle change

Photo Credit: Mary Black ‪

I came up with my business name Aging Youthful when the network marketing  company I am involved with came out with a product for youthful aging. My husband and I had recently started to turn back the clock ourselves by adopting a healthy lifestyle, quitting hard partying and getting back into the gym and eating better. I thought youthful aging would make a great website name but it was taken. I transposed the words and viola! Aging Youthful was born. While we are still with the company we are focusing on growing our brand to inspire men and women ages 45 and up to not let their age define them, get off the couch, and get out and do what they are passionate about DESPITE their age. Both my husband and I are training for a Strongman competition in February at the ages of 56 (Mark) and 51 (me). Our tag line is why age gracefully when you can age youthfully?.

Thanks to Mary Black, Aging Youthful!

#3- Simple way

Photo Credit: Leonard Jacobs

I created The Clyde Fitch Report on a whim. It was late 2006 and I was serving old media as a national editor at an entertainment industry trade publication, plus freelancing for an alt-weekly and writing a book. On my way back from lunch, I spotted a colleague having a cigarette. I don't smoke, but he was fun to hang with — I always learned something. The word blog came up: I had zero idea what it meant. He explained it and then I thought, Who needs *that*? But part of me must have been intrigued, for that night I went to Blogspot and created The Clyde Fitch Report in literally three minutes. It's named for a long-forgotten but nonetheless significant American playwright of the late-19th and early-20th-century, someone I've researched for many years. For most of a year, I did little with the blog. Then I started to  experiment. My posts gained traction and — after I was lost my job following the 2008 market crash — peers encouraged me to develop not just content for the site, whose focused on the crossroads of arts and politics, but the business of blogging as well. Today, the site features 25 editors and contributors around the US. We're a small but growing media company with a distinct niche. People often ask me: Clyde *who*? Rather than explain how it began on a whim, I tell them that our namesake was a great American artist during an era of unparalleled technological, social and political disruption and change. After that, I let our work speak for

Thanks to Leonard Jacobs, Clyde Fitch, LLC!

#4- Picked from a list of 50

Photo Credit: Nate Matherson

We launched LendEDU as a marketplace for student loans in November 2014. Before we launched our website we actually had a completely different name. In the weeks leading up to the launch, our friends/family/mentors and really everyone else suggested that we change our name from *Common Loan*. My partner and I locked ourselves in a room for about 4 hours. We put about 50 potential business names onto a whiteboard. From there, we worked to narrow down the list to our top 5. Our goal was to find a name the symbolized our core business of creating transparency in the student loan market. And, we wanted a name that highlighted our focus on consumer education. After narrowing down the list to our top 5, we then worked to find which domain  names (.com)s were available. Out of the top 5, only 2 of the business names had a (.com) available to register. From there, we picked our absolute favorite. And we haven't looked back. Lend –> lending EDU –> students, consumer education. LendEDU –> helping consumers find and learn about student loans.

Thanks to Nate Matherson, LendEDU!

#5- From our core mission

Photo Credit: Eric

The name New Man Revolution was born out of our desire to see men unite under the common cause of better self-care. Often peer or societal pressure tells men that it's more manly to ignore health problems or to power through instead of seeking help or better options. We are changing that mentality by introducing a line of products that are healthy AND sexy; grooming items that men can use with pride and conviction. Donating a portion of all our profits to veteran and cancer research charities establishes our brand as a revolution in companies that give back to the community rather than leech off of their customers.

Thanks to Eric, New Man Revolution!

#6- An editor's suggestion

Photo Credit: Nancy Friedman

I gave a customer service training session at the Quad Cities Times newspaper. After it ended. the editor came up to me and said, “you know you’re very good…you sure have all the cures. Like a doctor. I think I’m going to call you the The Telephone Doctor.” I laughed and came home and told my husband, “some guy called me the Telephone Doctor, what should we do? He said, “let’s go get it registered…we’re gonna have some fun”. And fun we’ve been having crossing the the country helping companies communicate better with their customers and co-workers. Few folks forget the name after I leave the training session.

See also  24 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Came Up With Their Business Name

Thanks to Nancy Friedman

#7- While on vacation

Photo Credit: Holly Lyman

Two years and a half years ago, I was facing a proverbial crossroads. As a successful fine artist, I recognized that my chosen pursuits in the art of encaustic (painting with beeswax) were leading me towards the bees, themselves. While on vacation in Sedona, Arizona, my destiny was revealed to me. I fell head-over-heels in love with the mystical landscape and the mystique of a honey- based ferment known as Jun kombucha. Right then and there, I decided to relocate to Sedona and pursue my new passion, the art of brewing. Shortly thereafter, many facets of my life aligned and I started the brewery. And in, communing with Mother Nature in the creation of this smooth, subtle, and sophisticated elixir, the name Wild Tonic manifested. It was a name that captured the wild nature of the ferment, itself, as well as the fact that this beverage is a tonic to both the mind and body. And so it is…

Thanks to Holly Lyman, Wild Tonic!

#8- Possible names through alliteration

Photo Credit: Lauren Gilmore

I knew what I wanted to do (publicity and content marketing). I even had my value proposition (a unique spin on communication and storytelling). I realized that I needed a name that was easy for people to understand what I did, it couldn’t be something bland and boring. So I started with a list of possible names based on my favorite literary device: alliteration. Some names were too difficult for one reason or another, still others I couldn’t get a corresponding social media handle (which is especially important for a digital marketer). After weeks of stalking social media and domain names (and with the help of my boyfriend who used the word ‘prose’ nonchalantly in a sentence one evening) a name was born. PR and Prose.

Thanks to Lauren Gilmore, PR and Prose!

#9- Considering alphabets and K sound

Photo Credit:  Lisa Pinnell

I remember hearing the Spanx founder, Sara Blakely, talk about brand names and how having a strong K sound in your name made it more memorable. She listed Coca Cola and Kodak as examples. An X has a similar effect. I knew I wanted it to be a name that could be an umbrella brand for other baby products, so nothing too descriptive. I also noticed that when I scrolled through business listings online, I tended to check out A, B, C, names first and the rest got a little lost in the list. So, I wanted the name to start with a letter that comes early in the alphabet. And making up a word, instead of using an existing word, for your brand name makes it easier to trademark. After all those requirements, I probably spent 6 months making a list of every possible combination of names I could think of and checking to see if the domains were available. Not many were. Binxy Baby kind of just ended up being the name that checked all my boxes and had an available URL— a definite must-have for an online business.

Thanks to Lisa Pinnell, Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock!

#10- One email

Photo Credit: Carrie Brummer

I changed my brand name after I found out I could not trademark it. I spent weeks listing names, looking up synonyms, filling pages of books with ideas. I was drowning in ideas and I didn't like any of them as much as the original. I put out a call to my community to ask for their help. All it took was one email from someone I serve. She told me she'd always felt I'd made her Artist Strong. I knew instantly that was it.

Thanks to Carrie Brummer, Artist Strong!

#11- Combination of two names

Photo Credit: Nick Le

The name of my business is the combination of two words that represent my brand well. Grids and Graffiti. My brand is built on flat lays and the photo feeds of my audience which are often formed in grids. Graffiti is a form of self expression and a form of street art which is authentic. These grids are a form of self expression and it is the graffiti of the internet, so combining the words together make for a unique combination and a word that is cohesive.

Thanks to Nick Le, Gridfiti!

#12- From services I offer to clients

Photo Credit: Vicky Llerena

Company names are uber important for two main reasons: determines how easy prospects will remember your brand name AND improves the SEO of your site if you use keywords that relate to that industry. So for example, if own a woman's shoe company, a name like Lady's Heels with Deals would be strategic because it incorporates keywords that search engines will recognize in connection with their search terms related to women's shoes. Also , complicated and hard-to-pronounce names make it difficult for people to remember to send an email. Think SIMPLE. Social Vibes Media was chosen for that purpose — it incorporates the words social and media, which are services I offer to my clients.

Thanks to Vicky Llerena, Social Vibes Media!

#13- Considering a few things

Photo Credit: Matthew Veling

People spend considerable time thinking about what to call a child, a puppy, a book, or even a family car. But for entrepreneurs, there are practical implications to naming their business. You have to ask yourself a few important questions: Is the domain name available? Can people  pronounce it? What imagery pops up when you say the name out loud? We started like all titans of industry, with a whiteboard. And when it came to naming this project, we knew it needed to be simple, elicit curiosity, and reflect our personality. Number: Storehouse, Warehouse, Silo, Cellar… Barn? And so, NumberBarn was born.

Thanks to Matthew Veling, NumberBarn!

#14- Interviews

Photo Credit: Suzanne Brown

As I was coming up with the name for my newest business, I reached out to people who understood my business to get their input. I'm a marketing strategist and I wanted to make sure that the word choices I was making resonated with my audience in my new endeavor, geared toward working moms. I was interviewing professional part-time working moms for a book, so I asked 5-6 local moms who I had interviewed to a breakfast brainstorm. As I took them through a few exercises, I saw the word empowerment and related words over and over. The book and overall initiative is for moms so the concept of Mompowerment was born.

Thanks to Suzanne Brown, Mompowerment!

#15- Signify reduction in time wastage

Photo Credit: Anders Thomsen

A few months into my career in management consultancy I noticed that almost everyone in the company was spending a few hours a day in front of PowerPoint. And it hit me: why do we have to spend hours on aligning text boxes when we've been trained to do calculations and solve problems? Why should a highly-trained engineer, who could potentially be building a bridge, waste time on a sales proposal in PowerPoint? It's simply a huge waste time. That is why I called my company NoMore. No more wasting hours on hours in PowerPoint.

See also  26 Entrepreneurs Explain What They Love About Being An Entrepreneur

Thanks to Anders Thomsen, NoMore!

#16- From my first name and the county I cover

Photo Credit: Greer Wylder

In November 2005, one of my four sons was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. At that time, I was a popular lifestyle columnist at the Los Angeles Times Community News for 14 years. I asked my editor a few weeks after my son was diagnosed if I could just write one column per week; I was devastated and I needed to focus on my son and learn how to manage type 1 diabetes. My editor said, “this is a bad time to tell you this, but we are making changes at the paper, and you are not part of the change.” I lost my job. I was so depressed, but I realized a few months later, that I didn’t need the paper. I could do what I was doing online with my own publication, so I started Greer’s OC in July 2006. It’s a website and daily email newsletter for the best in fashion, dining, and trends in OC. It’s a tip sheet for busy people who want to know the latest and greatest in Orange County. I named it after my first name, “Greer” and also “OC” since I’m covering the things I love in Orange County. My name is so unusual that people already knew me by my first name from my column, so it worked in my favor.

Thanks to Greer Wylder, Greer's OC!

#17- From what we do

Photo Credit: Stephen Gibson

I came up with the name Vyteo since I wanted to build a video app where you could make power hour videos from YouTube clips. That project never transpired, but I held the name since I liked it. Later I rebranded my startup blog to Vyteo and announced we were a video marketing provider- Vyteo's Viral Videos. Has a nice ring, right? Well, the first video was an abysmal contribution to the world of filmography, and so we pivoted and now offer PR & Marketing services under the proud but slightly storied brand name of Vyteo. We've had nothing but satisfied customers since.

Thanks to Stephen Gibson,!

#18- Brainstorming and domain availability

In June of 2006, after about three or four months of work on the company, all of the founders gathered to brainstorm names. We wrote down anything we could think of on a whiteboard, and after what seemed like hours, we selected what we thought were our best choices. I don't think any of the ideas we came up with were at all interesting, but we took the most desirable names and started researching what was available as far as domains. As it turned out, not one of the names—not even some of the less desirable ones—were available. Defeated, we all went back to our offices. I kept up my search, even going through the thesaurus for anything related to communication. Everything under the sun was taken. That is, everything was taken except for “jive”. Many jive-related domains were also available—orcontained nothing of import—and so Jive Communications was born. As a bonus, the name also reminded us of the Jive-talking nanny from the 1980’s movie Airplane! She was proper and professional, but simultaneously cool and down-to-earth.

Thanks to Steve Todd, Jive Communications!

#19- Fun and creative

Photo Credit: Meg Brunson

When it was time to name my Facebook Ad Agency, I knew I wanted something cute and creative. My personality is fun and playful, and I am very creative – and I believe that your business branding (including your business name) should be consistent with your personality. I drew inspiration from a business owned by a friend years ago, called EIEIO Photography (she had since re-branded and changed her business name to North Glow Photography, based out of Rochester, NY). I always liked how fun it was to say, E-I-E-I-O, and because I serviced a lot of family friendly businesses, it seamed like a nice fit. Then, as I researched to see if there were other agencies already using the name I discovered a variety of acronyms for EIEIO that related to social media marketing – which was my exact focus. At that point I knew it was just meant to be, and I drew inspiration from the acronyms I found and personalized it to fit my business' focus. Now, I tell people that EIEIO is more than our name, it's our Philosophy. We help businesses Engage, Interact, Educate, Influence & Optimize through social media!

Thanks to Meg Brunson, EIEIO Marketing!

#20- Something that represented my story and personality

Image Credit: Sally Srok

Naming a business is one of the most important and overwhelming tasks for an entrepreneur. I kept a long list of potential names for my consulting business, but to get to a name that was meaningful, I had to do some soul-searching. I invested hours creating my company mission statement, homing in on what I stood for. I reflected on various roles I had held, and identified my strengths. It was when I reflected on the parting words of my former boss, Francis Ford Coppola, who said upon my resignation, Who will think like I do? that my company name came to me: Inner Compass Consulting. Francis Coppola has an inner compass that he never doubted, and I am built the same way. If you follow your inner compass, you may not know where you're going, but it will never steer you wrong. Inner Compass represented my personal belief and summed up my story. My skills are excavating the uniqueness and story of a brand, and creating a roadmap to success. I also coach executives and individuals to find their authenticity and meaningful mission. Having the guts to listen to your inner compass, and creating a roadmap to follow it, is one of life's most gratifying experiences. When you smile as you tell people the name of your company, and it resonates with your clients, you know you have the right name.

See also  28 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Came Up With Their Business Names

Thanks to Sally Srok, Inner Compass Consulting!

#21- Brainstorming and Microsoft Excel

Photo Credit: Derek Hales

My team and I knew we wanted a two-word name. And we also knew it should probably be an adjective first, followed by a noun (which was most likely a place). So we brainstormed  dozens of potential adjectives and dozens of potential nouns. Next, we used Excel's concatenate formula to combine every adjective with every noun, which provided us with several hundred name possibilities. Lastly, we manually combed through the list until we had a handful of favorites for final discussion and selection. With that Modern Castle was born!

Thanks to Derek Hales, Modern Castle!

#22- Reflect strength of a woman

Photo Credit: Tomide Awe

The name of my company is Olori. Olori means Queen in the Nigerian language and we offer premium African-inspired handbags that make women feel strong, confident and secure, while empowering underprivileged girls … because real queens fix each others crowns. While deciding on the name for my company, I wanted a word that would reflect strength of women, the regality of our products while also reflecting the African heritage of my brand. After a lot of deliberation, Olori was born.

Thanks to Tomide Awe, Olori!

#24- In honor of someone great

Photo Credit: Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart

When my husband Robert and I left our careers to start Chicago’s first distillery since the mid-1800s, we wanted a name that would represent both of our families and the life-changing endeavor we were launching. The name Koval, means blacksmith in numerous Eastern European languages; however in Yiddish, it also refers to a black sheep or someone who forges ahead or does something new or out of the ordinary. My great-grandfather earned Koval as his nickname when, at the ripe old age of 17, he surprised his family and emigrated from Vienna to Chicago in the early 1900s to start a business. Coincidentally, the surname of Robert's grandfather (at whose side Robert learned the art of distilling) is Schmid – German for smith.” We chose the name KOVAL to honor both men – and to reflect our own decision to forge ahead and develop a new style of American whiskey.

Thanks to Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart, KOVAL!

#25-  Based on experience and what I'm seeing taking place in society

I was married to a Black brazilian woman, which to me fell under the category of multicultural. Being disappointed with mobile dating apps, I decided to start my own. The first rule of thumb is to have a great name and logo, so when I think of love I think of Paris and the Eiffel Tower (logo). Noticing the change of acceptance in interracial relationships (Galaxy Note 8 commercial w/ Asian & White, Cheerios commercial w/ Black & White, and Modern Family TV Show w/ White & Hispanic) I needed a name that can relate to all. I wanted to make it sound romantic, so I made MIX an acronym for Multicultural, Interracial, XoXo. I then decided on a name that means love worldwide… Amore! And there you have it…♪ Mix Amore ♫

Thanks to Graceful Grady, Mix Amore!

#26- It felt like an everyday war

Photo Credit: Mehdi Raad is a fashion brand that uses high-tech engineering to create highly fashionable clothing. Named after General Maceo who led Cuba to Independence against the Spaniards. Maceo was known as the Great Titan Lion because of his exceptional physical strength. Moreover, in several of his battles, tales spoke about a resistance to bullet and blade wounds. This felt approproate because starting Maceoo, it felt like I was going to war every day. I worked two jobs for five years to pay the bills while developing and launching Maceoo. A lot of tears were shed a long the way. But I kept believing and refused to stop.

Thanks to Mehdi Raad,!

#27- Speak to clients about what I do

Photo Credit: Stephanie de Montigny

With a last name as hard to spell and pronounce as mine, it really didn't make any sense to use it for my business, so I set out to find something else. After using a handful of so-so names over the first few years and refining my services and style, I decided to re-brand and go with something that described my offering. My chosen doing-business-as name of Pure Natural Newborn Photography makes it extremely clear about what clients can expect from me. It tells visitors that I am a professional photographer (specialized in newborns) and that I use a minimalist approach to capturing those moments. It also happens to work great for getting found in search results online.

Thanks to Stephanie de Montigny, Pure Natural Newborn Photography!

#28- Combination of different letters

Photo Credit: Judy Davis

In choosing our name, we were inspired by the word ‘origo’ which means origin, beginning, or where you come from; and the Fields of Elysium, which is from Greek mythology: a plane of existence reserved for the souls of the most heroic and virtuous individuals – a place of peace and beauty.  Since many of our clients are starting in a place where they are at risk for depression, addiction or suicide, we used the letters D from depression, A from addiction and S from suicide to represent those beginnings and what we want to prevent. Putting it all together, we have DASIUM; a team of people helping individuals, families and organizations wake up to, and face the challenge of, teen and young adult depression, addiction and suicide.

Thanks to Judy Davis, DASIUM!

#29- My neighborhood

Photo Credit: John Surdakowski

Choosing a business name can be daunting. In some cases, businesses have a well thought out explanation and deeper meaning behind their brand name. In the case of AVEX, i just needed a domain! When freelancing and consulting, I needed to select a domain name for my portfolio. So I thought back to the neighborhood where I lived as a kid, in Brooklyn, NY. The name of our street was Avenue X. Time was of the essence and I needed a temporary domain. So, I chose, thinking it would be a good placeholder. Well, a decade later, my freelance gig turned into a boutique agency in NYC and the name stuck. We’ve built a brand around it and are now one of the top web design and digital agencies in New York. Not a deeper meaning, just a matter of convenience.

Thanks to John Surdakowski,  AVEX!

How did you come up with your business name? Tell us in the comments below. Don't forget to join our #IamCEO Community

Mercy - CBNation Team

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  1. I reached here through ModernCastle blog (when I was analyzing backlink of this blog).
    After reading this post I realize. I am so far to add my blog and name inside this post.

    But I hope whenever you update this post you definitely think at least once about my blog.

    Well, it very interesting story about how to they reached the name on “ModernCastle”. It’s really a team effort.

    thanks for your this blog post.

  2. I came up with the name, Reviuu, since I needed a unique and catchy name for my new project. It’s a pun, meaning “review”, which is exactly what my site is all about. And with the shortage of .com domains in mind, I am quite happy with this name.

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