28 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Came Up With Their Business Names
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- Unique name addressing what we're doing
I started a couple of businesses before NCrypted and knew that finding the right name for the business is very important and you can't take it lightly. My idea back then was clear that the name should address what we are doing and should be something that our target customers can directly relate to. At the same time, I wanted to make sure the name is unique and available – that is to ensure no other businesses are already operating under that name. Initially, it won't come up to many entrepreneurs' mind, but soon you will have to worry about trademarks. I also wanted to be certain that we have a..com or at least a .net domain name directly available for the brand name that we chose. From the community and region that I come from, it was difficult for locales to pronounce the name back when we started. But, so long as it made our message clear to our target customers, we were fine.
Thanks to Kunal Pandya, NCrypted!
#2-We chose two superlatives
A great company name has to be snappy, memorable, and accurately convey your market space without limiting your reach. It also needs to make an easy to type URL so prospects can find you readily on the web. Lately other data storage startups were choosing names ending in .io so they could use an .io URL extension – which makes sense for two reasons: since .io extensions were newer, more are available than .com addresses; the letters .io reiterate the word IOPs which is a measure of strong storage performance. But we wanted to stand out from the rest with a name that didn't limit us to just the storage sector. We chose two superlatives – excellent and accelerate – positive words for any IT solution and exactly what customers want from high-quality, reliable storage. Excellent + Accelerate became Excelero – and we had zero issues sourcing that as a unique URL.
Thanks to Lior Gal, Excelero!
#3- The hack that solves bra fit problems
I came up with the name ‘Bra Bridge' because the bottom of a bra is called the bridge, and the Bra Bridge looks like a bridge suspended between the bra cups. Since the product helps with all kinds of bra fit issues and clips between the two bra cups, it seemed like the right way to convey how it functions while at the same time offering an ‘easy to remember' name for marketing purposes.
Thanks to Judith Samson, Bra Bridge!
#4- Inspired by Lemmy's work
We were brainstorming for days, trying to come up with a company name for our AgTech startup. I had a big sheet in front of me, divided into grouped keywords related to our products and value propositions. With the radio squabbling in the background, I felt overwhelmed looking at all the
scribbles. I suddenly perked up to an announcement on the radio: the lead singer, Lemmy, of the British heavy metal band, MotörHead, had died. I looked down at my clutter and suddenly the words motor and leaf popped out from the chaos. I'm not a big MotörHead music fan, but I did know of Lemmy, his life philosophy of breaking rules and not caring what others thought of him, and how he lived a hard life but beat all odds to survive to a ripe old age. We wanted to embody all those characteristics in our start-up and we symbolically keep Lemmy on our minds with the logo design and company name having a distinctive diaeresis above the second ‘o': Motörleaf.
Thanks to Alastair Monk, Motorleaf!
#5- Reflect something about the service and the ethos of my business
The one thing I knew when I started Cherish was that to be an effective long-term business, it needed to stand apart from me. Previously, lots of people were putting their own name above the door, but I knew it wasn’t a one-woman show. There was also lost of attention-grabbing names – Rocket, Tomato, Bubblegum, Pig, but that didn’t mean anything. For me, the business name needed to reflect something about the service and the ethos of the business. I knew from 16 years in agency that the best work came from great client/agency relationships and that was the essence of the name. With that brief, we pulled together a shortlist and Cherish stood out above the rest – I wanted my clients to feel so happy with our product that they would cherish their relationship with my agency. Cherish was born.
Thanks to Rebecca Oatley, Cherish PR!
#6- A heritage, background and character
For the Pino family – my parents, myself, my wife and my children – The Art of Living With Purpose, Passion & Joy® is heavily influenced by an Italian lifestyle or, more to the point, Tuscan living. It’s been part of our DNA for nearly 230 years. My parents – their heritage, background and character – have informed the Tuscan Gardens® approach. Not only have I attempted to recreate the gracious life my mother lived, but also the warmth and intimacy of my father’s loving Sicilian family. I share the story of my parents not only because I find it touching and uplifting, but also as a means of sharing my vision for Tuscan Gardens®.
Thanks to Larry Pino, Tuscan Gardens®!
#7- Relate directly to what we do
When deciding on my business name, I wanted a name that is strategic and clearly conveys what my business is about the moment people see it, rather than something that is generic and holds no meaning. My business specializes in helping coaches and consultants upgrade and automate their client acquisition process, so that they can spend their time focusing on what they do best – helping their clients. Hence, it naturally made sense for me to include client acquisition in my business name. This way when my target clients see my business name, they would immediately know what my business is about.
Thanks to Davis Lin, Client Acquisition Lab!
#8- From our tagline
It took three tries over ten years to get my interior design business name just right, and a lot of courage to start over each time and toss out all the branding work we’d done on each iteration. First, I named the company Rivalee Design in honor of my grandmother. It was a lovely tribute, but ultimately I decided that I needed to step in front of my company and put my own name on the door (plus, folks had a ton of trouble knowing how to pronounce the name). Then I went the traditional route of having my own name front and center, as Rebecca West Interiors. No problem at all, but it didn’t really differentiate me from the thousands of other interior designers out there, or give any clue to what we are about. Meanwhile, I’d been driving around with our tagline, “Seriously. Happy. Homes.” on the side of my car, and folks would stop me to say they loved the business name when I’d get out of the car at the gas station, the grocery store, the library… everywhere! At first I kept explaining that it was just the tagline, not the name, and then one day I realized – wait! That actually *is* our name. I made it an official change and it from that day on it has served not only to describe what we are about, but also build us up as a team instead of making it all about me. Yea!
Thanks to Rebecca West, Seriously Happy Homes!
#9- A lesson learned at a youthful stage
The E-Seedling name came from one of my youth entrepreneurship endeavors. At age 13 my friend and I started a business together. We both lived on a farm and both liked plants so we came up with the idea of starting a plant business. We bought peat pots, soil and seeds, planted the seeds in the pots, watered them and put them in the window of her shed to sprout and grow. At first, we checked them every day and after several days they finally sprouted into seedlings. We were already dreaming of what we were going to spend the money on. Once the seedlings appeared we thought it would only be days until we could start selling the plants and making money. Then one day, I rode my bike down the road to check on the plants and to my dismay, they had all dried up and died. I was devastated; my first real business had failed! At the time I didn’t realize it, but I had learned two very valuable lessons about starting a business. 1) Make sure you have a partnership agreement that includes who is going to do what when. 2) Sprouting the seeds is the easy part; it’s cultivating the seedlings that takes time, care and attention. E-seedling was sprouted to prepare our youth for success in life and business and take some of the pain out of learning the hard way!
Thanks to Julie Ann Wood, E-seedling LLC!
#10- Memorable name
When I started the business in 2002 we mainly sold portable air cooling and heating products. I remember the sweltering heat of the summer and thinking, this was a good decision! There were a lot of competitors but I felt we could bring new ideas to an old industry so I thought of the name NewAir. Short and memorable, but the main domain name was taken at the time so we first ran with Newairusa. Later I found out that the domain was being squatted on by someone in Korea and we began to negotiate. We knew that as the business grew, so would the cost of buying that domain name and we eventually reached a deal for the domain, Newair. What I really value about the name is how memorable it is to customers. When I give out my email address or the name of the company, I don't have to repeat myself five time! And after all these years I feel we are still bringing new ideas to our industry. Right now Newair still sells portable cooling products but we are also focused on beer and wine coolers. We can keep you and your drinks cool, what a combination!
Thanks to Luke Peters, NewAir!
#11- My blue eyes and the university I attended
The name of my business is BlueIvy Communications. And yes, that’s “BlueIvy” just like Beyonce and Jay-Z’s first child. However, mine did come first!! ☺ When I left the corporate world in 2011 to start my Public Relations and Communications firm, it was important that my company/brand represent me and my background. That’s why it was naming my new company BlueIvy Communications made sense. The “Blue” represents “blue eyes” and specifically my blue eyes. My mom, Susan Perlman, passed away in 2008 from breast cancer and ever since I was a little girl, I can remember my mom telling me stories about how she wished and wished for blue eyes all through her life…and while she obviously never got them…she had two girls with blue eyes – one of which was me. (My brother has dark brown eyes!) She loved my blue eyes. And the “Ivy” represents Brown University where I attended and which is a member of the Ivy League. It was important that I pay tribute to Brown where my writing skills reached a whole new level! Funny enough – after Beyonce and Jay-Z had their own BlueIvy (one year after mine), I spent a lot of time talking to advertising trade publications and regional newspapers about the history behind my choice of the name. It was the media’s own way of potentially learning why the celebrities chose the name themselves!
Thanks to Melissa Perlman, BlueIvy Communications!
#12- Easy and clock names
When my business partner and I were thinking of names for our company/ product we knew we wanted to create an easy to use app and the name should represent what our product does which is clocking in and out. We looked at different combinations of easy and clock words and thought about ezClock but that was taken so then we decided on ezClocker. Today we get a lot of compliments on our name, it's simple, catchy, and gives you an idea of what the product should do.
Thanks to Raya Khashab, ezClocker!
#13- Message of empowerment and the work I do
Printz was created to help people bring design to their homes by empowering them to do it themselves. With the right tools and guidance, I believe anyone has the capability to create an environment they desire. This principal of empowerment came from my grandmother, along with my unusual middle name, her maiden name, Printz. Yes, spelled that exact way! Also, my favorite aspect of interior design. I’m captivated by the thousands of fabric and wallpaper patterns and prints. While working at West Elm, I also noticed this was an aspect of design people needed help with, to match different patterns and colors in their space. Thus, Printz which is a part of me and embodies a message of empowerment from my grandmother, also represents the wondrous prints in design. I couldn’t image naming my do-it-yourself, interior design company anything else!
Thanks to Haley Horn, Printz!
#14- Inspired by author and film writer Anne Thompson
The name Smarthouse was inspired by author and film writer Anne Thompson. In her book The $11 Billion Dollar Year, she said that what movies need to succeed wasn't an arthouse, it was a smarthouse. Though our client base has expanded since our early days, our mission was to help independent filmmakers make the biggest impact possible, so this name seemed perfect!
Thanks to Ryan Davis here, Smarthouse Creative!
#15- Symbolize our culture of taking risks and being brave
What does it mean to walk west? The movement west has signified progress even against significant odds. Crossing the ocean, looking over the mountains and wondering what’s over there. When we named our agency Walk West, it symbolized our culture of taking risks and being brave. Doing what no one else has done before and being unafraid to try something unique and wholly different.
Thanks to Brian Onorio, Walk West!
#16- We Solved A Simple Problem
The name just came out. When my wife had her third c-section and couldn’t get on the ground to draw with sidewalk chalk with our kids, she zip-tied a piece of chalk to a stick so she could stand (or walk) and draw. I asked her why she didn’t just go buy one of these “chalk sticks” at the store, but she had never seen one, and I couldn’t find any online. But that’s all it was, a “chalk stick”. However, within minutes she came up and said “What if we called this thing a ‘Walkie Chalkie’” and that’s when I knew we had something, if the name was available, it was so good. That name would give this “stick” a life – it said exactly what the product was but had a simple and familiar ring to it. How fun is that, a Walkie Chalkie? I flew down the path of inventing the product, with a new patented holder for the chalk, so parents, kids, grandparents and even special needs folks can draw with sidewalk chalk without having to be on the ground. We filed to trademark the name Walkie Chalkie but had some slight question on it from our lawyers, so we changed the product name to Walkie Chalk. At the time, we were really worried about this change, but in the end it worked out great – we do own both names and have sold over 100,000 Walkie Chalks in the US and have shipped retailers like Walgreen’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Meijer, Hobby Lobby and more. People just say they love the name, Walkie Chalk – simple, memorable and descriptive. And our tag line? “Stand Up & Draw!”
Thanks to Matt Damman, Walkie Chalk!
#17- Shared experiences
The name for FACT (Find a Cure Today) Goods was inspired by myself and my co-founder, Scott, due to shared experiences of friends who were seemingly healthy and fit being overtaken by rare diseases. In order to combat this issue, FACT Goods was born to generate funds for organizations that perform research for lesser-known cancers and illnesses. Just as our name says, we hope to generate positivity and inspiration in our messaging and allow our customers to donate to charities that they hold near and dear to their hearts so we can hopefully find a cure today.
Thanks to Antonella Pisani, FACT Goods!
#18- Translating common PR-related word
When I decided to launch a public relations firm in 2014, I wanted a name that was memorable, unique, and strong. And, of course, a name that would have an available website domain. The reality is that it's fun to look for a name for your company for about five minutes, the point at which you discover all the good names were taken. So I played around with translating common PR-related word into other languages. I started with Gaelic, since I'm Irish, but nothing sounded right. So I tried Esperanto, a language introduced more than 100 years ago that is connected to no single country and that relatively few people speak. I entered buzz in Google translate and the word Zumado appeared. It had a nice ring to it, and fit the bill on all counts. The domain was available. The mission of Esperanto's founder, to create a universal language that would unite the world, hasn't quite panned out – I have yet to meet anyone who knows what our name means. But I'm happy to say that Zumado PR is going strong.
Thanks to Nick Gaffney, Zumado Public Relations!
#19- The results we aim to create
We sell and license custom phone numbers, so our name sprung naturally from the results we aim to create for our customers: we get your phones to ring and, in doing so, boost your sales. Increasing call volume is a tried-and-trusted way to get more qualified prospects into a sales pipeline, as well as helping customers and improving brand recall. The Ring part of our name focuses on the direct result of what we sell, while the Boost covers everything else!
Thanks to Paul Faust, RingBoost.com!
#20- What I was studying then
At the time, I had been studying a bit about ham radios and the term voltage kept coming up. I was getting ready to start my company, but I didn't want it to be named after me. I wanted this company to be bigger than just me. I wanted the company name to depict energy and creativity and voltage seemed to represent these traits. When I saw that the domain was available, I locked it in. VOLTAGE was born.
Thanks to Eric Fowles, VOLTAGE!
#21- Inspired by a heroic figure – Joseph Zito
I help employers with workforce wellbeing and sustainability. For many years, I've been influenced by a story that changed the course of employee wellbeing in the U.S. and, upon learning about it, changed the course of my career, as well. In the historic Triangle Factory Fire of 1911, elevator operator *Joseph Zito* risked his life as he made repeated elevator trips to the fiery upper factory floors to transport trapped young workers to safety. My company's name, Jozito, is an homage to this heroic figure — Joseph Zito. It is a reminder to me to stay true to my own purpose. I make Jozito memorable to others with the story behind it. And the story reinforces my business's brand. And, finally, the name Jozito allows me to be flexible, in
recognition that, as a new consultancy grows, its services and focus may change. A more product-specific name would already be obsolete as my focus shifted from employee wellness to supporting positive organizations by innovating new evidence-based methods to secure person-job fit.
Thanks to Bob Merberg, Jozito LLC!
#22- Wanted a short, one-of-a-kind name
We came up with the name Synlio about a year ago so that day is still very fresh in my mind. It started when our attorney said we needed something unique so that the name could be protected. Thus, we wanted a name that was one-of-a-kind, short enough so that we didn't have to type out a zillion letters every time we wrote our emails or logged in anywhere (we were hoping for 8 or fewer letters), had the .com URL still available, and tied into what we do. So the partners locked ourselves in a room with a bottle of bourbon and threw up ideas on a white board starting with what we were about and what we do. We then tried to mold those into names. It took all day, most the bourbon, and several dry erase markers before we found Synlio. This satisfied all of our requirements including the final one since the prefix Syn means to connect, which is what we do with buyers and sellers through the RFP process. The name sounded weird to us at first, but we have grown to love it and are very proud of it. We look back on that naming day fondly.
Thanks to Matthew Wolach, Synlio!
#23- Took a nod from a company called ‘ Moo'
In coming up with the name for Woof Signs, I knew I wanted it to be something fun and catchy since I was embarking on modernizing a legacy industry (signage). I also wanted the name to pop and say ‘hey! look over here!'. My first thought was ‘Buzz Signs' but unfortunately that domain was about $3K and as a new business owner, not something I could afford (Pro Tip: before choosing your name, make sure the domain is available and within budget). From there I decided to take a nod from a company called ‘ Moo', I chose ‘Woof Signs' because it was bright, memorable and personally I have a huge love for animals so adds a bit of a personal touch. An added benefit, since signage is not something consumers are purchasing every day, I have found that the name (and logo) is helpful in consumers recalling the company after longer periods of time, ‘hmmm, it's that company with the orange dog…
Thanks to Ally Compeau, Woof Signs!
#24- Represent who we are
We're 2 best friends who became unemployed in 2016 and decided to start a YouTube channel and company to tackle the stigma around unemployment and create a support system for others going through it. While we knew we'd be talking about career-related topics, we also wanted the tone to be light and playful to reflect our personalities. We came up with a few initial names, did a search on Trademarkia and on all the social media platforms to check if they were taken and ran them by our friends. But people either didn't get the meaning of those initial names or their eyes didn't light up. So we scratched those and finally came up with The 9to5 MisFits, which was a winner on all fronts and is basically us in a nutshell! When it was time to graduate to becoming a video production company, we wanted to keep the MisFit name, so we now call ourselves MisFit Communications.
Thanks to Pavi + Nammy, The 9to5 MisFits™!
I wanted a relevant name that was easy to remember. In terms of relevance, I was seeking a name that was associated with cats and t-shirts. I used the website, NameCheckr, to search for domain and social media username availability across different networks. Using the same username on multiple platforms was important to me as I wanted to keep the name consistent and recognizable.
Thanks to Jess Chua, Meow Meow Shirts!
#26- It's what people search for
I've seen the power of Google search across several businesses. So when I was looking for a name for our new edtech platform aimed at helping hobby writers get into journalism, I wanted something that would be as clear for machines as it was for humans. Hence, we went with ‘Breaking into Journalism', a name which is easily recognizable as both a brand and an ambition for our audience. The decision paid off – with almost no optimization, we already rank on the first page of this valuable term.
Thanks to Nicholas Holmes, Breaking into Journalism!
#27- I envisioned myself cycling up the Appalachian Gap
I moved to Vermont to cycle and ski, and to work in a gourmet food operation in Burlington. When the food company went out of business, I began writing a business plan for a brewery. The name Switchback was first conjured while I was envisioning myself cycling up the Appalachian Gap, an iconic ride in Vermont, which finishes with a brutal set of switchbacks. I liked the fact that switchbacks are regularly used by hikers, skiers, and cyclists, but also that the term serves as a metaphor for life, in that our path is seldom straight towards our goals.
Thanks to Bill Cherry, Switchback Brewing Co.!
#28- As an emotional statement affirming our mission
I am CEO of the Wild Nature Institute, a non-profit scientific research, education, and advocacy organization devoted to saving endangered species and their habitats. Saving endangered species and their habitats only makes sense to someone who has an emotional connection to the wilderness and nature. We chose our name as an emotional statement affirming our mission of preserving wild nature as humanity's priceless natural inheritance of ecological services providing clean air and water, medicines, food plants, and raw materials. Wild nature also represents our best insurance policy against ecological disasters such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, and the best mental health treatment for the ills of modern urban life. ‘Wild' invokes untamed, non-human, biocentric beauty. ‘Nature' speaks to the natural, green and blue ecosphere that supports all human and non-human life. ‘Institute' implies a solid edifice where clever scientists and advocates are working through time for the greater good.
Thanks to Derek E. Lee, Wild Nature Institute!