18 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- Based on a relationship status
I named my lifestyle brand ‘Urban Spinster' because I am an African-American woman who is single, never married over age 30. My goal is to be a living example of the completeness one can achieve despite their relationship status. Many people associate Spinster with an Old Maid or crazy cat lady. We are often made to feel as if being single is a punishment or curse. Faced with the judgment of others, ignoring our instincts becomes an effort to fit in. I live my life pursuing my purpose and hope I can help others do the same via digital guided journals on topics relevant to the single woman, the Urban Spinster podcast and blog contributed articles.
Thanks to Sadia S. Sanders, Urban Spinster!
#2- Based on what we do
When I first decided to shift my solopreneur freelance career into an agency, I knew I needed a separate name for the new business. My vision was for an editing and coaching agency that would help bloggers and online brand publications focus on the quality of writing and ideas. I landed on Craft Your Content, as the whole point to learn how to better craft their content work. I was told at the time it was a horrible idea, and no one would know what craft meant. Three years later, you can't throw a stone on the internet without finding articles starting to talk about the importance of craft in content.
Thanks to Elisa Doucette, Craft Your Content!
#3- While working under pressure
I was prepping for a workshop I was creating, feeling daunted because there was so much to do in so little time. Suddenly the thought popped into my head: ‘At this point, it's not even brainstorming. It's brainzooming.' I looked up from my computer, realizing it was the perfect name for my business, which helps people use creative thinking techniques to rapidly think through a smarter set of possibilities, turn strong ideas into solid strategies and implement them for better results and greater success.
Thanks to Mike Brown, The Brainzooming Group!
#4- My own name
When I approached the question of naming my company, I did not think for long. The financial market is one of the most complex areas of modern business. To succeed, It is crucial to gain people's trust and loyalty. From the very beginning, I wanted the company to be associated with a person, not with a corporation; I wanted it to have a friendly but still professional attitude. That is why I decided to turn to the history and follow one of the best and popular practices. I gave the company my own name as I am not afraid to be responsible for the work it does (Tugushev – Tugush). People trust me with their money, so I have no moral right to remain in the shadow.
Thanks to Ruslan Tugushev, Tugush Blockchain Capital!
#5- Name that stood for a particular meaning
I wanted our company name to really mean something and be indicative of the work we do. The acronym “RTG” in RTG Solutions Group stands for “Return to Green.” I began my career as an engineer and have always been committed to solving problems and running smooth business operations. I believe it’s important for leaders to visually see if business metrics are being met. In the Lean world, “green” means project details are on track. “Red” means a deadline is not being met. In this binary approach, there is no in-between. You can’t maybe or sort of meet goals. When projects are in “red,” leaders are aware, and the team can work to solve the problem and “return to green.” I am passionate about helping others solve problems and it is the cornerstone of the services we provide to our clients.
Thanks to Khris K. Bhattan, RTG Solutions Group!
#6- Days of brainstorming
We wanted to make sure the brand would be short and concise, easy to say, yet descriptive of what services we provide. It took a while but after days of brainstorming, Financer became our brand, and years later we're still very happy with the decision. It pays off to think twice about the brand.
Thanks to Johannes Larsson, Financer.com!
#7- While having an animated discussion in a bar
Our name is Homes And Villas Abroad and we sell holiday homes to mainly US and Canadian citizens. My business partner and I had been struggling to come up with a name for the best part of three days and ended up in an animated discussion in a bar. A barman passing our table chipped in to ask: What will your business do? Our answer: Sell homes and villas abroad. Barman with a shrug: Why not make that the name? Simple and inspired.
Thanks to Ainsley Llewellyn, Homes and Villas Abroad!
#8 My maiden name
I created my business name using my last names. Kennedy is my maiden name and Robinson is my married name. I wanted a business name that was professional, catchy, yet personal to me. I also wanted a name that represents one of the things I care about most, which is family. I can leave my business as a legacy for my children that will always have their name on it.
Thanks to Niesha Kennedy-Robinson, Kennedy Robinson PR!
#9- Simply what I do
My business name is called LeadHER International. I was inspired to use this name as I lead leaders to success and happiness. LeadHER is, of course, a play on words, taken from the word Leader. I help women leaders lead limitless lives by way of gaining the confidence and clarity necessary to make a greater impact in their personal and professional lives.
Thanks to Dr. Sarah Renee Langley, LeadHer!
#10-Named it Handshakin to help real estate contractors shake more hands
I started my business to help real estate contractors shake hands with more customers in person. Coming from a real estate investing background, it drove me nuts how awful contractors were at email and texts, and surely they'd never figure out how to build their own website. We build a website, for example, for a concrete contractor in fort collins, get it to rank, and then we contact a local contractor and send them free leads, and then ask them to ‘rent' the live phone calls that the website generates. All while beating Yelp and Home Advisor's prices by 75%. We've been generating more handshakes since 2017!
Thanks to Matt Handshakin Holmes, Handshakin Lead Generation!
I knew what I wanted out of a name; it had to be intuitive, approachable, and connecting, but not silly or cheap sounding. I started word lists with photo, shoot, local and along with an assortment of adjectives, I tried out various combinations. I've never been a fan of alt spellings unless they connote technology, but when I was searching through available domains and trademarks, with my beginner list of potential business names, I realized there wasn't much opportunity to not trade out a ph for an f. I actually spoke to the owner of a traditionally spelled URL that's similar to mine, and realized that while my business would modernize photography beyond the ‘sitting fee' days, he was holding on to that longstanding model of photography, and even though he hadn't updated his listing site in something like 14 years, the emotional attachment he felt for it outweighed any money I could afford to offer. So, like any Erika or Jessika, I embraced my alt spelling, bought my domain, and have come to love the distinctivity it holds.
Thanks to Marianne McGinley, Lokalphoto!
#12-Created a list of must-haves for my business/domain
Back when I was brainstorming my business name, I knew a tiny bit about SEO and general tips for choosing a domain name. Such as including your keyword, making it short and memorable, not using words that have multiple spellings, and selecting the domain suffix dot-com. But even with these tips in my back pocket, it was challenging to find a business/domain that was catchy, available, and not trademarked. So, I created a list of must-haves for my business/domain and started playing around with variations of each one. Eventually, I settled on The Work at Home Woman because it contained all my necessary components. One word of caution when choosing your business name — if you go to trademark your business name and it isn't unique — your request for the trademark can be denied because your name is merely descriptive. Luckily, I had been using my business name for five years plus and I was able to trademark my business name.
Thanks to Holly Reisem Hanna, The Work at Home Woman!
#13- Inspired by Alexandra Watkins
No one could spell, pronounce, or understand our first name, Elodyn. We had to change it. We heard great things about the book: Hello My Name is Awesome: How to Create Brand Names that Stick by Alexandra Watkins. She laid out a process she uses to name her clients. First we outlined a creative brief. We looked at our positioning, target audience, and desired brand experience. This creative brief laid a good foundation for brainstorming instead of scattershot, ad-hoc brainstorming. At the end of her process, we named our company Wavelength. Wavelength passed her SMILE test. It is Suggestive and evokes something about our brand. It is Meaningful and resonates with our audience. It has Imagery. It has Legs and lends itself to a theme. It is Emotional and can move people. It also avoids common SCRATCH pitfalls. It isn't Spelling challenged or a Copycat name. It isn't Restrictive, Annoying, or Tame. It doesn't have the Curse of Knowledge where only insiders are aware of its meaning. And thankfully, it isn't Hard to pronounce. Watkins' book helped us tremendously. She gave us a prescriptive process to find and evaluate names.
Thanks to Chris Gibson, Wavelength!
#14- Research then created a brief poll
Night Out Cards was almost Serendipity. I really liked the longer single word name for my company. However there were two deciding factors that helped me decide. The first was research about how it's better to communicate to larger audiences using third-grade language. Serendipity, as fun as it was to say, wasn't getting past that test. The second factor was a brief poll with my target audience. It was overwhelmingly obvious that people enjoyed the playful idea of a Night Out instead of the complexity that serendipity conveyed. Guess I'm still having an issue with my own rules though!
Thanks to Charles White, Night Out Cards!
Choosing the right business name is crucial. One should leverage ego vs. functionality. I would have loved to slap my last name on the business but that is not going to get us online leads. Online lead generation is the bread and butter of most businesses, and every aspect of generating potential leads should be taken very seriously. We chose our business name very strategically. We did keyword research and we figured out what keywords people would type into the search to find companies that provided our services. We then picked the top ranking keyword and we slapped a .com after it and it has proven to be very successful! Now when people enter that popular keyword into the search, Google now thinks they are specifically looking for our company and we are then featured #1 in the search results as well as a knowledge graph on the right side of the search results. This is boosting our Click Through Rate and is getting us a lot of leads!
Thanks to Jerryll Noorden, SellMyHouseInConnecticut.com!
#16- Hebrew word
My environmental artist friend was over for dinner, and we were chatting about my new company. I remarked that we still hadn't named it. After I told him that the company was focused on making it easier for businesses to eliminate the terribly mundane work of accounts payable, he left the room and came back with Tipalti. Tipalti is a Hebrew phrase that roughly translates to Don't worry, I handled it. It was the exact spirit we wanted to express to our customers: Trust us with your funds and let us handle your supplier payments. It still encapsulates our approach with every customer engagement.
Thanks to Chen Amit, Tipalti!
#17- Considered a few factors
My business name is Wisdom Within Counseling. I didn’t want to pick a business name based on my town or location, just in case I changed my office. In addition, 20 years in the future, I would like to have multiple counseling offices, so picking it based on my town didn’t seem right. I wanted the word therapy or counseling to be in my business title because I knew people would be googling therapy or counseling. I teach yoga and that is a huge part of my private practice, so I wanted to integrate the idea of inner wisdom, which is why I choose Wisdom Within Counseling. I wanted a short and simple business name that could get my point across but also differentiate me. In my practice, our use Art, Yoga, music, and animal-assisted therapy to help children, young adults, and parents. It’s a different and unique approach to traditional taught counseling. So I wanted my business name to embody this energy!
Thanks to Katie Ziskind, Wisdom Within Counseling!
#18- Based on our tagline
We've been around since 1993 (we're a dinosaur compared to the technology startups of the 2000's – another play on the alligator – but we've experienced great success, and our name helps us stand out from our competitors. alligatortek (formerly known as Alligator Computer Systems) was born in the days of the Yellow Pages, where most technology companies started with Computer or IT. Pretty vanilla. I wanted to stand out. Our tagline was putting BYTE into productivity. Since the American Alligator has the strongest bite of any living animal, we felt it was a strong representation of our strength and tenacity in solving business challenges. Although we left the cheesy slogan behind, the Gator still embodies our focus and determination to transform software challenges into streamlined systems.
Thanks to Sid Bala, alligatortek!