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The big question is “how do you choose a great business name in the first place?” That's definitely why you're on this page, so we're here to help you out.
Our free business name generator is an excellent tool for guiding you to a brandable, relevant, high-potential business name that you can be proud of for years to come. But there's also some manual work required, considering you still have to provide keywords that make sense for your business.
In this following sections, we cover the best practices for choosing a business name. This way, you'll have an easier time thinking of keywords to use in the business name generator, and you'll find it a smoother process when having to choose and throw away some of the suggestions.
1. Conduct Thorough Audience Research
Audience research forms the basis of any successful business, so it makes sense to utilize this tactic when thinking about your business name as well. You're essential completing two tasks in one, since you need audience research for product development, and it can also go into your business name selection.
In short, we recommend developing customer personas, or profiles that make up what you can expect from your most common customers. These customer profiles take a detailed look at your average customer, factoring in elements like age, gender, lifestyle, profession, and spending. You can even go deeper and look at their habits, frustrations, and romantic life—whatever helps you establish the right type of profile.
With solid audience research (from competitor analysis, surveys, speculation, and search engine research), you're able to create an accurate customer persona/profile. This gives you a basis for your company name, as well as the direction of your business development. For instance, you can now figure out what type of business name would appeal to a customer persona—like an outdoorsy yet professional name for a company that caters to young professionals who enjoy camping.
2. Think of Creative, Catchy Words to Incorporate in Your Business Name
Now's the time to make a long list of words that you might use in the future for business names. Use a dictionary. Take it to the next level with a thesaurus. When you hear an interesting word, write it down. All of these words are just waiting for the moment you create a business. Then you can type them all into the business name generator.
3. Take Note from the Competition to Stick With What's Known in the Industry
Although you want to stand out with a unique business name, getting too outlandish could make your business seem like something it isn't. The same goes for business names that make your brand sound like it's from a different industry. Complete some competitor research and write down the elements of their business names that they all have in common. Begin planning your own business name with those commonalities in mind.
4. Make Sure the Name Isn't Already Taken (Or Too Similar to Another Brand)
To avoid legal troubles, always use business names that aren't already taken. You should also prevent confusion (and legal problems) by cutting potential business names that sound or look like a brand that's already in existence. Use domain search tools and search engines to scour the internet for your business name before committing to anything.
5. Keep it Short and Simple
Can people pronounce and write the business name? Is it under three words? Better yet, can you turn it into one word? The most memorable names, whether for books, songs, or companies, often have one word. That's not a requirement, but you should do your best to get to the point and make it so that people don't have to think hard about your business name.
6. Make the Name Brandable
There are so many other elements of your business that go into branding than just a business name. A great business name is one that fits well into branding materials and designs. While thinking of a name, consider making mock logos and other designs to see if the name looks good. Is it too long to fit at the top of a website? Does the domain name look silly? Does the name not quite fit with the colors you plan on using?
Things to Avoid When Picking a Business Name
Bad business names often result from misguided brainstorming sessions where the name creators start thinking too hard aboutr how to make the name unique. At the end of the day, it's just a business name; when you make a business sound like a philosophical journey, or like an intimidating cause/mission, you miss the point of a business name in the first place. It's supposed to be welcoming, but also communicate what your business does, all without confusing customers along the way.
Although we mainly like focusing on the positives, it's important to understand the types of approaches to avoid when establishing a business name:
- Avoid play on words: Puns often come off as too silly, annoying, or like the company is trying too hard. Even whimsical brands should convey some hint of professionalism in their business names.
- Don't use a name that's already too similar to another company (or recognizable name): Picking Amazin or Microsolo or Capital Two as your business name not only brings about potential legal issues, but you're also bound to confuse customers. You should also disregard recognizable names from everyday culture. For instance, a company called MJ's Apparel may make it seem like Michael Jordan is behind the project.
- Don't get too focused on including your personal name, hobbies, or personal preferences in the business name: Future customers don't care about any of this, and you're only limiting your creative potential when setting up a business name.
- Don't make highly specific names (especially for holding companies): There are two reasons for avoiding extremely specific names. First, more generic names are easier for customers to understand. Second, it's easier to shift the focus of your company with general names. For instance, Apple's name provides all sorts of flexibility even though they could have called it something like Two Steves or Personal Computers R Us. Eventually both “Steve” founders left, and Apple makes much more than just personal computers today.
- Don't forget to research the name and get feedback: It may take someone else hearing the name to point out something unappealing about it.
- Don't completely eliminate the idea of adding local information: Bayside Apparel is a global clothing brand even though the name specifically refers to California. Sometimes locations evoke desirable emotions, or they can show authenticity.
- Avoid names that people can't spell or pronounce easily: There are some successful companies with terribly unpronounceable or writable names; don't be like them. You want to be memorable without causing confusion.
- Think twice about unusual spellings of common words: Toys R Us and Tumblr found success, but there's a fine line between standing out with a quick misspelling and making it extremely difficult to brand your business. Misspellings are all the rage in Silicon Valley, but you set yourself up for customers typing in the name wrong, search engines having trouble picking it up, and having a tough time with keyword optimization in general.
What Makes a Great Business Name?
We're glad you asked. You already know what to avoid when generating a solid business name, but what are the elements that go into a name that's bound for success?
- Distinction: Strong brand names differentiate from other industries as much as they stand out from the businesses inside their market. You don't want to sound so generic that people don't understand what type of business you're running.
- Memorability: Make it simple, easy to pronounce, and just mysterious enough that people want to learn more. It helps if there's a story behind the name as well.
- Authenticity: As perhaps the most important part of your business name, authenticity means that your business name represents the company's goals, core values, and overall mission. You don't have to describe what you do, but an oil company with “Green” in the name is probably the opposite of authentic.
- Flexibility: A strong business name allows you to expand into new markets and explore new product lines. Don't force your company to only make one type of product just because of the business name.
- Defensible: You want a business name that you're able to use for business no matter where you expand to. A word that's completely fine in one country may mean something different in another. You also want to get full legal rights to your business name, domain name, and every other branding aspect so as not to have any legal troubles in the future.
Popular Business Names to Give You Inspiration
The most popular brands in the world often have several elements in their business names that are bound to make them stand out. On average, we tend to see successful businesses use a combination of creativity, simplicity, slightly deeper meaning, and even some mystery to make newcomers wonder what the brand is all about.
To stir up your creativity, here are some examples of short, simple, and intriguing business names from real world brands:
- Candy Crush
- National Geographic
- Red Bull
- Zero Water
- Dollar Shave Club
- The Boring Company
- Brave Browser
- Pep Boys
What is a Business Name Generator?
A business name generator (like the one on this page) takes various inputs—like related words, products, and industries—and uses algorithmic logic to compile a list of potential names for a new business. Business name generators also have built-in features that try to provide business names that are logical, catchy, and still available.
I'm Not That Creative. How Can I Make a Catchy Business Name?
That's okay! It all starts with a list of words. Make a document and list every word that comes to mind when thinking about your business. Jot down products, inspirations, locations, industries, and even the breed of the office dog. Then, put those words into the business name generator to see what comes out. After that, you can pick the ones you like the best, test them for viability, and end up with a name that reflects the entirety of your brand!
With All the Business Names in the World, How Can I Make Mine Unique?
By using the right tools, researching, and testing. Begin with the business name generator for raw ideas, then take the ones you enjoy and check to see if they're unique enough from other businesses. After that, you must test to see which business names people actually like, the ones that have some mystery or story behind them. That's when you use surveys, questionnaires, and trial runs.
Should I Use My Own Name for My Business?
It's not entirely out of the question, but there is one big problem with using a person's name: it makes your business sound like a local mom-and-pop establishment. And for some businesses, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that! But we don't see that many global brands with names like Steve, Mark, or Susan included. Not to mention, personal names tend to come off as a little generic.
Will the Name Make My Business Successful?
Not by itself, but spending a considerable amount of time devising a great name is a wonderful way to start your business.
Does This Business Name Generator Cost Anything?
No, our business name generator is completely free to use.