I know, I know. You’ve probably spent the good part of an hour, day or week trying to come up with ideas for a unique business name, but with no luck. It’s a common struggle that a lot of entrepreneur’s struggle with when starting a new business, which is why I’ve decided to help you out with some ideas or shortcuts you can start using today, as well as teaching you how to come up with some on your own.
At the very least, I should tell you that a business name isn’t as important as you might think. Yes there are exceptions to this statement, like when it’s got spelling mistakes or is difficult to pronounce, but more often than not people are more interested in the quality of service, rather than the name above the door. With this in mind you should hopefully feel like a weight has been taken off your shoulders, and that you can now approach some unique business name ideas with an open-mind.
When I say that the business name isn’t overly important, I can point to examples where the business’ name has absolutely nothing to do with the products or services that it offers, for instance Amazon has nothing to do with the rain forest in Brazil, and Apple has nothing to do with fruit. Yet, in both of these examples these companies are two of the largest organisations in the world.
How to come up with unique business name ideas
Coming up with a business name doesn’t have to be difficult, and you’ll learn a variety of methods that can help save you a lot of time, money and headaches in trying to come up with one. The following suggestions can be used either on their own, or as part of a combination, which will make more sense as you continue to go down the list. Anyway, enjoy…
Using your own name
I figured i’d get this one out of the way, given that I use my name for my own business. Using your own name can be the easiest solution to coming up with a unique business name, and is an idea that many great entrepreneurs have used for their businesses. Such examples of successful businesses that sport the name of their founder(s) include; Calvin Klein, McDonald’s, Bacardi and Nestlé.
If you want to get real creative with it, you can do what Adi Dassler did when setting up his German sportswear company, by combing parts of his name together to make; Adidas. Alternatively you could use a nickname to name your business. I mean I would have used the names that people tend to called me in the past, but I’m not sure it would be appropriate for business.
Create an Acronym
Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to create an acronym that best represents your business, or perhaps a phrase that it stands for, which can also help to keep the business name quite short. Examples of businesses that use acronyms in their name include; HSBC, DKNY, DHL and IKEA.
The latter is made up of the founder, Ingvar Kamprad’s initials, the first initial of the farm that he lived on (Elmtaryd) and the first initial of the parish that he lived in (Agunnaryd). It can often be as simple as that!
Stating the obvious
A method that I only tend to see in trade services or dental offices, is to state the industry and/or location of the business, for instance calling your business “London Plumbing” or to mention a friend’s business, “Pollok Pooches Dog Walking”, with Pollok being a large estate in Glasgow, Scotland.
The beauty of this method is that it does exactly what it says on the tin. There’s no confusion as to what you do, and the name alone could be the deciding factor over whether a local client decides to work with you or not. The limitation with this method though is that if you decide to expand beyond your local territory, then the name could get confusing.
Taking it global
Get your map out, because here we’re looking at the names of streets, lanes, rivers, roads, states, lakes, countries, counties, oceans, seas & continents for inspiration… phew. You would be amazed at the amount of top businesses that have taken inspiration from their surroundings, such as Nokia being named after the Finnish River Nokianvirta. Adobe Systems was named after the Adobe Creek in California.
Get the dictionary out
Sometimes it can help to just get a dictionary (or thesaurus) out and point at a word blindly, in doing so you might actually find some cool words that you like or you feel best represents you and your brand, and go from there.
At the same time you could adjust some of the letters to mix it up a bit, like Avacadu.com, however be warned that this could lead to some confusion when trying to spell it out to someone. I myself have to explain every time that the S in my surname is a Z in my website URL, however that’s because someone else with a similar, yet fantastic, name ‘stole’ mikewalters.com from me. If the other Mike tells you that he bought the domain first, well… he’s lying. Shush.
Eu sou um macaco
Struggling to come with anything in your native language? Consider switching it up with words or terms from other dialects. Using Google Translate you can come up with a wide range of unique business name ideas in French, Portuguese, Chinese, Italian or even Latin.
The best part is that you can use some of the other methods on this list, and translate them into another language within seconds. I would however get someone that speaks the language to confirm that the translation is correct first!
If all else fails then you can use a generator to come up with a name. Although I consider these to be pretty naff at times, it’s worth checking out if you’re really struggling to come up with your own ideas. Shopify have their own generator which you can use, check it out here.
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Things to consider
Now that I’ve given you a load of ways to come up with unique ideas for your business name, it’s worth considering a few things before settling on that final name. I know, I know… you’ve already got a headache mulling over this, but trust me that this will save you a lot of time and effort down the line when you inevitably decide to change the business name again!
Are the domain names and social media handles available?
Is the business name available as a domain or on social media? Although it’s not the end of the world if your desired domain name is taken, it can put a bummer on your mood when you’ve come up with a great name. Although I would not recommend signing up with them, GoDaddy is a great place to go if you want to see whether a domain name is available or not.
Out of all of the website hosts that I have used though, Siteground for me is the best of the lot. It’s definitely worth checking them out if you want fast servers, great bonus features & fantastic customer support. Have a mooch through their WordPress packages here.
Keep it simple
Although I said that you can alter a letter or a word in your business name, like I have for mikewalterz, it must be done within reason. Similarly I had a client who wanted to call their lingerie business “Esensually Yours”, which was supposed to be a mix between ‘Essential’ and ‘Sensual’. It was just too much, and looked like it was spelt wrong.
When you start being too clever with your name, it can often have a negative effect either on how it sounds or what it means. If the average person has to really think about what your business name means, then it’s probably too much. Keep it simple.
Don’t get caught out
Watch out for business names which might become controversial when typed into the search bar, like how Joe Therapist becomes joetherapist.com, or how Pen Island becomes penisland.com, with the latter being the go-to prank in IT class during my innocent school days. Take an extra second to analyse the name for any potential controversies, it could end up saving you a lot of embarrassment!
A business name doesn’t have to be anything overly fancy, and could be as simple as using your own name or location. Using idea generators or domain name searches can help narrow down your ideas, but at the end of the day you’ll need to just go with your gut!
Are you having some issues thinking of unique ideas for a business name? Perhaps drop some ideas in the comments below and I’ll try to help you out 🙂