How To Come Up With a Business Name: 5 Steps

How To Come Up With a Business Name: 5 Steps

Finding the right name for a business can make or break the success of the company. 

Before entering the world of business, every entrepreneur needs to know how to come up with a business name that not only connects with customers and grabs their attention, but represents the founders and their vision as well. 

How do I name my small business? What are some catchy business names? What types of brand names are there? How do I come up with a successful business name and claim my place in the market? Those are only some of the questions we’ll answer in this article.

Keep reading and find tips, tricks, and tools for business name ideas that will lead your company to ultimate success.

Table of Contents:

What Makes a Great Brand Name

Your brand name not only has to sound good and be easily recognizable, it actually serves an important purpose. That’s why, before deciding on a name for your business, ask yourself these following questions:

Is It Simple?

You want people to talk about your business, so make it as easy as possible for them to do so. If a brand name is impossible to pronounce, that can have a negative impact on customer engagement. Strange spellings make the brand name difficult to search for. Given the importance of the internet for marketing and commerce, this could put your business at a serious disadvantage.

Is It Distinctive?

To stand out from the competition, your brand name should be unique. Imagine the scenario: a small town with two nail salons, one called “Nails Inc” and the other called “Nails & Co.” How often do you think residents would confuse them in casual conversation? The last thing you want is a positive review being wrongly attributed to a rival business.

Is It Memorable?

A bland brand name can make it hard to hook an audience. After all, our modern business landscape trades on the power of clicks. Ideally, the name should inspire people to stop scrolling. On a practical level, you definitely don’t want a situation where a customer struggles to remember the brand name even after a positive encounter with your products.

Is It Timeless?

It’s tempting to follow trends in a bid to attract attention, but remember that your brand name is here to stay. The process of rebranding is time-consuming and can be expensive, so you want a brand name that’s built to last. Make sure it isn’t based on a reference that will be outdated in a matter of months.

Is It Relevant?

The brand name doesn’t have to be extremely literal but bear in mind that if it’s too abstract it may leave potential customers wondering what the business offers. Using the same example of a nail salon as above, “Talons” could sound cooler than something straightforward like “Nail Artists,” but it still conveys the focus of the company clearly.

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5 Types of Brand Names to Choose From

5 Types of Brand Names to Choose From
5 Types of Brand Names to Choose From

When it comes to describing brand identity with a name, it’s important to know all the factors that go into the decision. One of them is the type of company name you want for the business. It’s not just about being a catchy business name. It needs to have a meaning as well. 

Let’s look at five popular types and examples to ease the naming process.

Descriptive Names

Beginners and new businesses can often benefit from descriptive business names. They leave the customers with no doubt in their minds regarding what the business offers. Descriptive names educate customers and explain the exact purpose of the company. 

The downside of descriptive business names is there is little to no space for creativity, leaving nothing to the imagination. They are direct, clear, and simple, and quite often hard to trademark because they consist of simple terms and phrases.

Origin Brand Names

Provenance, history, location. Those are the criteria for origin or founder-based brand names. Businesses are often named after a significant or historic place or figure. It can be the founder, main inventor, the place of birth of the company, or any other significant relevance.

While origin-based brand names are quite easy to trademark, they require bigger marketing efforts than other types of names. Since the name is personal, it doesn’t give a clear message to the audience about the purpose of the company.

Acronyms & Initials

While some of the most popular brands in the world have acronyms or initials as their business name, nowadays a start-up would struggle to come up with a great and memorable acronym for a new audience.

Acronyms are simple and functional, but they lack emotion, connection to the target audience, and meaning. These types of brand names are hard to remember, and are even harder to trademark. While some people really desire their initials or acronyms in the title, they are often just descriptive and meaningless.

Metaphorical Names

If you want a business name that will tap into the imagination and create an emotional connection with the customer, metaphors are the way to go. Brand names with metaphors are more appealing, as the audience relates to them. Whether it is characteristics, symbols of culture, qualities, or stories, metaphors are intriguing.

These are the perfect examples of how to come up with a company name. Evocative business name ideas need to describe the passion behind the brand. They need to represent the values of the company, otherwise people won’t buy into it.

Compound Names

Compound or conjoined brand names are two or more words combined to form a new, catchy business name. They are a great way to stand out n as something unique and special. The challenge is to make a name that sounds good.

Conjoined business names are very effective in explaining their message to the audience. They are clear, simple, and straight to the point. They grab attention and provide clarity without the need to research or further explain what the company is, does, and offers.

How to Come Up With a Business Name in 5 Steps

Whether you’re trying to figure out how to come up with a clothing brand name, accessories, or any other type of product or service, the naming process is exactly the same. There are necessary steps to take in order to come up with the perfect name for your brand identity.

Step 1: Define Your Target Audience

How To Come Up With a Business Name in 5 Steps - Define Your Target Audience
How To Come Up With a Business Name in 5 Steps - Define Your Target Audience

What is the target audience? It’s a specific market segment that will most likely respond positively to whatever service or product your company offers. These are the group of people whom you actually want to sell something to and who are likely to become customers. Target audiences share similar traits, such as age, education, gender, location, or income.

Why is it important to target a specific audience? While it might seem important to appeal to as many different people as possible, the reality is that non-targeted marketing can lead to failure. Businesses who try to sell to everyone will most likely sell to no one. Use personalized channels, information, language, and tone to get the most effect that speaks to the right customers.

It’s important to remember that targeting a specific audience doesn’t mean excluding other people. Instead, it allows businesses to focus all their costs and marketing efforts on the right market. $37 billion is wasted every year in wrongly targeted ads. Targeted marketing helps companies spend less on customer acquisition and earn more by reaching the right audience.

How to define your target audience? Analyze the customer base and conduct surveys. Use tools like Google Trends and Analytics to analyze the current market and its trends. Research competitors and what they offer. Create buyer personas to fully understand who  the people are that you want to sell to.

Step 2: Define Your Business

How To Come Up With a Business Name in 5 Steps - Define Your Business
How To Come Up With a Business Name in 5 Steps - Define Your Business

When thinking about how to come up with a name for your business, it’s important to define the business itself. Not only in terms of what it is and does, but how it compares to the competition and what makes it different from others in the same market segment.

A well-performed and thorough SWOT analysis can come in handy here. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Assess these four aspects of your business and use it to define what the company can offer to the market and what it needs to work on.

Your USP (unique selling proposition) is that unique ‘something’ that your company can offer that your competitors can’t. It’s what drives customers to you and makes them choose your product or service over competitors. It’s the competitive advantage and edge to use to promote the product and brand.

To find what makes a company special, business owners need to understand what characteristics customers value. Some examples include price, quality, range, delivery speed, website, reliability, or customer service. Define your strengths and unique traits to dominate a specific market segment.

Step 3: Brainstorm Keywords

How To Come Up With a Business Name in 5 Steps - Brainstorm Keywords
How To Come Up With a Business Name in 5 Steps - Brainstorm Keywords

Now that it’s clear what your business is all about and who the target audience is, it’s time to start generating some potential business name ideas. Picking specific keywords can help a great deal in the process.

Keywords are the basis of everything when it comes to generating online traffic. If a company name already consists of high-ranking keywords, half the work is already cut out for you, as the brand name will already rank well among competitors.

The name for your business can embody keywords that relate to the product or service it provides. For example, pick a Japanese, Mexican,  Greek, or other keyword for restaurants or merchandise relating to those countries and cultures. The same goes for specific industries or products. Keywords in the company name will not only boost traffic and attract customers, but clearly state what the business is about.

A good way to cultivate inspiration and play around with ideas is by using brand name generators. Come up with keywords that resonate with your brand, product, service, quality, or personality, and see what you can do with them.

Step 4: Combine and Play With Words

Brainstorm potential business names by combining words and phrases. If you now have a list from the previous step of keywords to use in the company name, try mixing them together or coming up with various wordplays surrounding those keywords.

Use multiple tools and resources, including r brand name generators, to come up with a list of possible business names.

Avoid difficult spelling, double meaning, or misleading metaphors. Come up with a list of possible business names by integrating clever wordplay, symbolic meaning and phrases, or high-ranking keywords.

Make sure the name is easy to spell, pronounce, and remember. Make sure it sounds nice when said out loud. Make sure you, yourself, are happy and pleased with the name of your business before offering it to the world.

Step 5: Test the Brand Name via Feedback

How To Come Up With a Business Name in 5 Steps - Test the Brand Name Via Feedback
How To Come Up With a Business Name in 5 Steps - Test the Brand Name Via Feedback

When thorough market, competitor, and keyword research is done and you have a small list of possible business names, it’s time to take action. Try to put them into a logo design, weave them into conversations, or draft them in an email signature. Run the possible company names by family, friends, and people you trust to check out their reactions. 

Get direct feedback from your target audience as well. If people are confused or have too many questions, you might need to re-think the name and its user-friendliness. Pick small groups from the target audience and ask them to spell or pronounce the company name. This exercise will show how customers engage with the business title.

Collecting feedback will help you reduce the options down to the best one. Pick a business name that people can easily remember, spell, pronounce, understand, and relate to. Appeal to customers with a catchy, simple, well thought out brand name and strive for the ultimate success in your field of business.

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Brand Name Generators to Come Up With the Best Name for Your Business

We tested several generators using the same hypothetical scenario: I am the owner of an upmarket dog grooming business looking for an original and impactful brand name. Let’s see what we get.

First, it asks to input keywords relating to the business. We chose “dog grooming”, “pet spa”, “puppy”, “haircut”, and – because this is an upmarket business – “chic”. Then you need to choose the length and style. Categories include brandable names, misspellings, and rhyming words.

Brand Name Generator Namelix
Source: Namelix
Brand Name Generator Namelix
Source: Namelix

Results. Among many pages, some were more useful and relevant than others. Suggestions like Drugwolf were quite obviously inappropriate; however, it’s surprising how accurately some brand names reflected our keywords. The best ideas I identified from the list were “Primpuppy”, “Puppy Deluxe”, “Puppity”, and “House of Puppies”.

Review. A good start. You can narrow down the options depending on the preferences, while the amount of suggestions is still quite large. This algorithm is very clever.

This generator only allows six keywords, so we used the same ones as above. There were no further options to limit suggestions, so the results were shown immediately.

Brand Name Generator Business Name Generator
Source: Business Name Generator
Brand Name Generator Business Name Generator
Source: Business Name Generator

Results. Obviously, many pages of computer-generated results. Not all of them were relevant. “Jaded Chic”, for example, failed to communicate the specific nature of the business. However, some suggestions were very good, including “Puppyworks”, “Pet Parade”, and “Divine Grooming”.

Review. This generator combines keyword-associated words. If you choose the keywords well, many good options will show up. A cool additional feature of the site is that you can immediately check the domain name availability for any generated suggestion.

Instructions here are a little unclear. Instead of prompting for keywords, it simply said “Enter query”. We added the same above-mentioned terms. Note: don’t use commas between the keywords.

Printify Brand Name Generator Shopify
Source: Shopify
Printify Brand Name Generator Shopify
Source: Shopify

Results. Long search terms will result in extremely long name suggestions, such as “Greatest Pet Grooming Chic Puppy Haircut Pet Spa”. In more than two pages of results, the best option we could find was “Divine Chic Pet Grooming”.

Review. The algorithm for this generator seems basic. Rather than really understanding keywords to combine them and suggest synonyms, it simply adds words to your keyword terms.

This brand name generator remembered our previous search when it was restricted to six keywords, so we believe it uses the same algorithm as the Business Name Generator.

Brand Name Generator Biz Name Wiz
Source: Biz Name Wiz
Brand Name Generator Biz Name Wiz
Source: Biz Name Wiz

Results. Results were similar to the previous ones. The best new suggestions were “Puppyopolis”, “Runway Puppy”, and “Swank Grooming”.

Brand Name Generator Biz Name
Source: Biz Name Wiz
Brand Name Generator Biz Name
Source: Biz Name Wiz

Review. Something to appreciate that we didn’t notice while using the Business Name Generator: both sites allow you to save favorite names while scrolling through them. This seems like a very helpful feature, given the countless pages of results provided.

Don’t use commas to separate terms, since Oberlo includes them in the results. It immediately said that 100 potential business names were found without keywords, which is an oddly specific number.

Brand Name Generator Oberlo
Source: Oberlo
Brand Name Generator Oberlo
Source: Oberlo

Results. Keywords were featured in the same order in every suggestion. Rather than mix them up and look for related terms, this generator simply added words to the terms. Brand name ideas included “Commonwealth Dog Grooming” and “Dog Grooming Traffic”. In conclusion, nothing special.

Review. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find many viable brand names using this generator. Even restricting search terms to simply “dog grooming”, we received very obscure suggestions.

This generator allows you to limit results by the number of letters and to choose whether the terms appear at the start, middle, or end of the brand name. Once again, commas are not welcome.

Brand Name Generator Web Hosting Geeks
Source: Web Hosting Geeks
Brand Name Generator Web Hosting Geeks
Source: Web Hosting Geeks

Results. Since this site is focused on domain name availability, all brand name suggestions come in the form of one word. Typical results we received were “groomingpetpuppy” and “dogspapuppychic”.

Review. Rather than generate new ideas, this site seemed to simply jumble up our own keywords and add words like “best” and “VIP” to the start. This would be a more useful tool for people who need domain options for their brand name.

Helpfully, this site explains that the generator works best with 2 or 3 keywords separated by a space. We decided to search for “chic dog grooming”.

First it asks to select an industry, which in our case is pets. Then it asks for three keywords. We settled for “grooming, spa, haircut”. Lastly, it asks to choose a “big idea” related to the emotions we want to evoke. “Luxury” seemed appropriate.

Brand Name Generator SquadHelp
Source: SquadHelp
Brand Name Generator SquadHelp
Source: SquadHelp

Results. Results were displayed as logos, helping you envision how they’d work as real brand names. Some of our favorites incorporated pet themes into fancy-sounding names like “Petsworth” or “Furrbury’s”.

Review. It didn’t suggest as many results as other generators, but those suggested were higher quality, original, and memorable, providing serious inspiration for searchers, such as “Tail & Claw”.

This generator has a search engine for keywords, but the results can also be refined by selecting a preferred business type and style for the brand name.

Brand Name Generator Novanym
Source: Novanym
Brand Name Generator Novanym
Source: Novanym

Results. The results were very abstract. There was no clear connection to the  dog grooming themes included in the keywords. Suggestions like “Iqonique” or “Sinuos” would probably function in a range of industries, but they weren’t clear enough for our purposes.

Review. The algorithm doesn’t seem to pay much attention to the keywords. This would be a useful brand name generator for someone looking for inspiration for a modern, one-word brand name, as long as they didn’t want anything specific.

This generator is one of the rare ones that allows you to add keywords separated by commas. It also asks for an industry, so we selected “Pets and Animals”.

Brand Name Generator TRUiC
Source: TRUiC
Brand Name Generator TRUiC
Source: TRUiC

Results. This generator was like others that simply remixed the search terms into different combinations. It also added prefixes like “ex”, “un”, and “re”, which weren’t particularly useful.

Review. This generator will provide some ideas, but you’ll have to edit them to make them work. For example, one result was “Jet Pet Puppy Spa Grooming Chic Haircut”. Although this is ridiculous on its own, there may be the seed of an idea to be found in “Jet Pet Spa”.

Conclusion

Coming up with the perfect business name is a crucial and sometimes nerve-racking process. Use this guide as a helpful hand in the name-making and follow the steps and suggestions.

Our thorough investigation suggests that the brand name generators that gave the most specific, memorable, and usable results were Namelix, Business Name Generator, Biz Name Whiz, and Squad Help.

Try them out to see what they suggest for your business and strive for the ultimate success.

Make It Happen Today!

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5 comments

  1. Krestof Kizlian
    September 3

    It is very good 🌟 article and it helpful for many people, thank you so much for your time.

    1. Martha Simmons
      September 5

      Hi Krestof,
      Thank you for your feedback, we are happy to hear that you enjoyed this article!

  2. Cathy
    January 10

    I thought this was very helpful. Helped me narrow down where to look and give me ideas.

    1. Florence Kingsley
      January 10

      Hey Cathy! We are glad to hear you liked the article!

  3. Sandra Johnson
    June 9

    Great Article!

    When you start your business, the brand name is the first thing that people recognize, more important when it is an online or E-commerce business.

    Thanks!

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