How to come up with a business name: 10+ useful tips

Coming up with a business name can be one of the most important tasks you tackle when starting a new venture. After all, your name is an essential part of your branding that determines how you introduce your business to the world and how customers will remember you. It’s totally understandable if you’re feeling the pressure to come up with something original, creative, and catchy. These tips are here to help you narrow down your choices, with a quick intro to our secret weapon for naming new companies: a business name generator.

10 tips for naming your business

Some helpful tips for naming your business include: 

  1. Be original. Your business brings a unique perspective into the world. Make sure your name reflects that! Copying or mimicking a similar business may only invoke the other company in your customers’ minds, which will do you a disservice in the long run.
  2. Select an accessible name. If you think the name you like is difficult to spell or pronounce, chances are your customers will think so, too. It’s key to have a name that’s easy to pronounce and spell correctly, especially when people are trying to search for your business online. 
  3. Make sure it’s available. Once you’ve limited your name choices to a few options, the next step is to see if the name is available. You want to have your name in the URL of your company’s website, especially if your domain name ends in .com.
    You also want to make sure that it’s not someone else’s trademark. Peruse the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark database for possible matches, then consult an attorney to confirm that your name is not taken.
  4. Find something meaningful to you. Is your business name conveying something meaningful about your business? If not, it should! A meaningful name will help to elucidate the brand’s offerings and values. 
  5. Find a name that allows your business to grow. When you choose your name, consider what you want to offer both now and in the future. If you’re opening a women’s boutique, for example, you might want to go against your intuition and choose a name that relates to all genders. This advice may sound counterintuitive, but who knows — in five years, you might sell men’s clothes, too!
  6. Get some feedback. Once you have your business name shortlist, ask for feedback from real people. Whether you’re reaching out to family and friends or going around your neighborhood, you’ll get valuable insight from their differing perspectives. With this insight, you can find what suits your company best for both yourself and your potential customers. 
  7. Make it descriptive. There’s a story to tell in a business name. Dollar General? Their wares are affordably priced. Subway? You can buy tasty sub sandwiches.
    Elements such as your products, prices, and even your hours of operation can all be reflected in your business name. 
  8. Mix it up. Although it’s common to only use English words for your business name, you may want to draw from another language, especially if that culture is a part of your company or product. Doing so lets you tell an even more interesting story with a name that accurately reflects your brand identity. 
  9. Choose a name you love. You need to feel confident when you market your business to the world, so make sure you choose a name that you’re passionate about.
  10. Use your resources. If you’re really struggling with finding a name, there are many books and websites available to help guide you. Online dictionaries and thesauruses can help you come up with words that feel right. Workshopping with friends and family can help as well.

3 additional tips from professional namers

Businesses often turn to naming consultants to come up with the perfect name. These professionals have just one job: find the right name for their client’s business. As such, these consultants live and breathe business naming strategy, and they’ve certainly picked up some tips and tricks in their time spent coming up with business names day in and day out.

The three primary methods these professionals use are as follows:

1. Do your research.

The right name isn’t going to come to you overnight. The process of finding that perfect name can take hours, days, weeks, or even months. That’s because an effective business name is backed by research. 

Professional namer Nancy Friedman likes to follow the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” rule when coming up with names. Following Friedman’s rules, when she is naming a product or brand, it is essential for her to conduct research on the company, their vision, the products they would like to sell, and other relevant factors in order to find a name that suits their brand well.

When you’re creating a name for your own brand, these steps are essential, too! You want to use a name that means something to your company and generally portrays the essence of your brand while touching on the core of what you offer or do.

When you conduct your research, scouring the internet for inspiration can serve as a good source for ideas. However, Friedman adds that it’s also important to stick to the basics. That means kickin’ it old school by digging out the dictionary or the thesaurus and thumbing through its pages. You’d be surprised how many different names you can come up with just by browsing through these resources!

2. Mix up your modality.

When you’re conducting the same processes over and over again to come up with names, it may feel uninspired and automated. To keep ideas fresh, Shannon DeJong, CEO of House of Who, enjoys switching from the computer to a pen and paper, or changing her surroundings from the office to an outside walk in hopes that the imagery she comes across will open up new ideas.

Still having a little trouble? Try breaking out of solo mode and giving group work a try for a different approach. Sometimes, bouncing ideas off another person or two can help you find a name or refine an idea you’ve had in your mind but haven’t been able to nail down.

3. Take breaks.

Overworking your mind may feel more like an exhausting sprint than an exercise in creativity. When this is the case, Scott Milano, managing director of the brand naming agency Tanj, suggests taking a break when naming gets too tough. Whether that means going on a walk or taking a full day to do something you enjoy, it’s essential for your mental health — and the naming process — to let yourself relax for a while.

Don’t get discouraged: 99 out of 100 times, you aren’t going to find the perfect name right away. You’re going to need to take breaks, and that’s perfectly okay. As long as you write your ideas down, you can come back to them whenever you’re feeling inspired once again. If you return with a clearer mind, you can better see whether your ideas truly fit your company.

Mark Gunnion, a professional namer, takes a similar approach that gives his creativity some breathing room. He likes to complete three to four spaced-out, day-long rounds during the naming process. By the end of the third or fourth round, he’s left with a few hundred names.

Benefits of using a business name generator

A business name generator can be a great way to help you get started on your naming journey without hiring a consultant. If you’re feeling stuck on ideas or you’re unsure which direction you’d like to go, a name generator can help you create something that sounds great while reflecting your company and what it stands for. Importantly, many of the ideas that come from these generators are unique, which is a huge help when trying to come up with something original. Best of all, a business name generator can help you save time and money without skipping out on fresh ideas and creativity. 

What’s in a name?

Coming up with a business name is easier said than done. A unique, catchy, and accessible business name can feel difficult to come by. By working with a naming consultant or a business name generator, you can tap into a new perspective that can bring fresh ideas and help you find just the right name for your new venture.
And once you have that name figured out, it’s time to build your brand. The Namecheap Visual suite of marketing builder tools has everything you need to bring your new name to life, including a logo generator that helps you select the right colors, shapes, and fonts for your company and a website builder that helps you get online within minutes. When you’re all done, put your new name on a business card with the Namecheap Card Maker, then get out there and share your new business name with the world.


Nick Allen

Nick Allen

Nick Allen is a writer, photographer, and content marketer. He’s also the founder of BrainBoost Media, a boutique content and operations studio. With a wide range of interests, he enjoys reading and writing about sports, entrepreneurship, and start-ups.
More articles written by Nick.

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