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15 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- Tried a bunch of brainstorming techniques

Photo Credit: Ed Donner

To be completely honest, the name came to me out of the blue. I was on vacation in the English countryside. I’d set aside a morning to name my new business. I tried a bunch of brainstorming techniques that people recommended — looking for nouns, verbs, and abstract words related to ‘reaching far and wide for talent’. I came up with a shortlist of three. But a quick Google revealed that I wasn’t the first person to think of any of them! And they didn’t stand the test of time – by the afternoon I’d fallen out of love with all three. The next day I was doing something completely unrelated, and suddenly the word ‘untapped’ popped into my head.. as in, untapped talent, untapped potential. The spelling ‘untapt’ appealed right away. I went straight to my laptop, was shocked to discover that the domain was available, and bought it then and there. I’ve remained in love with it ever since.

Thanks to Ed Donner, untapt!

#2- A name that shares our message

Photo Credit: Monica Sanita

In Spanish, Siempre means Always. As a start-up company, for us, we Always see the bright side of things. Starting up, we’ve seen so many obstacles and struggled in many instances but we’ve Always been able to see the opportunity in these obstacles. For us, it was important to share our message through our brand and company name because we like to bring a refreshing approach to the liquor industry and always be transparent with our consumer base. Not only is the word Siempre used so frequently in the Spanish language but as a tequila company spreading good tequila vibes we’d like everyone to always see the (tequila) bottle half full.

Thanks to Monica Sanita, Siempre Spirits Limited!

#3- Onesie that fits like a cocoon

Photo Credit: Levi Lascsak

The Cocoonsie is the world’s most functional, around the house, wearable blanket on the market today! I was going to name it the OneZee. However, I would describe the Cocoonsie as a onesie that fits like a cocoon. One night I was speaking to my parents and my mom blurted out Cocoonsie! After thinking about it for a couple of days, I had my dad draw a logo. After seeing it on paper I knew we had something. I modified the in the name to make it look like the I was wearing a Cocoonsie. A new brand was born with a little help from family!

Thanks to Levi Lascsak, Cocoonsie, LLC.!

#4- Inspired by the periodic chart at the beginning credits of Breaking Bad

Photo Credit: Christopher Foss

Kind of a funny story. I started Ironistic with my friend, Jared Elliott. We thought of our last names but didn’t want Foss-Elliott Digital Agency or Elliott-Foss Web Development or anything like that. However, both of us were obsessed with Breaking Bad at the time we started the company. Yep, you guessed it. Inspired by the periodic chart at the beginning credits of Breaking Bad, we decided to use our first initials of our last name and went with Fe in our logo. Fe is the symbol for iron, so from there we just started making up names. Ironistic was born!

Thanks to Christopher Foss, Ironistic!

#5- From a wandering dog

Photo Credit: Charlie Brain

Our name, Lubanzi, comes from a wandering dog that followed me and my co-founder on a 6 day, 100 mile trip hiking across South Africa’s remote Wild Coast. In 2014, while living in South Africa as exchange students, we set off on a 20-hour bus ride along South Africa’s southern coast en route to the wild coast, a remote part of the country – famously the birthplace of Nelson Mandela – for a week-long backpacking expedition. On our second day, a wandering dog the locals called ‘LUBANZI’ began following us on our adventure. He stuck with us throughout our journey – for 6 days & 100 miles – until he disappeared in the middle of the night before our final morning. There’s some poetic justice in that. In the spirit of this adventure, we returned to South Africa in 2016 endeavoring to launch a business that would connect people back home in America with a country and a people we had both been so struck by, and deliver some seriously top-notch wines in the process.

Thanks to Charlie Brain, Lubanzi Wines!

#6-Two reasons

Photo Credit: Reg Harnish

We chose the name GreyCastle for two reasons: First, the castle symbolizes one of the greatest security defenses and means of protection throughout history. Just as those who lived on the land could take refuge within the castle’s stony walls, we provide a digital fortress for our clients, along with arming our clients and their employees with the right knowledge to defend against attacks. Secondly, the world of cybersecurity is never black and white – there are, however, many and all shades of grey. You can have all of the latest technology and have the highest of training, but you are never 100 percent safe from an attack. And, every attack must be treated uniquely, and those who are resilient remain standing when it’s all said and done.

Thanks to Reg Harnish, GreyCastle Security!

#8- Through a naming exercise

To accomplish naming we went through a naming exercise (something we also offer our clients) and through that exercise came up with Flauk. I came up with the name Flauk (like a flock of birds) because our business centers around being the entrepreneur’s team, or flying V. We believe that we can go further and accomplish more together, just like a flock of birds can go further together than alone. We substituted the oc for au, which is the periodic table symbol for gold. We also believe that every person has an idea or inspiration inside them that is gold, it’s what makes you, *you*. Our job as your flying V is to bring out that gold and help you create the business and life of your dreams.

Thanks to  Sarah Moe, Flauk!

#9- My rebel nature

Photo Credit: Melis Sawerschel

I have been a rule-breaker since I was born, which wasn’t easy to my parents. From coming to school to apologize from my teachers on my behalf, who I rebelled against for every single unacceptable mistake they made as a teacher, to creating my little kingdom as a kid where I didn’t let anybody to move any object in my room even 1 cm. My mother has been calling me ‘rebel’ since I could spell my name. When I looked for a business name for my online fashion brand for women, I wanted it to encourage women to stand out without being afraid of it. And I know that I have been always the person people speak behind such as ‘yeah she is problematic, she is trouble-maker, she is rebel..’. I wanted women to be so fearless to rebel against all things that don’t sit right with them in life, that as a result other people call them behind ‘She Is Rebel’ and they can be proud to be called like this.

Thanks to Melis Sawerschel, She Is Rebel!

#10- Inspired by a primary ship used by early explorers

Photo Credit: Carlos Castelán

Navio, or nao in Old Spanish, was the primary ship used by the early explorers from Spain and Portugal during the Age of Discovery. Known as a Caravel in England, their design made them ideal for navigating to unknown territories and through uncharted waters. Just as these ships carried their voyagers on to new lands, The Navio Group helps navigate our clients to new heights and the future.

Thanks to Carlos Castelán, The Navio Group!

#11- Named after my maternal grandparents

Photo Credit: Candice Huber

Since my business has such a unique name, the most common question we receive is Who are Tubby and Coo? People guess everything from pets to myself and my husband, but the business is actually named after my maternal grandparents who both grew up in the same neighborhood of New Orleans where the bookstore is located. Tubby and Coo were their childhood nicknames. I’m a sixth generation New Orleanian with deep roots in the city, and I wanted to honor those roots. What better way to do so than by naming my business for my family? Tubby is still kicking it at almost 98 years old, and he is very proud and happy to have a bookstore named after him. Every so often, he comes and sits in a rocking chair inside the store and tells everyone that he’s our namesake. Those moments are priceless, and I’m so happy he  got to see my business come to fruition!

Thanks to Candice Huber, Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop!

#12- Name that tells it all

Photo Credit: Natalie Caine

I wanted to solve a problem. There was no support for parents whose kids were heading to college. My daughter would be leaving in a year and my mission was to educate parents about their new role and support them in what’s next for them now that the parenting calendar was much less filled. I thought of the name, EMPTY NEST SUPPORT SERVICES, because that says it all.

Thanks to Natalie Caine, ENSS!

#13- Chose from various domain names

In 2002 we bought roughly 150 domain names, most of which we still own. We at the time believed our target market would be school moms who ordered shirts for their kids athletic teams and college students who wanted shirts for parties, football tailgates etc. We had a crew go out with printed sheets that had the names of our domains and asked people to number their top 3 or more. Some of our names were Makeashirt, Createashirt, tshirt4u, createshirtsonline, and quite a few others. DesignAShirt was never even that high up for consideration but it was a clear winner. Funny, I don’t think in 2002 it was called crowdsourcing, but that is how DesignAShirt got named.

Thanks to John Anton, DesignAShirt!

#14- From an AOL screen name

Photo Credit: Catherine Hildner

The name Kitty Meow for my company of beautifully designed witty and sweet paper goods came from an AOL screen name from back in my college days. (Northern Illinois University alum) It’s a running joke among friends that Kitty Meow is my sort of alter ego to my normally introverted self. I used this as the company name during a packaging project of fancy watches for one of my design classes in college. The juxtaposition of it all was so captivating to me. Fancy box…silly name. A sort of pleasant surprise. I told myself if I were ever to have my own biz one day I would call it Kitty Meow. So here we are! The Kitty Meow Boutique brand continues on with that same dichotomy of wittiness mixed with beautiful typography in all types of paper goodies. If you know me personally, that’s me to a T. Sometimes my humor can be a little sarcastic and witty, but other times I’m a total sweetheart.

Thanks to Catherine Hildner, Kitty Meow: A Creative Boutique!

#15- Based on where I lived

Before starting my own company, my designs were available from a couple of distributors. One of them REALLY liked alliteration so she named my line Perry’s Perfect Needlepoint. I didn’t much like that, but I did like the alliteration and the needlepoint because that’s what I do and what I had become associated with. I wanted a name that was not mine because I did not want to be the brand and I wanted to be free to bring in other people. I lived in Napa at the time. Napa Needlepoint was a name that was easy to remember and accomplished everything I wanted.

Thanks to Janet Perry, Napa Needlepoint!

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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