Branding, Marketing Strategy

How to Come Up With Awesome Business Name Ideas

Your business plan is done, you’ve lined up financing, you’ve figured out your operations and you’re raring to start your new business. But now you’re stuck trying to come up with company name ideas.

 

We’ve helped create names for many brands and clients, and have seen first-hand how difficult it is to choose the perfect name, especially knowing you’ll have to live with it for years to come.

 

In this article, we’re going to share our secrets for crafting and creating awesome business name ideas, and then provide you with tips on how to choose the best company name.

The secret steps to coming up with great business name ideas

Arm yourself with blank paper or a whiteboard, access to the internet, a thesaurus, a dictionary (online and/or print), and extra brainstormers if you can scrounge some up.

 

Start by asking yourself the following questions, and write down one or two word answers as they come to mind:

  • what does my business specialize in?

  • what products or services do I sell?

  • what is different about my business?

  • what is the benefit of buying from me?

  • what do I deliver to the customer?

  • what words are used frequently in my industry?

 

Then ask and write down the answers to these questions:

  • who are my ideal customers?

  • what is their age, where do they live, what is their lifestyle, what is their personality, what are they into in, what problems are they looking to solve, what are they looking for?

  • how do I want my business to be known in the industry? leading edge? modern? creative? fun? conservative? secure? technical?

  • what do I want people to think of, and feel, when they see my brand?

 

Now look at all of the words you wrote down and star the ones that stand out to you. Then try the following:

  • get out the thesaurus, look up the starred words and write down synonyms

  • get out the dictionary and look up the starred words you have written down to see their meanings and origin (origins often help create great beginnings or endings to your name that have inherent meaning)

  • find pairs of words that you can put together to create a business name

  • shorten words and merge them into one made up company name

  • change the spelling of words so they’re spelled incorrectly, but sound the same phonetically (i.e. fone instead of phone)

  • add short two-letter endings to words, i.e. Timberex

 

Once you’re completely exhausted, stop. Go to sleep. Go for dinner. Hang out with friends. Drink wine (oops, now you know our real secret). Regardless of what you do, quit thinking about names altogether and let your subconscious take over. Keep those pieces of paper handy at all times over the next few days because you’ll need them when names just pop into your head. Make sure you write these down.

 

After a few days have passed, review your name ideas and circle your favorites. You’ll want to pick about 10 candidates because, surprisingly, many will get ruled out when you go through the next steps.

Tips for choosing the best company name

Now that you’ve got your top ten business name ideas, you’ll want to run through these checks with each one and cross off the names that don’t meet the criteria.

 

  1. Say it outloud. Is it hard to pronounce? Awkward to say? Does it sound dirty?

  2. Get someone else to say it. Do they say it properly?

  3. Google search the name. Is there a competitor using the name already? Is the name common? (A really common name will make it hard for people to find you when they search for you unless your website is really well optimized.)

  4. See if a good website domain is available. Visit www.namecheap.com (please don't use others as many sell their search lists and squatters will buy your name out from under you). Enter your name with .com or .ca to see if it’s available. If it isn’t, try adding a descriptive word, i.e. instead of just timberex.com, try timberexlumber.com.

 

After these steps, you’ll have only a few names left. Sometimes surveying friends and family to see which of the 3 they like best will help you decide. But ultimately, now is the time to trust your gut, pick your name, and get on with business.

 

And finally, now that you’ve crafted an awesome business name you’ll want to...

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