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20 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Came Up With Their Business Names

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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- Three simple steps

Photo Credit: Alex French

I landed on the brand name of Bizzy for my beverage company through a simple several step process. First, I took to a whiteboard and wrote down as many potential names as possible that followed 3 simple criteria; it had to have some symbolism tied to the founding story, it had to start with a letter in the first quarter of the alphabet, and it had to be easy to pronounce. Secondly, I took my list of names and searched for each one in the USPTO database to ensure they weren’t infringing on an existing brand name. Finally, I shared my paired down list of names with as many people as possible and asked them to vote for their favorite brand name. That’s it, 3 simple steps to creating the perfect brand name.

Thanks to Alex French, Bizzy Coffee!

#2- From the line of item for productions supplies

Photo Credit: Alton Butler

When I was trying to think of a name for my production rental company, a friend recommended giving it a name that only those within the industry would understand. The name “Line 204” comes from the line item for productions supplies in a production’s overall budget. Whenever a television commercial is filmed or a movie produced, a standard budget form must be filled out, detailing every dollar to be spent on the production. Typically, the first line on that form is designated for the “producer,” line 172 is “props,” line 234 is “principal cast,” and the list goes on. Line 204 is “production supplies,” and that’s our business, folks! It’s a great “insider” name for the business, because you would only know where it comes from if you work within the production industry.

Thanks to Alton Butler, Line 204!

#3- We made a list of a bunch of classic metal songs

Photo Credit: Chase Clymer

Luckily, we already had clients before we decided to start our marketing agency. As awesome as that was, it did not give us much time to think about a name. It got down to crunch time, so we made a list of a bunch of classic metal songs since we’re both metalheads. From that list, Electric Eye stood out. Thank you Judas Priest for inspiring the best agency name ever.

Thanks to Chase Clymer, Electric Eye!

#4- A lengthy process

Photo Credit: Corey Schwartz

My company name was one of the most important things I had to choose when starting my company. I wanted something edgy, different but trustworthy, fresh and humorous. Since the company is a mortgage banking FinTech firm we wanted to distance ourselves from Bank of America and Wells Fargo while still saying Loans and Banking. It took over 6 months to come up with the name. At first we considered hundreds of potential names, created software to look for URLs, asked friends, made Facebook posts, held meetings and drank a lot. None of it worked. I usually start my day before dawn, login and check emails. As I looked at the screen bleary eyed, thinking that I must be insane to put so much time and effort into picking a name, it hit me: LOANATIK. It was the embodiment of everything I wanted, but, I didn’t know if people would accept the name. We engaged a market research firm to find out. Turns out the name is highly polarizing they either love it or hate it, but, either way they always picked us as their lender, even when they hated the name. More importantly the name had a high stickiness factor. Once someone heard the name, they couldn’t get it out of their head and they smile or chuckle when they hear it. We had a winner.

Thanks to Corey Schwartz, Loanatik!

#5- Name after someone who means the world to me

Photo Credit: Richard Taylor

Coming up with a business name can be one of the most challenging tasks that an entrepreneur will ever face. I had a tough time deciding on a name that would represent my products in a strong way. After much deliberation, my wife actually gave me the best suggestion ever. She said to name the business after someone who means the world to me. So, I named the business after my son, Harrison Blake. The funny thing is the name was right there all along and has been received rather well by consumers. Having the business named after my son has motivated me to provide top quality products and offer high levels of customer service. This name truly means something special to me.

Thanks to Richard Taylor, Harrison Blake Apparel!

#6- Two ideas

Photo Credit: Bill Laurienti

I picked Composed because the double meaning nails what good copywriting/business is and does. Literally, and obviously, writing is Composed, but also there’s this sense of being steady under pressure, which any good business service ought to demonstrate. You know that thing David Allen writes in *Getting Things Done*? Imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond. How does the water respond? The answer is, totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm. It doesn’t overreact or underreact.That’s what I think of when I think composed. When you’re looking for a name, you’re looking for a way to evoke an idea or emotion simply and briefly. Taking a solid metaphor or using words with multiple meanings can multiply that effect.

Thanks to Bill Laurienti, Composed Writing and Editing Services LLC!

#7- Process I call ‘drunken brainstorming.’

Photo Credit: Erhan Dikman

I’ll be honest, when I’m naming a business or a blog (I’m a bit of a serial entrepreneur), I always turn to a process I call ‘drunken brainstorming.’ I sit down with pen, paper, and my alcoholic beverage of choice and write down everything that comes to mind. Having a little buzz removes my usual self-critical filter and allows my creativity to flow. After I have a huge list, I set it aside for a day or so and return (sober this time!) to narrow it down by comparing each choice to the next and crossing off the losers.

Thanks to Jacquelyn Kyle, Traveliste!

#8- One that made us laugh and stand out

Image Credit:  Colin McIntosh

We named our company Sheets & Giggles because it made us laugh, and we wanted to stand out in a super bland and boring bedding industry. Everyone in this space has a weirdly self-important brand, and we think that’s a little pretentious – we’re selling bed sheets, not curing diseases. Our brand voice focuses on things like pizza in bed, wine in bed, dogs in bed – the bedroom is a big part of your life, but it’s a fun part of your life, and we wanted that feeling to come across instantly in our name.

Thanks to Colin McIntosh, Sheets & Giggles!

#9- From perusing online dating profile essays

Photo Credit: Sandy Weiner

My dating coaching company, Last First Date, got its name from perusing online dating profile essays. I kept seeing ‘looking for my last first date’ in people’s profiles, and since that’s what I help women over 40 do, it was the perfect name for my company! I was thrilled to see that the url was available.

Thanks to Sandy Weiner, Last First Date!

#10-Three motives

Photo Credit: Lisa Lewis Ellis

What’s in a Name? Everything! Motivation. Meaning. Moxie. A good name should have all three and Kick Boxing Believers, L.L.C. does just that. We don’t teach the real martial art form or actual sport of kickboxing. Naturally, the business name immediately conjures up the thought of making calculated moves to defeat impending enemies. It’s a win-win because we are in the business of teaching prosperity and personal success by releasing self-limiting belief systems that take major busting moves!

Thanks to Lisa Lewis Ellis, Kick Boxing Believers, L.L.C.!

#11- Created a name that stood out while inspiring a *good* feeling

Photo Credit: Mazdak Mohammadi

I created blueberrycloud in August of 2015 shortly after I left my position at a local software company. Coming from an I.T. background I wanted to serve our community with I.T. services and I wished to make my company name related to I.T. and the “cloud”. I also noticed that the competitor I.T. companies felt very rigid and square in how they were named so I sought the business name as an opportunity to stand out. I wanted to create a name  that stood out while inspiring a *good* feeling among potential customers, something warm and friendly. I tried putting together several names until I heard myself say “blueberrycloud”. I felt that fit the bill very nicely, and decided to run with it after sitting with it for another week or so. Though we no longer do I.T. and we have since moved in to the digital marketing space, I have found the name to be liked by potential customers and it’s a great icebreaker to talk about at networking events. I regularly get asked what I do due to the abstractness and uniqueness of the name blueberrycloud. It’s a great name, it’s worked out well for us.

Thanks to Mazdak Mohammadi, blueberrycloud!

#12- Securing a 4 letter domain

Photo Credit: Michele Mehl

After months of trying to find the perfect name, we discovered that the answer was literally right in front of us in a spreadsheet we were living in to keep track of our bill of materials. Excy (short for exercise cycling) was the name of an Excel spreadsheet column to track one piece of material for our portable stationary exercise bike. It’s not easy to find a four-letter domain, it had meaning (EXercise CYle), and become a no-brainer. We were able to secure the domain pretty inexpensively. Sometimes the answer is right in front of you. Just have to be willing to see it.

Thanks to Michele Mehl, Excy!

#13- Simplicity and meaning

Photo Credit: Wendela Whitcomb Marsh

When I took early retirement from the field of education to start my own business as an autism consultant, I wanted a business name that would be simple and easy to remember, and also meaningful. I chose PIPS for these reasons. A pip has two meanings in the dictionary: an excellent thing, and a seed. Both meant something to me as I sought to plant the seeds of what I hoped would be an excellent service for families affected by autism. Initially, I used the tagline, PIPS: Positive Intervention Problem Solving to highlight the behavior intervention work I had done with children. Now that my business has changed directions slightly, and I am niching down to meet the needs of the under-served autistic adult population, I use the tagline, PIPS: Promoting Independence & Problem Solving. I believe that having a name that is short, easy to remember, and meaningful has helped my business grow.

Thanks to Wendela Whitcomb Marsh, PIPS!

#14- Where I work from

Photo Credit: Jody T. Morse

Most of my writing work happens—weather permitting—on my balcony at home. When choosing a name for my boutique publishing house, I knew I wanted something related to that magical, inspiring place. Additionally, I’m a huge fan of alliteration in my poetry work and wanted the title to include a clue as to what the company does. Bountiful Balcony Books felt right when it escaped my lips for the first time. Like the written works we produce, it conjures images, grandeur, and connection.

Thanks to Jody T. Morse, Bountiful Balcony Books!

#15- Our origin

Our name was created based on – we’re originally from the south “Memphis, TN” and we started the company in the “sunshine state of Florida” which led us to create our name “ Southern Sunshine.” We create custom furniture and home décor that range from styles of modern, industrial and rustic design.

Thanks to Ashley Bodi, Southern Sunshine!

#16- My best-selling book

Photo Credit: Kevin W. McCarthy

In 1992, I published my first best-selling book, The On-Purpose Person, Making Your Life Make Sense. In 1998, The On-Purpose Business Person was released and also become a best-seller. Clients for our consulting, coaching, training and speaking service were confused by US Partners, Inc. It just made sense to link the On-Purpose® brand with the company name. On-Purpose Partners is a nice alliteration so here we are years later with a dba of On-Purpose Partners. Be On-Purpose!

Thanks to Kevin W. McCarthy, On-Purpose Partners!

#17- A blog post comment

Photo Credit: Bennett Lauber

We provide usability evaluation and user experience design services for Healthcare and Enterprise IT systems. The name of our company came as a result of a comment someone made on a blog post that we posted regarding a common user experience issue several years ago on a blog/news site (or maybe it was Linkedin). That person responded, I wonder what the usability people think about that issue Tada – We found the name for the company The Usability People.

Thanks to Bennett Lauber, The Usability People, LLC!

#18- Represent different people and experiences

Photo Credit: Jamie Thomas

I came up with motley zoo animal rescue because the people that came together to save animals was a motley crue of folks from different backgrounds and experiences- and looked very different too…but we all loved animals- and music. motley crue is an old fav- and zoo implied many species of animals (not restricted to domestics only). every time I said it out loud, people laughed. i felt that if a grantor had a few options on their desk and one made them laugh and stood out, that wasn’t bad. thankfully too, this was the name everyone voted on when we founded 🙂 it wasn’t all up to me! our dog daycare, rock star treatment was keeping with the rock and roll theme- and the dogs would be treated like celebrities…we give dogs the rock star treatment 🙂 both have been wildly successful for us!

Thanks to Jamie Thomas, Motley Zoo Animal Rescue!

#19- From a conversation with the captain of a ferry boat

Photo Credit: Aquanetta Wright

The business name came from a conversation with the captain of a ferry boat in the Hudson Valley, 60 miles north of NYC. The Newburgh-Beacon ferry connected the railroad to a community known for having the highest crime rate in NYS, the City of Newburgh NY. Wanting to make a difference, this was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey. As an activist and very politically involved I was appointed by the mayor to sit on a number of commissions and committees. that was not enough so in an effort to be more effective and draw positive attention to the area, I began bringing world-class musicians including the US Military West Point Band to the Newburgh waterfront and ferry landing. These summer-long concert genres include; jazz, doowop, classic rock, gospel and introducing in 2018 Jewish music. All concerts are free and open to general public. Over the past decade, the name has become synonymous with unifying a diverse community through music and working to help women and minorities start businesses. The Ferry godmother has become a sign of hope for the community, the voice of all people.

Thanks to Aquanetta Wright, Ferry Godmother Productions!

#20- Something versatile and memorable

Photo Credit: Caden Rhoton

When I was thinking about names for my business, I wanted to land on something versatile. Businesses sometimes pivot and need to rebrand because their name is no longer relevant to what they do as a company. Because my site it’s a financial site, I wanted there to be some reference to money and finances. I also wanted to talk about wellness and lifestyle topics. Lastly, I wanted a moniker for myself. I wanted some sort of nickname with which to be able to refer to myself. With that criteria, I set about making a list of names that would fit the bill. I finally landed on dimedad.com. It accomplished all three of my objectives, and the nickname is starting to stick! The power of a good name lies in its memorability and versatility.

Thanks to Caden Rhoton, Dime Dad!

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

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