Naming any business takes time — you need to brainstorm, research, and make decisions.
If you already have some idea of a name, you’ll will need to make some research before committing to it. And if you don’t… here’s where to start!
Coming up with a name for a business is an incredibly subjective task. It can come easily or it can take months — in some cases, companies might even change their name after years in the business.
To prevent that from happening to you, we’ve separated the most essential tips and naming conventions to help you on your journey — with the occasional trivia to inspire you.
You can hire companies to come up with a name for you. But it might not come cheap. For small businesses and contractors, this option is usually pushed aside — you can still come up with a good name by yourself with no problem.
7 Tips for Coming Up with a Business Name
In many ways, this is the hardest game of scrabble you'll ever play.
Regardless if you have a name idea or not, here’s what you should consider before making a committed decision, and the steps you need to take in order to secure your name:
1. Use Google and Facebook to your advantage
Came up with a cool name idea? Search for it immediately. Seriously, don’t waste any time. Search it on Google and on Facebook — what you’re looking for are other companies that might have already taken that name. If nothing comes up, you’re in luck! Now move on to the next step, which is…
2. Secure your domain
We recommend visiting GoDaddy so you can check if a domain with your business name is available. Securing a domain is usually quite affordable, since you don’t need to attach a website to it right away, you’re only securing the name. If one of your good ideas is available, it might be wise to secure it immediately, even if you’re still unsure — remember, anyone can claim a domain from anywhere in the world. If you’ve got a decent name that’s available, secure it right away.
3. Make it easy to read and remember
Can people read it and remember it easily? I’m sure it has already happened to you — you want to find a certain business online and you Google it with no idea how to spell it, hoping Google does it for you.
4. Say it out loud
It might look nice on paper, but does your business sound good? Say it out loud. Is it easy to pronounce? Does it roll the tongue? It’s fun to experiment with words (more on that soon) but you have to be sure your business name is easy to pronounce.
5. It has to be related to your business
Can people understand what your business is about when they hear the name? If not, you might want to reconsider.
6. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm
Just get ideas out. Especially if you don’t have any names in mind, open a file or get your pen and write anything that comes to mind. There are some tips below on how to get started!
7. Careful with local and generic names
This depends on how much you want to grow your business, but it’s good practice to not limit your business name. How? For example, simply going for “Chicago Painters” makes your business indistinguishable from… well, any other painters in Chicago. Not to mention, using “Chicago” in the name means if you ever want to branch out to another state, the name won’t make sense.
Those were the most essential tips, useful for any business and any name you come up with. Now, let’s take a look at conventions commonly used to create names!
What About Naming Conventions?
It’s important to remember you don’t have to use any of these. The deciding factor for the perfect name will be your gut. These are not rules.
They are simple conventions seen in many business names and brands across the world, and especially if you’re stuck, they might inspire you into getting unstuck and coming up with a cool name.
If you want to see more names and their meanings, check out this Wikipedia page - it has all of them. Seriously.
AOL = America Online
HBO = Home Box Office
AT&T = American Telephone & Telegraph
The great thing about acronyms is that they’re relatively easy to come up with. The problem though is that it might lead to a cryptic name. We know what HBO stands for because it’s an established name, but if it’s the first time you’ve heard it, how would you know what the company does?
Word mash-ups and shortening
Evernote = forever + note
Groupon = group + coupon
Intel = short for “integrated electronics”
The trick for this one is creating something that reads naturally and sounds nice. People should be able to get what your business is about and read it correctly when they see it.
Foreign words, names, and expressions
Asus = named after the mythical winged horse, Pegasus — the founders dropped the first three letters for higher positioning in alphabetical order
Altavista = Spanish for "high view"
Etsy = in Italian it means “oh, yes”, and in Latin, it means “and if”.
Nike = goddess of victory
Starbucks = fictional chef from the book Moby Dick
These might come in handy if they mean something you can relate to your business. Do you have Italian heritage? French? Scottish? Greek? You can try looking up names and words in those languages.
Spell a foreign word differently
Canon = named after their first camera, the Kwanon, but adapted for better worldwide acceptance.
This is very useful if you find a foreign word with a nice ring to it, but complicated writing. Simplify it to preserve the sound, and you’ve got yourself a name idea.
Your own name
Having a unique or rare name can give you a good edge in business — it makes for an instantly recognizable name.
Danone = nickname of founder’s first son Daniel (DAN-ONE)
Wendy’s = Wendy was the nickname of the founder’s daughter
Do you already have a unique nickname people know you as? It might be a good idea to use it if you can — it will be instantly recognizable and easy to recommend.
Adobe = Adobe Creek
Amazon = largest river in the world
Fuji = highest mountain in Japan
Check around the map where you live. Anything interesting you could use as a name? You can also check a world map, see if anything catches your attention.
But you should avoid using city or state names. Not that it’s forbidden, but it’s awfully generic and it might limit the reach of your business. For example, say your business is called “Boston Painters.” If people Google “Boston Painters,” they will not be direct towards your business, but instead, to every single painter business in Boston.
Ben & Jerry’s
Working with a partner? Try mixing and matching your names, see if it works!
Use descriptive words
Google = googol (A googol is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.)
Twitter = the founders got a dictionary and landed on “Twitter,” which means “a short burst of inconsequential information,” and “chirps from birds.”
Latin is your friend
Verizon = based on the Latin word “veritas”, which means “truth”, combined with the english word “horizon”
And finally, going to a Latin dictionary can be very useful, since you can find thousands of words that sound unique, and are written the same way everywhere.
To help you out, here are some brainstormed name ideas for home improvement businesses:
These are all just words taken from a dictionary, not business names, so they might be free to use!
Atramenti = ink, pigment
Atricolor = dark color, letters in black
Averro = sweep, brush, take away, clear away
Sepia, sepiae = secretion used as ink
For general contractors
Facio = have built, made, construct, create, work
Opera, operae, operatus = aid, service, care, pay attention, devote oneself
Factura = creation, handiwork, performance, work
Convo = short for “convorro,” meaning sweep, brush, clear
Caelo = carve, engrave, emboss
Sculpo, sculptus = carve, engrave
For carpet or upholstery services
Depso = knead, soften
Faber = of craftsman, worksman, artisan
Now you have a good idea of where to start and what to do. But as always, if you have any questions, call homeyou support at 1-844-HOMEYOU and we’ll do our best to help you!
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