32 Expert Tips for Generating Business Name Ideas
A business starts with an idea, and right after that comes a name. So choosing the right moniker for your company is no small fete. Maybe you want to keep it simple by using your name along with a word that relates to the industry you work in, or you want to come up with something totally new and exciting. Either way, we’re here to help! Below are 32 expert tips for generating business names ideas. We hope this helps you get the creative juices flowing–you’ll have a business name in no time!
- Make sure you can get the domain name
Almost as important as the name, is making sure that name can live online. Check your favorite domain/hosting site to see if your name is available. Even if .com isn’t available, you might be able to get a different url extension–just make sure it’s what you actually want.
- Make sure you can get the trademark
It’s no good if the business name you want is already trademarked, so check it here first. If it’s available, that’s great! You also might want to consider trademarking it yourself so someone else can’t use it.
- Misspell with different vowels
If you’re not a spelling stickler, we love the idea of mispelling your business name using different vowels. For example, use “y” instead of “i” so instead of Nitro try Nytro or even Nyytro. You could even try removing vowels from a word such as Awesome to Awsme.
- Explore puns
If you read our blog, you know Custom Ink loves a good pun. We call ourselves “Inkers” and our intranet the “Inkernet.” Punny business names are so fun—try swapping “property” to “proper tea.” We’d cheers to that!
- Build around mascots or symbols
If a mascot or symbol is your core identity, think of the words associated with that mascot. The more unique the mascot, the easier this will be. If something you love, like “tiger”, is too generic, get more specific, like “bengal.”
- Build around your core values
Core values are important for business, and they can tie right into your name. Do you focus on honestly, integrity, and partnership? Bring those into your name like “X Partners” or “Honest Ventures.”
- Explore all synonyms
Kind of like writing that term paper in high school, but better! Use a synonym generator and expand beyond your initial group of keywords. Just make sure the word you choose still embodies the identity of your company.
- Think laterally or perpendicularly
Custom Ink is a good example since we don’t sell ink, per say. But it works! And it contains “custom” which is still a critical piece of “custom t-shirts.” Think about what your company does or the products it uses, and use those for inspiration.
- Pivot from the obvious
Say you are a DNA coding lab and everything around the double helix is taken. How about “Triple Helix” where the third element is your company and people? Think about what you do, then add what you bring to the table.
- Combine core identity & value prop words
Mix it up–literally! Combine words from your identity or values, for example, Hydraulics+Diagnostics=Hydrostics. This is a great way to come up with a unique name, and you can even play with adding or subtracting letters and vowels like we talked about in #3.
- Combine or use founders’ names
If you like your name, use it! This is especially popular in law and finance, but depending on your name or your partners’ names, you might have lots of options. Combine them with an identifying term at the end such as “group,” “company,” or “studio.”
- Use metaphors to brainstorm
If you’re drawing a blank, think about what your business symbolizes. For example, Safari, a common Internet browser, helps you explore, but on the Internet. Take what your company does and use a symbolic word for your name.
- Use similes to brainstorm
We’re taking you back to elementary school English here–a simile is a figure of speech that compares two different things in a descriptive way. Think “cute as a button” or “happy as a clam.” Maybe you won’t end up using this full phrase, but it could inspire you to use one of the words as your company name.
- Explore acronyms for longer, more complex concepts
An acronym is an abbreviation formed from the first letter of each word in a series. Common examples are ASAP–as soon as possible or even text lingo like LOL–laughing out loud. If your business has a longer name such as Hometown Organic Produce, name it HOP!
- Spell words backwards
You don’t need a palindrome–something that’s spelled the same way forwards and backwards, like “kayak”–to make this a word. You can create a totally new word using what you have. Is your last name Jones but it feels too generic? Use Senoj Co. for your company name. It’s sure to keep people guessing!
- Explore industry jargon
All industries have different jargon words, but we’re sure you’ve heard a lot of them. “In the loop” or “flesh it out” are a couple of examples. Think about terms you use often in your business and use that to inspire your business name.
- Look back in history
To move your business into the future, look back! Are there historical figures or events you can use to inspire your business name? If you work in carpentry, think about Noah, who built the ark. Or if you work in the travel space, thing of historical travelers like Magellan or the ship Santa María.
- Think about different languages
Latin is a great example here, but you can use any language you love to come up with a unique name. Let’s say you work in the home goods or real estate space. “Domun” means home or house in Latin. What a great name! Try it out with your own and see what different names you can find.
- Explore mythology
From Greek gods to creatures like unicorns, there’s many ways to bring the mythical into your business name. One of the most common is Nike–the Greek goddess of victory. Take what your company does and see if there’s a mythological creature that focused on the same.
- Turn to space and astronomy
Are stars, galaxies, or constellations a fit for your company? This kind of name is everywhere, from Milky Way bars to Mercury and Saturn cars. Dive deeper into the skies to see if there’s a fit out there for you.
- Explore legends
Who doesn’t love a good legend? Think Troy and the Trojan horse, or Atlantis. Does any folklore or historical story relate to you and your business? Let it inspire your name. Starbucks did just that–inspired by Moby Dick.
- Make it geographical
Bring your name close to home and Include the neighborhood or city where you live and work. It can be as simple as “Downtown Dessert Shoppe” or “South End Handymen.” If your city has a symbol like “The Big Apple” or “The Windy City,” use those tropes for inspiration as well.
- Do keyword research
When in doubt, trust the robots. Software can help you do keyword research to make sure you include an important keyword for search engine optimization reasons. Keyword research can help you choose a name that will be more popular in searches, making it easier for potential customers to find you.
- Use associations
What does your industry or company associate with? If you run a skincare business, you associate with health and dermatology. Or maybe you’re in the lighting business, which relates to energy and power. Use these associations and words to inspire your name–it could even help customers better understand your breadth of offerings.
- Use glossaries from industry publications
Do you ever read industry publications and not know certain words or terms? Use them to inspire your company name! Think of it like using a word from another language, but in this case, it directly relates to what you do. Some examples are words like “offprint” or “pica” if you work in publishing or editing. You can use these unique terms to your advantage in any industry.
- Explore words that exude abundance
From Pandora being an ode to Pandora’s Box and Google being a reference to googolplex, using words that imply your company’s abundance is a great way to make your business stand out. Think about things that are full and vast, like oceans, space, or even a cup that runneth over.
- Use words that exude exclusivity
You can also take the opposite approach from abundance for a more narrow niche product, or a product that is meant to make people feel exclusive or special. You’ve probably seen companies before that imply this through words like “VIP” and “reserve.”
- Focus on the customer
If your focus is on your customers, use language to enforce that idea. Words like my, you, your, we, ours, can help explain your business and what it does for others. “My” in a name puts the power in the users hands, or “our” implies that you’re here to work with them through and through.
- Play with adjectives
Is your company dazzling, lively, colossal, or beautiful? Adjectives can help you hone in on your name or discover a word that fits the bill. Think “Dazzling Diamonds” for your jewelry store or even be more playful like “Beguiling Brewhouse.”
- Play with verbs
Be, feel, find, move, talk–what will verbs tell you about your brand? Whether it’s what you do or how you treat your customers, your business is full of action, so bring it into your name. You can keep it simple like “Goods on the Move” for your delivery service, or get even more creative like “Gobbled Greens” for your salad shop or farmstand.
- Think ironically
“Nameless” and “A Working Title” are examples of ironic business names. We’d say this is generally only fitting for creative products rather than more utilitarian products, but it can really work in some instances.
- Invent a new word altogether
Language is meant to change and evolve. Ginormous wasn’t even a word 20 years ago, and yet it was so obvious what it meant, people made it a word. Think about what your company does and build on that–you could come up with the next “Google it.”
We hope these tips and tricks inspired you for your business name. What’s your favorite way to brainstorm ideas for your company? Tell us about it in the comments below!