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Choosing a Business Name

How to Choose a Business Name

Posted on 24, November, 2015

Last Modified on 16, September, 2019

The process of starting your own business can be downright intimidating - and it almost doesn't feel real until your business has a registered name. Choosing a name for your business can be harder than naming your first born child... there isn't a baby book for business names. While some entrepreneurs may choose to use their last name - i.e. Madden’s, that doesn't always speak to their brand identity. Others might leave their decision up to an online name generator. These free naming tools can help to spark ideas, but the results are often generic and uninspired. If your creative juices just aren’t flowing and you find yourself lacking inspiration on the name selection front, you are not alone. Branding decisions are hard, but by following the methods other well-known businesses used to come up with their names, you may find yours.

Questions to Consider Before Naming Your Business

Before you start brainstorming actual names, answer the following questions about your business and brand. Your answers to these questions will be the foundation of your brainstorming process. They will ensure that your chosen name has meaning and supports the overall mission of your business!

  1. How would you describe your business/products/services?
  2. What sets your business apart?
  3. Why do your customers choose you?
  4. What is your business’s personality?
  5. How do you want to make people feel?

Company Name Brainstorming Tips

Now to the meat of the name selection turkey! Below you’ll find some important things to consider when picking your business name, as well as some ideas for developing a unique and meaningful name. As you’re reading through the list, have a pen & paper at hand. Jot down any and all random words that come to mind - it doesn’t matter how silly they may seem, I swear to you they will come in handy!

  • Keep it Simple & Short
    • Should not be a mouthful - “The Best Place to Buy Pet Clothing in Providence”, not matter how descriptive of your business, is just too long and wordy
    • Should roll off the tongue
    • Alliteration can be helpful to accomplish this - ie. Growing Garden (garden shop)
  • Make it Memorable & Unique
    • Be sure other businesses in your area/industry do not have similar names that may be confused in the market.
    • The name should not be so unique that it's hard to remember, and not so generic that it's the same as hundreds of other businesses.
  • Try a Word Dump
    • On a blank piece of paper, write down every word that comes to your mind when you think about your business. Don't hold back, and write as many words as possible. Later, you can choose the ones that stick out to guide your brand's naming decisions.
    • If you need guidance for your word dump, think back to the questions you asked yourself earlier about your brand.
  • Use a Thesaurus!
    • Use to find interesting & unique words that relate to your brand’s mission and personality
    • Other words for PRETTY include; lovely, beautiful, angelic, gorgeous, & divine
  • Try Making Up Words
    • This sounds weird but it certainly makes for a unique business name.
    • Choose parts of words that are meaningful to you and your business, and tie into your answers to the brand questions above.
    • Opening a floral-themed clothing store? Try “Flor” or “FloCo”
    • Opening a cat boutique? Try “Purtique” or “Meow-tique”
  • Research Folk Lore, Mythology & History
    • These types of stories and legends are both meaningful and well-know - especially Greek & Roman mythology.
    • Use parts of God or Goddess names that have meaning to your brand.
    • Have a dating service? Try a play on Greek Goddess of love, Aphrodite
    • Opening a flower shop? Pull inspiration from Artemis, Goddess of wilderness & nature.
  • Try Other Languages
    • Words in other languages can be meaningful, unique & recognizable.
    • “Pretty Cat” in French is “Joli Chat” - the “Joli Chat” Pet Boutique
    • “Pretty Flower” in Italian is “Bel Fiore” - the “Bel Fiore” Clothing Store

      ** I totally used google translate for this - if you're actually using another language for your a name, definitely run it by someone who actually speaks the language. If you or your family speak the language, that makes it all the more meaningful. Also, be away of the cultural connotations of the name - you don't want one of these blunders happening to your business!

  • Assess Awesome Acronyms
    • Can be short & sweet - incorporating meaningful words into the name without the length
    • FC Inc = Floral Clothing Incorporated
    • CCA Boutique = Cutest Cat Alive Boutique
  • Are YOU Your Brand?
    • If it’s important to you that you establish a brand around yourself, then I take back what I said earlier about not using your last name as the business name. In these cases, using your own name can actually help generate trust and authority.
    • Common for artists, doctors, lawyers, or real estate agents.
  • Is the Name Available?
    • Has the name been trademarked?
    • Is the domain name available for a website? If having a website with the same name as your business is important to you, then be sure to check for available domains before you get too attached to a certain name.
Business Name Origins

Now, brainstorm, brainstorm, and brainstorm some more. Stew on it for a while. Dream about it. Run ideas past family and friends. Say to your barista - “Hey what does “FloCo” sound like to you?” Remember to check out available domain names before settling on an idea. In the end, the name you choose should inspire and excite you! Let it be your rallying call!

Once you’ve chosen your business name and have secured the trademark or other licensing, you’ll want to order marketing materials customized with your business’ name. From a custom printed acrylic office sign, to a waving feather flag, we’ve got tons of customizable displays that let you show off your new business with pride!

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