Storytelling

26 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- Name to signify the beginning of an end

Photo Credit: Blake Marchand

March, in the Roman calendar is the first month of the year. This is because it comes when spring brings us a new season of life therefore March signifies the beginning in life. Ash is what remains of a life once lived, used to fertilize new beginnings. March and Ash represent a respect for the span of our lives and the role cannabis plays to improve and renew it. Together, the team was able to create a name and brand that accurately represents the expression of their ethos; the culture and beliefs that guide the company.

Thanks to Blake Marchand, March and Ash!


#2- Representation of me

Photo Credit: Margaret H. Geiger

My birthday is on December 31 – the biggest celebration of the year.. New Year’s is a time for setting goals. It’s a time to reflect on the year and make changes to improve yourself, your business, your personal life, etc. And that’s what I do for small businesses. I help them see their full potential and embark on a new journey of opportunity, growth and success. When you work with Twelve31 Media, you get a fresh start.

Thanks to Margaret H. Geiger, Twelve31 Media, LLC!


#3- My name and the work we do

Photo Credit: Robert Brill

When I started the business I looked at a number of different types of names. There’s a formula in advertising where cool companies have animals and colors, or some particularly majestic phrase that represents opportunity and creativity. I tinkered with names and couldn’t find the right one: Red Gazelle, Fervor and Zeal, and a bunch of other bad ones. So, I kept it simple: my name and the work we do: Brill Media. So people could know that we have a .co and not .com I started referring to our business as BrillMedia dot co as the official name.

Thanks to Robert Brill, BrillMedia.co!


#4- Short form of two words

Photo Credit: Travis Osterhaus

It was 2016. I was sitting in a sauna with my brother and we were talking about our favorite podcasts. Our conversation shifted toward discussing the problems within the podcast industry, specifically podcast apps, and how we might solve those issues. We ended up with a new solution: create a new socially-based podcast app. That day we spent had a couple more sauna sessions and ended up settling on the name Repod — which is short for Regarding Podcasts.

Thanks to Travis Osterhaus, Repod!


#5- Family and friends helped me bounce ideas around

Photo Credit: Danh Tran

I wanted to create the world’s most comfortable shirt. Once I developed the fabric I wanted it to have a name that was memorable, and that described it in one word. My family and friends helped me bounce ideas around, and when someone said it was a soft as butter – voila! Buttercloth was born. It was just natural. Several “experts” in marketing and advertising, and IP lawyers, tried to talk me into changing it. But I stuck to my gut feelings. Today we own the trademark and those same experts have different opinions. The Buttercloth logo incorporates a graphic, which is the pattern created when we knit Buttercloth, magnified a thousand times.

Thanks to Danh Tran, Buttercloth!


#6- Representation of a mobile and maternal mammal

Photo Credit: Sara Schaer

Our naming process actually took a couple of years. Here’s the short version: Kango is a safe ridesharing and childcare service for kids and families. So we knew we needed a name that inspired trust: friendly yet dynamic and on-the-go, safe and professional yet warm and caring, and that kids would visually easily recognize and gravitate toward. We quickly decided we wanted an animal mascot. Our whole startup team brainstormed for days before coming up with ideas. We ruled out jumping insects like grasshoppers (not friendly enough) and mammals that already represented other on-demand businesses (rabbits for example). We eventually settled on the kangaroo, which is both mobile and maternal, literally transporting its young in its pouch. The components of the word “Kango” also convey the idea that with our service, kids literally “can go” anywhere they need to be!

Thanks to Sara Schaer, Kango!


#7- My name in Spanish

Photo Credit: Jon Wolfe

The company really started over 8 years ago with a nickname from my fans in South Texas who affectionately gave me the nickname, Juan Lobo, which is my name in Spanish. I always thought it would be a great name for a brand someday, but at the time I didn’t perceive that it would be for a tequila brand. However, over the course of the following 5 years, my love for tequila, my desire to develop a brand, and that nickname came together to birth Juan Lobo Tequila, leading me to become passionate about 100% blue agave, sipping tequilas.

Thanks to Jon Wolfe, Juan Lobo Tequila!


#8- Considered several things

Photo Credit: Dean Calhoun

When coming up with a company name, you want something unique and memorable, but has meaning. For our company name Affygility Solutions, Affygility is composed of two parts. The word fragment “Affy” means trust or confide. “Gility” (pronounced jill-i-t) means quickness or nimbleness. Next, there are many consulting companies or vendors that are named “EHS Solutions,” “Occupational Health Services,” “Safety Services,” etc. These names are too general. So if you were to use Google or any other search engine, your name would be lost in the crowd. If you search the word “Affygility” we are the only company in the entire internet that displays. Try it and you’ll see. Even our competitors have a name conflict with other companies. Third, when choosing a company name, you want something that can be used as an internet domain name that’s relatively short (would love 8 characters or less, but most of those are taken and expensive to secure). At nine characters, affygility dot com is acceptable. Forth, names starting with the letter “A” are preferred because it will show up near the top in any alphabetical sorted directory. Past history has shown that this has served us well. Fifth, when you register your name with the Secretary of State, you can’t have something that can be easily confused with other companies or it will get rejected. Finally, when in doubt, ask your kids, which I did and that’s what they decided. Also, pro tip, think about how your company name would look on a logo or on schwag.

Thanks to Dean Calhoun, CIH, Affygility Solutions!


#9- Thought about one fact

Photo Credit: Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi

In my past experience running a traditional retail pharmacy, I learned how truly corrupt health insurance companies and other pharmacy middlemen are. That’s why I set out to start my own health-tech company, an online pharmacy called Honeybee Health, that used a direct-to-consumer model to give patients access to affordable medications without insurance or middlemen. When picking the name, I thought about the fact that there are 200 million people taking meds in the United States, yet patients currently have no collective leverage, visibility, or bargaining power. And that’s when it hit me: honeybees. No one honeybee can make honey. It takes the whole hive working together. If patients as a whole started to demand transparency and ethical pricing, then we’d truly be able to improve the healthcare industry.

Thanks to Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi, Honeybee Health!


#10- Signify transformation

For me, the name had to be deeply personal AND highly descriptive. After reaching the pinnacle in my career, I also found myself on the edge of burnout, exhaustion, imposter syndrome, and relational neglect. I found out the hard way that being a driven, high-performing leader is amazing—until it’s not. I knew that if I didn’t make some serious changes, I would burnout, harm my company, and probably face divorce. So I made the terribly difficult decision to resign, take time off, reconnect to myself and my family, and embark on a new journey to understand how I arrived at that point. That process led to what we termed a total ReCreation, as a leader husband, father, and person. This also led to a new mission: I want to give that same gift of ReCreation to others, hopefully before they get to where I was! So, I completed a Doctorate in Executive Leadership and combining wisdom and practices from a variety of neurological, scientific, historical, business, and therapeutic experts, I teach leaders to defeat overwhelm, take control of their lives, build their unique scorecard, and focus on what matters most. I named my business, ReCreate—a transformation company focused on optimizing business and leader performance.

Thanks to Jeremy Bedenbaugh, ReCreate Solutions!


#11- Who I am

Photo Credit: Danielle Keith

I actually recently renamed my business as it has evolved over time. I am a vegan food blogger and health coach so I needed a name that reflected that. I knew I needed a name that was easy to remember, simple to spell, something unique but also a name that was available on social media. Making sure your business name is available on platforms like Instagram, TikTok and has domain availability is super important. It came down to the fact that, I am a healthy girl who is ALWAYS in my kitchen – HealthyGirl Kitchen seemed perfect.

Thanks to Danielle Keith, HealthyGirl Kitchen!


#12- As a result of a horrible remodeling disaster

Photo Credit: Jody Costello

I launched my website – ContractorsFromHell dot com – as a result of a horrible remodeling disaster I was smack in the middle of, experiencing the frustration and anger so many do when they discover they’re getting burned by an unethical contractor. It occurred in a web design class I was taking and we were challenged to create a domain name followed by taking steps to create the site. I was pretty much at the end of my rope that day, and as they went around the room for thoughts, I blurted out contractorsfromhell dot com.

Thanks to Jody Costello, ContractorsFromHell.com!


#13- From an advisor

Photo Credit: Billy Ash

We choose our name from an advisor who was hearing about our goals and aspirations for the company. Our advisor simply said that is why way business do business today, 1 week later we had, Today’s Business. We knew our industry would be changing and in order to have a name that withstands those changes and time we thought a brand like Today’s Business made sense now and would be able to grow with our future initiatives. I think the main goal of choosing a company name is something that will be able to grow with you and that you stand proud of.

Thanks to Billy Ash, TBSMO.com!


#14- From a common clients’ question

Photo Credit: Matt Bentley

As a kid, I always was fascinated by finding patterns and trying to solve complicated puzzles. I got an engineering degree and worked on various entrepreneurial projects but my heart was always in data science and analytics. In 2010, I started building a software that analyzed why websites ranked highly on Google’s SERP. After a few years building and refining the software, I knew more about the algorithms Google used to rank pages than just about anybody outside Mountain View. My journey building the software naturally led into starting a marketing consulting firm that helps SMEs rank on page 1 for their highest value keywords. We’d constantly be asked Can I rank for…? so I decided to name the company after the most important question that we answer for our clients.

Thanks to Matt Bentley, CanIRank!


#15- Reimagined the concept of “giggling girls”

While developing the app and starting the company, I was stuck for a name. Suddenly, I was inspired by “collective nouns” as I was playing with the idea of “groups”. I Googled it and discovered that the collective noun for a group of girls is “giggle”. At first, I did an eye roll and thought, “oh of course it is.” But then I thought about it for just a few more seconds and realized my own internalized misogyny could be reacting. I decided that it was an awesome opportunity to reimagine the concept of “giggling girls” as I – and every other girl/women/female – knows that a group of girls is actually very powerful and empowering. So, I settled on giggle. I didn’t go with the collective noun for a group of women as it is “gaggle” – and also the collective noun for a group of gay men. It was, therefore, not exclusively female. I wanted a name that was fun and celebrated femininity rather than shying away from it.

Thanks to Sall Grover, Giggle!


#16- Inspired by my previous career

Photo Credit: Steffa Mantilla

As a former zookeeper and big cat trainer, people would often say I tamed animals. Now that my new career is in the personal finance industry, I’m helping women tame their money. It’s also a name that has some intrigue because it’s not a phrase you hear every day. Another plus is that it’s short and easy to remember.

Thanks to Steffa Mantilla, Money Tamer!


#17- The original name of a town my wife grew up in

Photo Credit: Jesse Hallock

My wife and I started our coaching company together so we also worked on coming up with a name together. We began by creating multiple categories to start filling with ideas. We could either have the name represent our service, represent our values, represent us as founders, or just be a word without any other associations. (We also ideally wanted a name that started with an ‘A’ because it would show up in a directory or list first, and we also wanted a name that would be pronounceable in as many languages as possible – in retrospect we put a lot of pressure on ourselves!) We began filling each of these categories with ideas. Names that represented our service or our values all came out too cheesy or were already taken by other businesses with the same services. We tried creating new words with no associations and did come up with a few potential ideas, but we had no personal connection to them. We dug in deep looking for names that would somehow represent some part of us as founders. We tried variations on our names, names of places we lived or had formative memories from. Finally, out of the blue we came across the name Arrabona, which was the original name of a town my wife grew up in. We saw that it translated as good altar (which we connected to our understanding that good leadership requires sacrifice). We simplified it to Arabona and knew we had our name. For most of the world it has no previous associations, it starts with an ‘A’, it represents a part of us as founders, even represents one of our
values of leadership, and the cherry on top is that it is easily pronounceable in most languages!

Thanks to Jesse Hallock, Arabona Coaching & Training!


#18- Kept our mission in mind

Photo Credit: Kimberly Porter

When coming up with a name for my business, Microcredit Summit, I made sure to keep our mission in mind: “lifting millions out of poverty.” That’s where the word ‘summit’ comes in. We want to empower our readers to overcome the proverbial mountain of financial challenges they may face. Since one of our main topics to share knowledge on is microcredit loans, we decided to include that as well.

Thanks to Kimberly Porter, Microcredit Summit!


#19- Name to create and capture a feeling

Photo Credit: Dan Reed

I wanted to create and capture a feeling that any dad who felt like me would understand without explanation. I’d felt so torn, guilty, and even selfish at the notion of wanting to pursue a career, knowing full well that could lead to me being an absent father. But being a present, unfulfilled dad didn’t sound great, either. I kept thinking how important my career was to me, and the importance of being a dad. Career. Dad. Career. Dad. They’re not two words you usually see next to one another. I wanted to change that.

Thanks to Dan Reed, Career Dad!


#20- Indicate my chosen working hours and the nature of 24-hour wealth

Photo Credit: Jeremy Britton

After working 70+hrs/week for several years caused a stress-related heart attack at just 33 years old, I decided to reinvent my business. As I had young children at school, I chose to work only school hours and spend more time with the family. This meant constraining all productive time into four 6-hour days and taking Fridays off. As a financial planner, money was my stock in trade; however, I discovered true wealth was in good health and relationships. I chose the name 24Hour Wealth Coach to indicate my chosen working hours and the nature of 24-hour wealth; being happy at work, at home, and all day long. (An interesting aside: revenue continued at old levels, even after slashing work hours by 60%).

Thanks to Jeremy Britton, 24HourWealthCoach.com!


#21- Communicate creativity

Photo Credit: Scott Baradell

When I started Idea Grove in 2005, most PR firms had names like law firms – the name of the firm was the name of the owner or partners. I think that was because PR wanted to be seen as a serious profession like law or accounting. I didn’t want that. I wanted to sound like an ad or design firm, with a name that communicated creativity. That’s where the Idea part of the name came from. Grove came from the desire to communicate that we did things organically; in other words, that the attention we brought to clients was earned, not bought.

Thanks to Scott Baradell, Idea Grove!


#22- Reminiscent of my late uncle

Photo Credit: Christine Nguyen

The name of my 501(c)(3) nonprofit Limitless Foundation is reminiscent of my late uncle, Cuong Ngo. He always inspired me to follow my dreams, to pursue happiness, and reminded me there was nothing I couldn’t achieve. This foundation was created in loving memory of him, and the name gives me another way to remember the role he played in my life.

Thanks to Christine Nguyen, Limitless Foundation!


#23- Popular Indian name

Photo Credit: Vijay Yalamanchili

We have a simple story behind our business name Keka. The word is popular in South India. Keka is a Telugu word ( One of the Indian languages ) and its colloquial translation is ‘Awesome’. We wanted a native Indian brand name and what can be better than a word that says ‘Awesome’.. Hence Keka.

Thanks to Vijay Yalamanchili, Keka HR!


#24- How we wanted our clients to view us

Photo Credit: Daniel Foley

There are so many digital marketing companies out there that present themselves as Zany, Creative and Cool, but to us that translated as Wacky, Lazy and Arrogant. We wanted our potential clients to view as a non-nonsense company that gets things done – upfront, blunt and honest; with the end goal being sales and revenue for them, not simply the idea. Using the word assertive exemplifies that and we added media to explain clearly what kind of company that we were.

Thanks to Daniel Foley, Assertive Media!


#25- After the family farm

Photo Credit: Link Moser

I grew up on a dairy farm in rural New Hampshire. The family farm was named Windhill Farm due to the fact that there was almost always a breeze blowing. When I started my company in 1996 at the age of 20 years old, I decided to name it after the family farm. Windhill Design was born and was one of the first web site design agencies in the area at that time.

Thanks to Link Moser, Windhill Design LLC!


#26- Inspired by a quote from Alice in Wonderland

Photo Credit: Will Gray

Prior to launching my experiential events company over 12 years ago, I was really struggling to come up with a business name that captured the heart of what we were offering; unforgettable corporate experiences that had never been done before. My wife and I were expecting our first daughter at the time and while choosing a painting for the nursery I stumbled upon a poster with a quote from Alice in Wonderland that jolted me with excitement, “I’m trying to free your mind. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.

Thanks to Will Gray, Hidden Door Experiences!


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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