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22 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- Combined relevant keywords

Photo Credit: Andrew Schrage

To come up with a small business name, we tried to do a combination of using relevant keywords as well as to throw in a dose of creativity to set ourselves apart from the competition. We’ve gotten good feedback over the years about our business name, so apparently that strategy has worked.

Thanks to Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers!

#2- In honor of my father

Photo Credit: Chris Allieri

In June of 2016, I started my PR company one month before my father succumbed to Alzheimer’s. I wanted to honor him as I set off on my own. He came from an Italian immigrant family that settled at the corner of Mulberry Street and Astor Street in the Ironbound section of Newark, NJ. It was the best decision I could have made. Now over two years later, and the team has grown, we have amazing clients and we are helping innovative companies do great things.

Thanks to Chris Allieri, Mulberry & Astor!

#3- The product and what it does

Photo Credit: Carolyn Barbarite

I came up with my business name by trying very hard to find a name that was somewhat self-explanatory or at least give a big hint as to what the product is or is used for. When I thought of JAVAMELTS – Individually wrapped flavored sweeteners made with real sugar for coffee, tea, cappuccino and espresso. I thought to myself what is catchy, easy to say and remember and describes the market that we are looking to get in to? I kept saying what does the product do? and how can we create a brand and product awareness by choosing the right name? From that I knew that the product would Melt in your Coffee….. SO JAVA (coffee) MELT. Then I wanted it to be one word and plural so that we could not only name the product that but use it for the entire company so when we created line extensions JAVAMELTS would be known by it’s catchy and trendy name as well as the Mark that we had created over the letter V. We are a registered trademark – the mark is registered too and we have all of our packaging copyrighted. There is even a Patent Pending on JAVAMELTS

Thanks to Carolyn Barbarite, JAVAMELTS, INC.!

#4- Initials describing my attitude and character

Photo Credit: William Vogt

I wanted to share my love of languages and my brand’s emphasis on forging strong international relationships. I additionally wanted to incorporate the letters WPGC – the initials of my first entrepreneurial project from childhood – into this venture as a source of inspiration. The letters are also a reminder to trust my instincts and to maintain the values under which I was raised. The eventual name, Weilian Poder Global Consulting (Weilian is Chinese for William and Poder is Spanish for power) accomplished these goals, as the idea of Will Power perfectly describes my personality, aptitude, and persistence in accomplishing things with success.

Thanks to William Vogt, Weilian Poder Global Consulting!

#5-Leveraging a popular saying

Photo Credit: Dustyn Ferguson

I took the popular saying of Time Will Tell and added a twist to it to apply to my industry (which in this case, is personal finance). This has given me huge branding leverage as virtually everyone will recognize the twist and immediately have a connection to the name. The term has done the grunt work for me, and so now when anyone hears my websites name, they already feel a sense of knowing the brand. You’ll obviously want to be careful of infringing on any copyrights, but if you can do it right, you’ll have an amazing name that already has some brand recognition. This has been HUGE for me – and leveraging popular sayings is a great way to come up with a name that have a brand advantage, without any legal troubles. If you need me to expand, let me know.

Thanks to Dustyn Ferguson, Dime Will Tell!

#6-Envisioned two people meeting in real life

Photo Credit: Craig Follett

When we initially founded Universe, our vision was to create a marketplace for the sharing economy – enabling people to share services, items and activities. We envisioned two people meeting in real life – accordingly, the company at that time was called Uniiverse – with two i’s – each I representing a person. We later rebranded to Universe (with one i) and acquired the universe.com domain name – at this point we’d pivoted into a marketplace for events. Both before and after our pivot, the word Universe resonated with our team because it was both aspirational, as well as being an empty vessel. An empty vessel brand name can take on the meaning of whatever products and services the brand builds, and as it continues to evolve, iterate and change over time. Other examples of empty vessel brand names include Apple, Amazon and Caterpillar. Apple began in computers, then later phones, and later music – but the name Apple has taken on the meaning throughout the company’s evolution.

Thanks to Craig Follett, Universe!

#7- Chose from 30 names

Photo Credit: Mike Wills, Jr.

Naming my company was probably the hardest part of starting it. With a thesaurus loaded on my browser I came up with about 30 names attached to the word maid. I narrowed it down to the 5 best and searched to see if the domain, twitter, and Instagram names were taken. Army of maids was my favorite and the domain was literally registered a couple weeks before. Maid Marines was a close second so we went with it! Funny enough, I had to get permission from the US Marines who allowed us to use the name providing we did not affiliate ourselves with the military.

Thanks to Mike Wills, Jr., Maid Marines Cleaning Service!

#8- Inspired by William Bennett’s book

Photo Credit: Jim Anderson

When I started my business in college planning, I was simply: Jim Anderson – College Advisor. Kinda boring. After a couple of years of work and research, I read William Bennett’s book, Is College Worth It?. It became a blueprint of what my program would offer. By focusing on reducing the cost and searching for the proper curriculum, I would help families by Making College Worth It.

Thanks to Jim Anderson, Making College Worth It!

#9-Yoruba name and what we do

Photo Credit: Alicia Mae

After my first company name disaster (Touched By Innocence) I really thought about all aspects of the new name. A little bit about the old name: Innocence is my nickname and I thought your events touched by me, of course! I didn’t think about the perception of the company being a non-profit for molested adolescents. This time around I wanted a strong meaning ILE means House of in Yoruba so my company is the House of Events. Also for perceived value people think of Aisle (walking down the aisle) when they look at ILE or pronounce.

Thanks to Alicia Mae, ILE Events!

#9-Balancing Names and Domains

Photo Credit: Steve Woods

As a web-based software business, we knew from the start that a high-quality domain name would be crucial. To pick a name we hosted a session with about 8 smart friends from around the industry and two of us from the business. We did lots of brainstorming and sticky-note sessions to come up with ideas. Any we liked, we immediately looked for all possible domain names that were related. We liked the name Nudge, but could only get neednudge dot com originally. We settled for that but resolved to keep our eyes open. A year later, after realizing that the name was working very well for us, we saw that the domain nudge.ai was available to purchase and jumped on that opportunity.

Thanks to Steve Woods, Nudge!

#10- What we do

Photo Credit: Mike Gardener

An ‘office provider’ is an operator of flexible workspace that provides hot desks, serviced offices, managed office spaces and/or co-working spaces, and we work with the majority of office providers in 900 cities across 120 countries. We provide a platform whereby an individual or business can search and view the offerings of every office provider in a particular location, in one place, hence ‘The Office Providers’.

Thanks to Mike Gardener, Office Providers!

#11- My name and what we are

Photo Credit: Chelsey Heil

Picking a business name is one of the things that you can waste a lot of time on. The reality is that you should pick your name and move on as quickly as possible so you can start selling. We picked our name because we’re a marketing agency that makes creatives. My names Chelsey. So we call it Creatives by Chelsey. Boom! Done and on to other business matters. We do well and not once has someone said to me, hmmm…I just don’t love the name….

Thanks to Chelsey Heil, Creatives by Chelsey!

#12- Went for a simple and memorable name

Photo Credit:Tim Brown

When I was freelancing as a web designer – the company name was Tim B Design, but as I started to hire I recognized the limitations of the name very quickly and went out searching for something short and memorable. I cycled through everything from ‘GetFoundation’ because we work with many construction companies, to plays on words like ‘Visibull’ – but had been playing with the ‘Hook’ name because of how short and sweet it was while calling to mind a very specific symbol in peoples minds. In the end, the simplicity won out and the symbolism and memorability is how I made my final decision.

Thanks to Tim Brown, Hook Agency!

#13- From a client’s description about us

Photo Credit: Will Deane

In 2014 I sold my e-commerce lighting company and on the hunt for my next project! I had a knack for scaling companies online using digital marketing, but I did not have a product yet. Interestingly enough, I had many friends and colleagues reach out to me asking Hey Will, can you take a look at my product/company to see if you can help me grow online? When I said sure I had no idea I was accidentally starting a side hustle that would turn into such a large company! Well, one thing led to another and more clients were coming on board. I finally realized that if I was going to continue to grow, I would need to really put our mark on the industry and brand our company as a force to be reckoned with. It was about 4 months into 2016 that a client told us You guys are the reason our business has survived, if it weren’t for you we would have gone under. You guys are Unstoppable! And there it was. I knew right when our client said that, that this was the perfect name for my company. A name that not only inspires people, but also is a perfect description of what our team is for our clients!

Thanks to Will Deane, Unstoppable!

#14- Named after me

Photo Credit: Nikola Roza

My first was called Build Yourself a Brighter Future. The idea was that by doing what is hard and not easy; by working hard at your goals; by learning, by doing; by making mistakes, and correcting those; by finding new pathways, by getting lost and getting right back on track- You  could succeed.  And all through honest, hard work, and by yourself. Ah, total  independence- THE DREAM..And it was a failure. Not because I lacked good motives and inspiration, but because I didn’t know how to market my website. And I also didn’t have the strong work ethic I have now. My new website is called Nikola Roza- Seo for the Poor and Determined. So I named it after myself. Because I love myself and that love is too strong to allow me to fail again. No, I will succeed!

Thanks to Nikola Roza, Nikola Roza- SEO for the Poor and Determined!

#15- Changed the name to what we sell

When we started our business 14 years ago, we were based out of South Texas near the Mexican border. Our company name at the time was South Texas Saltillo Connection. As we began to grow, we decided to move to central Texas near Austin. It did not take long to realize that having the words South Texas in our company name created a lot of confusion. We did not want to isolate our reach to south Texas with people thinking we only serviced a south Texas market. So, we change our name to Rustico Tile and Stone. Because we sell handmade rustic Mexican tile, Rustico translates to Rustic. This was one of the best things we ever did to move our business forward to an online national market.

Thanks to Melanie Ocana, Rustico Tile & Stone!

#16- After one of my Chihuahuas

Photo Credit: Candice Simons

Brooklyn Outdoor was named after one of my Chihuahuas. He has a quirky personality and one floppy ear. He tends to move to the beat of his own drum, and that’s how I envisioned Brooklyn Outdoor. Our creative and fresh take on advertising has a one-of-a kind style. But, it’s what works and makes us stand out amongst the rest. I learned a long time ago to embrace the things that make me unique. Just like Brooklyn my dog. He is a little different, but it’s his spunky personality that make him so great. Brooklyn Outdoor

Thanks to Candice Simons, Brooklyn Outdoor!

#17- Brainstorming and voting

Photo Credit: Julia Duran

It took us 3 months to agree on a name and we ended up voting for one between 49 finalists. We’re not fully convinced that is the best name we could have but at least it describes that we’re geeks from the South (from Latin America) so we figured it’s coherent and made our peace with it. In the process, we hired an agency (frozen lemons), used online tools (Shopify name generator), did a poll among unknown people, none of which worked for us. The only thing that worked was good old brainstorming. Some clients say they love the name, others say it’s not good at all. We considered rebranding but we are not sure about going through that process again

Thanks to Julia Duran, South Geeks!

#18- Describes the life of publicist

Photo Credit: Claudia Greene

I came up with the name Mayhem because that is how I describe the crazy world of Public Relations. It is hectic, high paced, intense, fun, and always changing. It is utter Mayhem and our lives in it are Mayhem. It is the most fitting way to describe the life of a publicist.

Thanks to Claudia Greene, Mayhem Entertainment PR!

#19- Latin word for growth

Photo Credit: Christian Habermann

Auctus is the Latin word for growth. I developed the name because I wanted my brand name to be unique and have a meaning that was associated with growth or improvement. I actually took Latin classes in 7th and 8th grade, and I thought about how some Latin words seem to have a perception of trust and strength. After all, they always seem to be associated with Ivy League schools, old law firms and banks. So I looked up the Latin word for growth and saw that it was Auctus. I loved the name and I then checked godaddy to see if the URL AuctusMarketing.com was available and it was. The rest is history and I still like the name just as much as I did seven years ago when I discovered it.

Thanks to Christian Habermann, Auctus Marketing!

#20- Took the names of our bottles

Photo Credit: Tara Atwood

My company is, Amber Blue. It is an organic skincare and aromatherapy line I co-founded with my mum. When we originally named our company we had the name Pure Organics but we soon realized how generic this sounded and when googling the name so many things popped up already, causing those searching for us to really dig deep to find us. So we had a change of heart and decided to re-name our company before we really scaled the business. Over wine we created a list of words that struck a cord with us. One realization was that most cosmetic brands, especially high-end niche brands, were named after a person (i.e. Estee Lauder, Laura Mercier, etc). Therefore we decided we wanted it to sound like it could be someone, but neither of us wanted our name on the bottle. At the time our bottles were Amber and Blue colored. So we took the names of our bottles and combined them to simply make Amber Blue. We think it works! And I constantly get emails saying Dear Amber Blue, I love your serum!.

Thanks to Tara Atwood, Amber Blue!

#21- Based on the service and comes early alphabetically

Having spent over 3 decades helping business owners to maximize their value and then sell their company, I look at the name of a business from a direction often not thought of by most owners when they start their business. Without realizing it, they can do tremendous damage to their business value just by choosing the wrong name. When it comes time to sell your company, few people want to purchase that company if it is named after the owner! A business buyer wants to ensure that customers stay after the business is bought. If the customers are used to calling a business name and not the owner’s name, the company maintains it good will and value to a buyer. If customers are used to calling a company named after the owner and the name has to be changed, there is a high risk of losing that goodwill. This risk scares buyers away and value can drop tremendously. I recommend they choose a name that has their service in it, which will increase search hits. I also like names that are alphabetically as early as possible in the alphabet so any search results that are alphabetized will show your company’s name first. But never name a business after yourself, Jim Smith Repairs is not a company wanted by anyone not named Jim Smith!

Thanks to Bill Watson, Advanced Business Group!

#22- Followed a few steps

Photo Credit: Marius Migles

The first step was to create a list of a few words that occurred to me during a self-brainstorming session. After that, I chose five potential business names that I realized were best suited to my business niche. Then I did a little research among my acquaintances and I asked what would seem more appropriate to them given the specifics of my business. Of course, the opinions were very divided, so after all, the decision was taken by myself, depending on what I thought was more appropriate. So I came with the name Soulseeker – Creative Photography for my destination wedding photography business.

Thanks to Marius Migles, Soulseeker – Creative Photography!

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

About Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CEO Blog Nation writer. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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