24 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- Initials of a longer name
First I should mention that we're trying to shake up real estate commissions in NYC which have remained stubbornly high despite an average Manhattan sale price of about $2 million. Basically we charge 1% per side on a transaction instead of the normal 2.5% or 3%. With a different business model, we wanted a name that didn't sound like areal estate brokerage. Listing the co-founders initials and adding Realty would project the same old. We also needed a domain name so making up a name was helpful there. Paying thousands of dollars for an existing domain name wasn’t an option! After seemingly a million tries, we finally came to *Yo*ur *R*eal *E*state *Evo*lution and our came “Yoreevo”. It had a nice ring, the domain was available and had a bit of a story so our decision was made.
Thanks to James McGrath, Yoreevo!
#2- A suggestion by my wife
The name of my company has been integral to the success, as our branding and brand recognition in this space has been very important for our growth. We are a SaaS company that works with veterinary hospitals. When we were working to launch, we spent 60-90 days trying to get the word vet into the name, and there was just nothing available. On a Saturday morning, I yelled to my wife, I know we want to use the word ‘cloud', what is something that all animals have that would make sense? She yelled back, WhiskerCloud! And we had a name after months of trying. A special shout out to Elizabeth Greenbaum for naming our company!
Thanks to Adam Greenbaum, WhiskerCloud!
#3- After a car
Since I was a small child I was always a fan of the AC Cobra. My father was a fan of them before me and basically introduced me to this car that really shook the automotive world in many ways. There was one edition of the car built by Carol Shelby called the 427 Special. 427 referred to the engine capacity. After working for other people all my working life at 38 I decided to go it alone and create 427 Marketing. What better name for my business than that of such an amazing car! People do assume it has something to do with 24/7 but it's not a problem.
Thanks to Ade Holder, 427 Marketing!
#4- As described by our clients
Originally our name was SOS Consulting (Strategic Outsourcing Services). We were sued shortly after starting because there was an SOS Staffing in Denver that was publicly held. We were not married to the name so we begin to brainstorm what to call ourselves. We struggled with naming. I didn't want my name in it so it wasn't about me but about our process. We merged all kinds of names together and just couldn't find something we liked. We ended up sending an email to about 25 clients asking them when they used us and to use one work descriptions. We received about 20 responses and in almost all of them, two words kept coming up – Quality of the work we do and the Intelligence we provide beyond Just recruiting. After another few days of struggling, I combined the two words on paper and came up with Qualigence. We were not sold at first so we sent the name to the same target clients and 100% of them responded with a resounding yes!
Thanks to Steve Lowisz, Qualigence International!
#5- Eliminating what I didn't want in the name
I chose DevBev Co. because it essentially stands for “Devin Beverage & Company,” which couldn’t have been more accurate when I first started. I didn’t want to market myself as “Devin Beverage, freelancer.” It didn’t seem big enough for what I suspected I would soon be doing, which was hiring contractors to contribute to projects. At the same time, I also didn’t want to jump to some random agency name either, and make it seem like I was trying to be bigger than I was. I think many business owners who started as solopreneurs can likely relate to this, as it can be an awkward transition from being a one-person business to being a business with contractors, or even employees.
Thanks to Devin Beverage, DevBev Co.!
#6- Whilst very drunk
My co-founder and I came up with our company name by getting really drunk one night. I always remember that the Persians used to decide on ideas both sober and drunk so we followed suit. We wrote down lots of names whilst very drunk and then we liked Spaced Digital the next morning – albeit with a headache. We checked if any other companies were using this name in our country or if they ranked in Google for the keyword and they weren't, so we went with it. We actually tried to register the company name in the UK that night but we were so drunk we got told off by Companies House because we had done the application all wrong!
Thanks to Stephen White, Spaced Digital!
#7- Created an excel sheet with primary and secondary names
We knew we needed a .com domain since that implies professionalism and security – especially to enterprise-level business. We also knew that one-word .com domains are insanely expensive ($1 million+). To find our domain, and therefore name, I created an excel sheet that had one column of ‘primary’ words like fund, finance, deal etc. (words that reflected our product) and a row of ’secondary’ words that worked well as base words like stack, base, box. I then used excel formulae to combine the words in a large matrix. I went through the matrix identifying potential names and their .com availability; eventually we found Fundstack and that fundstack dot com was available. The name and domain were born then.
Thanks to Alex Vale, Fundstack!
#8- My name and what I did then
I came up with my business name, Kate's Theatrics at about 9pm April 14, 2001. Certain Chicago post offices were staying open until midnight for the taxtime procrastinators. I was frantically one of them. It was my first time filing alone. Someone, I wish I remember who, advised me to create my own business for all of my acting/theatre work. I saved all of my receipts, but didn't think about a name. Kate's Theatrics was simple and encapsulated all I do, although it's mostly used on my taxes.
Thanks to Kate Mura, Kate's Theatrics!
#9-Name that loosely tie back to children and childcare
When coming up with the company name, I brainstormed and made a list of words that could loosely tie back to children and childcare. Trees, flowers, and plants all symbolize growth, so there were a lot of names developed around those. However, not having six figures to buy appletree dot com, I had to look for domains that weren’t already purchased. I didn’t feel it was necessary to include the words preschool, childcare, or daycare because a great brand doesn’t need to be so explicit (Zillow and Google come to mind). But, a memorable brand name was important and alliterations are often easier for people to remember. So, Paper Pinecone was born. A brand which can easily be tied back to early childhood education and only cost me $14.99 on Go Daddy.
Thanks to Stacey Grumet, Paper Pinecone!
#10-Number of the alphabetical letter representing my name
For my marketing and messaging advisory business, the overarching brand is me: a product marketer with more than two decades' experience connecting brands with the buyers they want to attract. And so, coming up with a name was quite the purposeful exercise. As a marketer who strongly believes that everything starts with the audience, I couldn't make a name 100% about me. At the same time, because I am the brand, it kinda had to be. I came up with the name — 26th Letter LLC — as a way to address both needs. The 26th letter of the English alphabet, of course, is Z, the first letter of Zach (that's my name)! If you start with Z (rather than A) you're flipping things. This perfectly describes what I do for my messaging clients. I help them flip their message to focus more on their target audience. In turn, they are better positioned to make a bigger impact on the world…and their wallets.
Thanks to Zach Messler, 26th Letter LLC!
My simple trick to coming up with a memorable business name was to use a play-on-words of a commonly known phrase. First, I thougt of the single word that captures my business' core offering, which is fitness. Next, I did a simple Google search to find words that rhyme with fitness, and from that list I chose the word business. Last, I thought of (and searched for) short, commonly known phrases where I could replace business with fitness. BONUS TIP: To make my business name punchy, I particularly sought out phrases that had absolutely NOTHING to do with my fitness core offering so that the name would immediately capture the end user's attention. Using that process, Mind Your Damn Fitness emerged!
Thanks to Dr. Jumaah Goldberg, Mind Your Damn Fitness!
#12- My name and a word I love
My wife, Sarah, surprised me with a trip to Kohler, Wisconsin, for my 40th birthday. On the way north from the Chicago suburbs to Wisconsin, I thought it would be a great idea to have my own PR firm. I constantly — I mean constantly — use the word Epic in conversations and social media postings. I just love the word. So the name BrEpic — Br for Breen, and Epic — just popped into my head. My wife thought it was a great name, and it just stuck. Six days later — on April 16, 2017 — BrEpic became an official business, and it's been an amazing journey in the two years since!!!
Thanks to Justin Breen, BrEpic Communications LLC!
#13- Originally as a joke
I came up with my business name (and product) originally as a joke for my wife who suffers with recurring yeast infections (which she describes as being on fire down there). In January 2013 I had a lightning bold moment . .. . a Flash of Genius as inventors say ~ I was going to invent a new pain relief product for women; VagiKool, the first and only reusable feminine cold pack specifically contoured and designed for the most sensitive and delicate area of a woman's body. Three years elapsed from an idea in my head to an item I could hold in my hand for sale ~ on December 1st 2015 I was holding VagiKool, the rest is history. VagiKool is a name that needs no explanation . . . as it does what its name implies.
Thanks to Steven Peisner, VagiKool!
#14- Tribute to an eminent mathematician
Eulerity is an app-based digital marketing platform that uses machine learning to simplify the complex world of developing and executing local ad campaigns. We named the company after Leonhard Euler, one of the most eminent mathematicians of the 18th century. He made many influential discoveries and introduced much of the mathematical terminology and notation we know today, like mathematical functions. We wanted to pay tribute to his contributions by alluding to our platform’s state-of-the-art technology and algorithms that allow people with no knowledge of digital marketing to run successful campaigns that drive business results. The beta that launched in January 2018 was called LRND, pronounced “Leonard” – also named after Leonhard Euler.
Thanks to Adam Chandler, Eulerity!
#15- Selected our top 5 names
Selecting a business name is extremely difficult. Do you find a name that is related to your product? Something short or descriptive? Is the URL available? After going in circles, we implemented a brain writing structure around the decision where each of my co-founders and I selected our top 5 names to whittle the list down from hundreds to 15. Then we went through another round to get it down to a final 5-7 names. Finally, we discussed the merits of each name and ultimately settled on Helix Sleep which was both related to our product (Helix shape of coils) and brand (Helix is the shape of DNA, which is custom to each person).
Thanks to Adam Tishman, Helix!
#16- A name representing who we stand in for
I knew I wanted a company name that was comprehensive to the fact that we’re there for those with medical emergencies and medical conditions (hence, “Medical”). I also wanted the name to represent protection, reliability, and care—which is where “Guardian” fit perfectly. The result, Medical Guardian, is specific enough to have an idea of what we do, yet broad enough to introduce additional services to provide older adults with resources for happy, healthy aging.
Thanks to Geoff Gross, Medical Guardian!
#17- Slight mispelling of a word
When thinking about a name for a new company, the main requirement is that it clearly states what your business is all about. But you soon realize that everything that sounds good is either too predictable, too long, or already taken. This is when you start considering made-up, meaningless words that simply sound catchy. That, at least, was my process when coming up with the name for Qode. This slight misspelling of the word “code” seemed like the perfect combination of abstraction and substance. Something about it – its shape, its subtle quirkiness, its fluidity – resonated with me. It was not only clear, short, and unique, but it also turned out that it looked aesthetically appealing and therefore implied the exceptional design essential to my business.
Thanks to Ivan Paunovic, Qode!
#18- Playoff of my last name and the core of what I do
I recognized that my business name didn't have to align with an individual product or program name or be the same as my URL, but I wanted it to reflect the various brands that would eventually emerge from my business. I also knew that while I wanted it to be a reflection of me, I didn't want it to include my name. I thought that was cliche'. I came up with Spoonfed Motivation. Spoonfed is a play off of my last name and speaks to how I meet people where they are with what they need in my areas of expertise. Motivation is at the core of what I do in service to others. Spoonfed Motivation together perfectly describes the services and impact I provide through my speaking, coaching, consulting, and publishing brands.
Thanks to Dr. Cherita Weatherspoon, Spoonfed Motivation!
#19- Two-part process
Coming up with my business name was a two-part process. I made two lists; one was an uncensored list of all the words I adored and the other included words that pertained specifically to my business. At that point, I cross-referenced and came up with ‘Flower Moxie'. I sell flowers to DIY brides, so the name just made sense because you need gumption/moxie to take on the role of being a florist the week of your wedding.
Thanks to Amy McCord Jones, Flower Moxie!
#20- Combined different names
I started my business quite abruptly in 2009, so picking a name needed to happen very quickly so I could get on with more important matters. Instead of rushing through and naming my business Cory's Web Design, I figured I should attempt to use some creativity to select a name. After all, my business delivers creativity to my clients; I figure I should give it some as well. Selaris was the result of taking various letters from my name, as well as the names of my wife and kids, and blending them to make several anagrams. We picked Selaris and added Web Media as a means to elaborate on the type of services we offer – website design, application development, and search engine optimization.
Thanks to Cory Vyse, Selaris Web Media Inc.!
#21- What pineapple represents
We stumbled across the fact that in the times of kings and queens, a pineapple was considered a gift for royalty and the ultimate symbol of prosperity. Today the pineapple has evolved to be a symbol of hospitality and welcoming. Pineapple Development was founded on the principle of casual excellence. Meaning we wanted to cut through the traditional red tape of corporate America and provide an excellent service and product that would be the foundation of friendly, mutually beneficial partnerships with companies who decide to work with us. And that's how ‘Pineapple Development' became our name.
Thanks to Donny Minchillo, Pineapple Development!
#22- Response to a feeling
The term ‘Life Spotter' came about as a response to feeling like I wasn't actively participating in my own life, but rather standing on the sidelines waiting for something to happen. I realised that this wasn't the way I wanted my life to go and set about trying to bring about the changes I wished to see. I started to pay attention and ‘spot' opportunities to live my best life and then make sure I didn't let those doors close on me when they appeared. Seeking ways to positively enrich my life-experience and live intentionally quickly became a passion for me and I knew I wanted to help others to do the same, hence ‘The Life Spotters' was born.
Thanks to Kath Gilbert, The Life Spotters!
#23- Two reasons behind it
My business, Ohh Events is an acronym for On High Heels (Ohh). Initially, it was because I'm obsessed with shoes, but the second, more meaningful story is that it came from an ancient text that talked about how if life wasn't going right, one's faith would help that person walk on high hills. I was at a low point in my career when I ran across that text, and thought, Funny, I love my heels, and I'll walk on my high heels. And that was my ‘aha' moment. I then promised myself that if or when I started my own business, it would be called On High Heels. I've since compressed that phrase to Ohh, and when people see Ohh Events on my business card, they declare, OHH! —- I get it! Like, Ohh! This event was amazing! Indeed, those are the results of working with Ohh Events.
Thanks to Donina Ifurung, Ohh Events!
#24- Mixture of something personal and relevant to what I do
My business name was a nice mixture of something personal and relevant to what I do. When my wife was pregnant with our son, she had early scans due to a previous late loss. Due to the early timing of the scan and the small sprout looking blob on the screen, our son became know as Sprout from then on and even after he was born (just a nickname of course). My business, Wild Sprout, was named after him but as we help e-commerce businesses grow via online strategies, it's also relevant to the business. Oh, and my son is definitely wild!
Thanks to Martin Hayman, Wild Sprout!