Storytelling

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- From our daughter

Photo Credit: Steve Broad

After starting, growing and selling our first natural food company, Annie Chun’s, we were inspired to do it again. In 2011, our family was sitting around the dinner table brainstorming when our teenage daughter Mia had a great idea – starting a company that sells the best possible organic roasted seaweed in delicious flavors. Our whole family loves roasted seaweed and has been eating this healthy Asian snack for years. The name gimMe came from our daughter as “gim” means “seaweed” in the Korean language and “gimMe” would be a fun play on words with an implicit meaning of “gimme gim”. Of course, the word “gimme” works well for the company’s philosophy including the company name “Gimme Health” and other ways that the word “gimme” can be deployed to urge environmental and other social change.

Thanks to Steve Broad, gimMe Organic Seaweed Snacks!


#2- A state of mind

Photo Credit: Ray Landgraf

For us, Island is not a set destination; it’s an easily attainable state of mind you can tap into anywhere. We chose the name Island because we want to encourage our consumers to kick back and take in the simple joy cannabis brings. Wherever they are, we hope to help them find an Island of their own.

Thanks to Ray Landgraf, Island!


#3- Standard naming system

Photo Credit: Pete McPherson

I have a standard naming system for most of my entrepreneurial projects. First, I spend a few days & weeks generating as many names as I can think of–anything that is remotely relevant and I like. Second, for each name, I double-check to see if the domain names are available (I look at .com and .co). Third, I send the remaining options to friends, family, etc, and ask them to choose their top three names! The name that falls with most people’s top three is what I choose! That’s how I named my current brand!

Thanks to Pete McPherson, Do You Even Blog!


#4- Based on the golden ratio of 1.618

Photo Credit: John Farkas

The Golden Spiral is the shape reflected in our logo. It’s based on the golden ratio of 1.618, discovered by Italian mathematician Fibonacci in 1202. It is considered to be the perfect form. If you look around, you’ll see this shape reflected in everything from the growth patterns of sunflower seeds to the way galaxies sprawl. It’s the basis for much of modern design. The shape and the name tell us something profound about our world; there are reasons certain things resonate with people. Some of these reasons are clear; some require more investigation to uncover. Working to understand why and how things connect is the secret to great market presence. It’s something we at Golden Spiral are particularly attuned to and are continuously striving to understand. There is a perfect formula out there for all our client’s marketing needs — and it’s our job to help them discover it.

Thanks to John Farkas, Golden Spiral!


#5- From a mission-drive place

Photo Credit: Eric Eihorn

The name On Site Opera was definitely derived from a mission-drive place.. We debated as to whether or not to make the name NYC-specific, as other companies had done. Ultimately, we went with On Site because we wanted to give a clear indication of what made us different – kind of a micro elevator pitch in our name. Geographically based names also seemed too vague for the specific work we wanted to do. We also wanted to avoid any potential brand confusion with words such as New York City, Metro, Gotham, etc. There are lots of arts organizations our there and it is important for both our work AND are name to stand apart from the rest. Additionally, not limiting ourselves to a New York-linked name allowed us the eventual freedom to produce in other cities without having to qualify ourselves.

Thanks to Eric Eihorn, On Site Opera!


#6- Created a spider diagram with keywords

Photo Credit: Sarah Halimi

When I was building my business I knew the best way to attract teenagers who were my desired audience had to be through an intriguing name. As I began my hunt for a clever and creative name, I looked at numerous different meditation platforms but I knew my name needed to reflect my goals for my business. So I started by creating a spider diagram with important keywords  that were most important to my business. I highlighted words from my diagram like connection, teenager, mindfulness. And I began to piece together these three words in different combinations. When I had a couple names I really liked I turned to my family and friends around me and asked what spoke to them the most and that was the start of ConnecTeen Minds. ConnecTeen Minds is about creating a community of teenagers that were disconnected from their lives but by coming to my platform they were now part of a greater community.

Thanks to Sarah Halimi, ConnecTeen Minds!


#7- Latin word for growth

Photo Credit: Bodie Czeladka

I was looking for something that was no more than 6 characters long and meant growth. I was playing with thesaurus.com and cross-referencing anything I liked the sound of against what showed up in a google search results. Knowing that if a dictionary result, Wikipedia or urban dictionary result was displayed it had good potential to own that first page for the branded term. I found Dilate and loved the definition; Dilate comes from the Latin word ‘Dilatare’ meaning to grow, to expand, to enlarge and elaborate. I also love that it means to speak or write at length of a subject. Which is more relevant for our business today who takes the content we produce very seriously.

Thanks to Bodie Czeladka, Dilate!


#8- Represent what I was doing

Photo Credit: Jeremy Harrison

My business name (Hustle Life) is a representation of what I was doing when I started out. I was looking for the perfect side hustle that I could run alongside my full-time job. I researched several side hustles because I wanted the perfect one that could fit my schedule. I tried out several things, some went well while others didn’t go too well. In the bid to help others get a better experience, I created a website that could help hustlers like myself find the perfect side hustle they could run alongside their full-time job. On this platform, I share my personal experience and also give recommendations to those who are just coming in. This way they don’t waste time and resources trying out things that won’t work. And they get to focus on what works.

Thanks to Jeremy Harrison, Hustle Life!


#9- Replicate a home feeling

Photo Credit: Caitlin Riney

George Gregory originated from my father and brothers middle names. I grew up in a household of strong individuals that didn’t settle for “good” when you could have “great.” When opening up my men’s clothing shop, I wanted to replicate the feeling of home and for my customers to walk out feeling better than when they walked in.  George Gregory strives to be a shop that makes you feel confident enough to make the day-to-day decisions that could help improve your life. The clothing and accessories at George Gregory help make you hold your head a little bit higher.

Thanks to Caitlin Riney, George Gregory!


#10- Combination of two words

Photo Credit: Keval Baxi

Originally, Codal was called CMS Central. As the company grew, I knew it was in need of a rebrand and a new name. I hired several branding agencies to help us with brainstorms and ideation sessions, but none of them worked out. After burning through so many professional opinions, I was hesitant to work with any other branding agencies. Luckily I didn’t have to – a friend ended up texting me and my business partner, suggesting the name Codal. It’s code and portal combined, and it just took someone close to us to understand what we were going for.

Thanks to Keval Baxi, Codal!


#11- Envisioning of the highest point

Photo Credit: Jody Grunden

My business partner, Adam Hale, and I were both in Fort Wayne, Indiana when the company was founded. Fort Wayne has a nickname of “Summit City” because it was the highest point above sea level along the entire Erie Canal route. When we started the company, I didn’t want it to be called “Grunden & Hale” as is the standard for CPA firms because I envisioned the firm becoming much larger than just me and Adam. And I was right. Summit CPA is now a company with over $5M in annual revenue and our team is fully distributed throughout the United States.

Thanks to Jody Grunden, Summit CPA Group!


#12- Considered a few factors

Photo Credit: Raffi Jafari

Picking a business name is fairly important, so we spent a large amount of time choosing ours. We also needed a business name that didn’t cause the name to be unintentionally associated with some other industry. When brainstorming we decided the brand name should be relatively short and simple to type so that our website was able to perform well. When you think about it, choosing a business name should be a very logical effort, so it doesn’t need to be too involved aside from the creation of the word that will become forever associated with the brand. We also had it in mind that we wanted the website to be easily searchable in order to find the name quickly.. In addition, we ended up deciding that it is best if the word is not really in existence anywhere else either so that we could shape it conceptually.. So with all those factors in mind we spent hours using every sort of random word generator that existed until we ended up with something that we thought could mesh with our concept.

Thanks to Raffi Jafari, Caveni Digital Solutions!


#13- Latin/Greek translations

Photo Credit: Michael Ott

I looked for names that referenced agricultural spraying or agricultural drone spraying where we could own the .com domain. There was literally nothing available in English, so I started looking at Latin and Greek. I found some translations that sounded interesting and settled on Rantizo because it means to sprinkle. The only existing search results referenced a Greek baptism, so I was confident that we could organically get to the top of that list quickly. If you search for Rantizo now, the first non-company result is on page 5 of the search.

Thanks to Michael Ott, Rantizo!


#14- Act of writing

Photo Credit: Pat Rullo

In 2008, while growing my employee benefits business, my mom took a fall at work that required shoulder surgery. I flew home to be with her for what I expected would be for a few days. Sadly for her, she was having a heart attack during and after the surgery that went undiagnosed for over nine hours. This missed diagnosis kept her in the hospital fighting for her life for four months. And this kept me by her side for the next ten years as she struggled daily with the negative health consequences due to this grievous mistake. During the initial hospital stay, my insurance license came due for forty hours of continuing education. I hardly slept forty hours during those months, let alone had the time to study anti-money laundering for forty hours. So I lost my insurance license and eventually my business too. As the months rolled by, I began to question why this happened to my mom, me and my family. What was I supposed to do with all of this negativity? I began to write down some of the bizarre health encounters we had as a way to get the negativity out of me. And this ultimately led me to publish the book titled Speak Up and Stay Alive – the patient advocate hospital survival guide. Little did I know that the simple and cathartic act of writing would lead me to become not only an author of several more books, but also a nationally syndicated radio host and patient safety speaker and trainer. Thus, my company Speak Up and Stay Alive was born, quite organically and with a name that clearly says it all. During any healthcare or hospital encounter, you have to Speak Up and Stay Alive.

Thanks to Pat Rullo, Speak Up and Stay Alive!


#15- From doing what it takes

Photo Credit: Suzanne Evans

Success comes from what doing what it takes. I actually rebranded my company to Driven Inc. For me it’s more than a name, it’s a requirement to be a client. You can not be taught to be driven. You have to be driven enough that if it doesn’t work ten times, you’ll try it the eleventh. You have to be driven enough that you are not embarrassed to ask for help. You’re not embarrassed to fail, you’re not embarrassed to put yourself out there.

Thanks to Suzanne Evans, Driven Inc.!


#16- Explains our main objective

Photo Credit: Tim Cameron-Kitchen

Exposure Ninja explains our main objective – to get maximum exposure for our clients without being seen. As a digital marketing agency, our job is to act like a Ninja in the background and to make the client look as great as possible. This is why we chose the name Exposure Ninja. However, it has been pointed out to us since that the name could be seen as an oxymoron because a Ninja could never be exposed. We think this is hilarious and is a win for us as it gets people talking about our brand.

Thanks to Tim Cameron-Kitchen, Exposure Ninja!


#17- Accumulation of domain names

Photo Credit: Nicco Schaal

I am the owner and CEO of Domain-inventory.com. In 2008, I had accumulated a large inventory of domain names and wanted to offer them for sale on my own website. Since this was my inventory of domains, the site was called Domain-inventory dot com. I have been in business ever since and sold and still sell domain names.

Thanks to Nicco Schaal, Domain-inventory.com!


#18- My first home address

Photo Credit: Jen Gouldstone

My first home address was on Garden Street in a town in NY. It had a big impact on my own personal development as a gardener. Up until then, I had been limited to containers and pots in apartments. This was a dream come true in having the freedom to create and experiment in the ground, so the name ‘Garden Streets’ is derived from that. I also chose Garden Streets for the communities that I want to create through the company. Our mission to bring people closer to nature will require collaborations between our staff and our clients. ‘Streets’ is symbolic for this community.

Thanks to Jen Gouldstone, Garden Streets!


#19- My son helped pick it

Photo Credit: Dvorah Graeser

Ours is quite interesting, my son actually helped me pick it out, but it turned out great. The KISS from KISSPatent is based off of the “Keep It Simple Stupid” principle, which states that designs and/or systems should be as simple as possible. Wherever possible, complexity should be avoided in any system —as simplicity guarantees the greatest levels of user acceptance and interaction. That is what we’re all about at KISSPatent, making intellectual property seamless and effortless for our clients to obtain.

Thanks to Dvorah Graeser, KISSPatent!


#20- Spanish name to mean always

Photo Credit: Alex Lacroix

We make Tequila. Naturally our brand and company name would need to be Spanish but also something easy to remember and pronounce. We chose Siempre, pronounced See-em-pray. Siempre means always, and we always see the beauty of everything. We remember to celebrate good times, bad ones and everything in between – because it is all part of what makes us who we are. As a brand, we believe that it doesn’t matter how dark your past is or how hard you had it growing up, you can still bring beauty to the world and turn things around.

Thanks to Alex Lacroix, Siempre Spirits Limited!


#21- Based on three things

Photo Credit: Christopher J. Hughey

1) Desire to use a family name. 2) Self-awareness. One of the most important things you can do when starting a company is to be hyper-self-aware about your strengths and weaknesses. And here’s one thing I had to accept: Hughey just isn’t a marketing-friendly name. 3) My penchant for wordplay. My business mission is to empower independent physicians by giving them the absolute best technology available. In short, I wanted to put them on the fast lane to success. Mama Layne, my great-grandmother, would have said the rest takes care of itself.

Thanks to Christopher J. Hughey, Fast Layne Solutions, Inc.!


#22- Through a members vote

Photo Credit: Shantay Carter

When I was deciding on a name, all I kept thinking is that I wanted something that was going to stand out, command attention, and make people intrigued as to who we were. We decided on the name by asking the members to vote on it. The name Women Of Integrity won hands down. I knew with that name, it would let the community know the type of women that we were. We are a group of positive like-minded women, who wanted to give back to their community and make an impact.

Thanks to Shantay Carter, Women Of Integrity Inc.!


#23- Our maiden names

As a family business, formed by myself and sisters ( five girls- no brothers ) to say we were daddy’s girls is an understatement. Though married we all kept our maiden names. We so respected and appreciated the hard work and commitment of our father Max Mellin, with his businesses, the financial success he attained, and the impact of his love and good nature on all of his offspring, we wanted to honor him by carrying on the family name…no brothers necessary. Through 10 marriages, several divorces and remarriages, we wouldn’t dare give up our maiden name and the pride that comes with being our fathers daughters.

Thanks to Kerry, Merrily, Wendy, and Randy Mellin, Mellin Works LLC!


#24- Adding a letter to my name

Photo Credit: Daphne Subar

Coming up with the name Subarz for my business was easy. I knew I would open an artisan bakery with a unique baked good and wanted to specialize in bars which would combine the crunch of biscotti and the sweetness of a cookie. These bars would be different than all other baked goods on the market. My last name is Subar, so it was easy to add a z and call these newly created baked goods Subarz and the name of my company would become Subarzsweets, since we specialize in sweet and delicious bars!

Thanks to Daphne Subar, Subarzsweets, LLC!


#25- What we are known for

Photo Credit: Andy Buyting

Our business just went through a major rebrand. Our old business name, Carle Publishing, didn’t resonate with what our company did and who we are. When Carle Publishing was born in 2011, I needed a business name fast. So my daughter Leah suggested the name Carle, which is a combination of Carter, my son, and her name. As time went on, we realized two things: 1) Carle Publishing is constantly mispronounced and 2) as mentioned above, it does not represent who we are as a company. So we asked ourselves a simple question. What are we known for? The answer was simple, Tulips. Over the past couple of years, I was known as the guy who wore a Tulip jacket and for saying the phrase Become the red tulip in the sea of yellow. With this brand recognition already established, it was a logical move to become Tulip Media Group. Our new name reflects the evolution of what we are offering as a company and the ever-growing list of ways we want to help our Client-Partners succeed.

Thanks to Andy Buyting, Tulip Media Group!


#26- Slang consideration of health-focused people

Photo Credit: Linda Miriam

My partner and I were looking for a name that would embody our focus on marketing health and wellness brands in a memorable way. What’s more, we really wanted to make sure we could find a .com associated with that name. After much deliberation, I decided on Crunchy Buzz. My reasoning was that crunchy could work, due to slang consideration of health-focused people being crunchy – and all our marketing helped us get the buzz around. Luckily, nobody had bought the .com URL. Other ideas we had URLs previously bought and being auctioned for thousands of ideas. This company name has proven to keep things fun and interesting, and makes for a great conversation starter.

Thanks to Linda Miriam, Crunchy Buzz!


#27- From a desire

Photo Credit: Rob Berger

I jokingly tell people I want to put Dave Ramsey out of business. He helps people who have made a complete mess of their finances. My goal was to reach teenagers and young adults before they wreck their finances. And from this desire came the name of the book and website–Retire Before Mom and Dad. The truth is that the content can help anybody at any age improve their financial lives. But the younger we can reach people, the better.

Thanks to Rob Berger, Retire Before Mom and Dad!


#28- Combination of two services

Photo Credit: Nick Leffler

The name WPHubSite was formed after much thought about the right name for a service that is a WordPress website integrated with HubSpot. Because the service combines WordPress and HubSpot, WPHubSite eventually was settled on. Just like the service, the name is a combination of WordPress and HubSpot and is a Website as a Service (WaaS). I came up with other ideas but either the domain was taken (the .com version) or the search terms were too close to other things in Google. I have one requirement for any business name I come up with. If I search Google and there’s something that already exists with the name then it’s no good. A business name needs to be unique, meaning it can rank in an exact search extremely easily. It also needs to have a .com domain available for the name.

Thanks to Nick Leffler, WPHubSite!


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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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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