As a fresh new business on the block, you’re faced with many major and minor challenges, from getting the capital for your business to choosing the right storefront. One thing that people might overlook, but that is certainly important to consider, is what you will call your company.
Think about the idiom “it’s all in the name”, and you’ll understand exactly why the business naming process is a vital step on your entrepreneurship or ownership journey. Your new business name defines what your brand is about, your branding and feel, and so much more.
In this business naming guide, you will understand what makes good company name ideas, look at different naming options and creative company name ideas, learn how to come up with the perfect business name (including an available domain), and find out more about the best business name generators.
What makes a great business name?
It all depends on your business and its aims, your industry, and what you want others to feel from the name you pick. Branding experts know that a fantastic name choice can influence your position in the marketplace or your industry.
You want to avoid any language or phrases that make this position appear inferior to your competitors. For example, creating a name that describes your company as ‘second’ or ‘new’ can make customers perceive your business as second-best or inexperienced.
You also want the name to be memorable, something creative that will be easy to remember. The unique business names are the ones that will stick in potential customers’ minds. And, of course, you want your customers to remember you so that they can come back in future and tell others all about your business without struggling to fish in their memory for the name.
Finally, you want a relevant name that’s SEO-friendly, showing up easily to search engine algorithms.
7 types of business names
A descriptive brand name directly references the product or service that the business offers or the industry to which the company belongs. Essentially, it describes exactly what the company provides.
Generally, names like these are quite functional and pragmatic, not entirely creative or catchy. Due to this, such explanatory names may require a unique tagline to grab others’ attention. So, there is a trade-off between customers knowing exactly what your brand has to offer and a creative and unique name.
A few examples of existing companies with descriptive names are:
- Toys R Us
- General Motors
- American Airlines
Unlike descriptive names for your business, expressive or suggestive names are more about giving your target audience the feel of your brand.
For example, if you are a creator of opulent or luxury vehicles, you may want your company name to sound, well, expensive. Consider companies like Lexus. It sounds quite sophisticated and chic.
Expressive names are evocative, conveying a message, mood, or meaning. They are open for interpretation and metaphorical, which means they allow for business expansion as they do not limit your brand to one product.
These name types also leave room for your brand to develop and nurture a diverse and complex brand identity and image adaptable with the times.
Consider brand names like Nike, Amazon, Uber, Apple, and Virgin when thinking about this brand name.
Expressive names can come from existing English words, as in the case of Apple or Virgin. However, you can also devise or create a whole new word. Again, let’s look at the company Lexus. This is not an existing word. Rather, it is a word created by the company implying a luxurious and technological image.
You can really get creative with a devised business name. You’re not limited at all! You can combine two existing words to create a new one, as in many social media platforms like WhatsApp and Snapchat.
These are some really fantastic made-up business names:
You can also consider playing with linguistic elements like alliteration, onomatopoeia, puns, popular terms, altered spellings, and more. Experiment with incorporating foreign languages into the name as LEGO does, named after the Danish term leg godt meaning ‘play well.
This form of business name creation is quite popular, and playing with words is a clever way to use language and terms that people are already familiar with. This type of naming is also quite similar to devised naming as it is about getting creative and constructing something new. These are examples of effective and well-known linguistic brand names:
- Krispy Kreme
This is another quite practical or pragmatic naming type.
If an organisation is closely connected to a particular location—for example, it was founded there or functioned primarily in that region—it might then include that geographical element in the name.
Even once that company is no longer a small business and has expanded into other regions, it may opt to keep the name as the brand is connected to the culture and history of that place.
Good examples of this include:
- Kentucky Fried Chicken
- American Airlines
- American Express
Let’s refer back to Lexus again. Most people might not be aware that Lexus is an acronym for the phrase ‘luxury exports to the US. Even Kentucky Fried Chicken is popularly called KFC. These are examples of acronymic names.
Others that are quite well known are:
Although acronyms are quite popular when it comes to naming, if not used well, they can feel sterile and meaningless—devoid of emotion and personality.
7. People’s names
The last type of business name to consider is the naming of a company after a person (usually the founder). Founder business names or eponymous names can make your business stand out, particularly if the name is unusual.
You can also reap the benefits of the founder’s reputation if they already have a popular and respectable public image, as in the Oprah Winfrey Network.
These types of names also give the brand personality and humanity at times, and they can be particularly effective for domestic or food products or brands. Some eponymous brand names you probably know include:
- Ralph Lauren
- Tommy Hilfiger
Now that you have an idea of what’s possible when it comes to the types of names you can choose, here’s a step-by-step guide of how you can create a name for your new startup!
How to come up with the perfect catchy name for your new business
Step 1: Research
It’s important to read up more on the kinds of names that work well in your business niche. For example, if you’re in the tech or gadgets industry, you may want to go for something abstract or more expressive, like Apple or Huawei. Doing research will give you some ideas and get your creative juices flowing.
Step 2: Define your business goals.
It would help if you decided what the aims of your business are. Your business name is an important aspect of your branding and brand story, and you want to make sure it gives off the right type of energy.
When defining your goals, you must also consider where you want your business to end up. For example, if you want to expand into a range of different products, a more evocative name allows for this expansion. Thus, you must know what you want for your business and how you want your name to convey this.
Step 3: Brainstorm
Now you can start brainstorming and collaborating with your creative team a little bit. Think about adjectives, nouns, and emotive words that you feel relate to your business and goals. Try words that relate to your products, too. And try words and phrases that convey imagery. You need to be open in this step and list all the words and names that come up.
Step 4: Make a shortlist
From your original list, you’ll have to chip some away to create a shortlist. Perhaps aim for a top 20, then wean these down to ten, and finally settle on about three to five. Cut out difficult or unmemorable names and keep names that are easy to remember, catchy, relevant, and convenient for branding.
Step 5: Try them out.
With your three to five names chosen, find methods to test how people respond to each name. Perhaps you could create a digital survey that you can share with potential clients and customers or other people in your industry. Ask clear and direct questions like what do you think about when you hear this name? What product would you think this business sells?
From the feedback you get and your feelings about your shortlist, you can now choose your name.
Step 6: Check availability
But… you’re not done yet! You still have to check if that name is available for use. You need to conduct a business name search to check name availability, and you also need to make sure the name is available to use for trademark registration.
It is also important to ensure that it is available as a domain name on GoDaddy.com, a platform to help you find a .com domain for your business.
List of some creative business names by industry to inspire you
- Video Noir
Design & creative
- Gorilla Mould
- OpenDoor Print
- Go Checkout
Food or restaurant
- The Good Sizzle
- Hunta Gathara
Top business name generators
You don’t have to get completely overwhelmed during this creative process. You can also utilise a company name generator to help you come up with your new name. Some fantastic brand name generators include:
- Business Name Generator (BNG)
- Shopify Business Name Generator
Some of these platforms will also inform you of the name’s domain availability. They may also have pre-prepared name suggestions organised by industry with logo design capabilities as well.
How RingCentral could help your business
As a startup business, you have so many things to consider at the foundation of your organisation. With the tips above, the name creation guide, and the option to use business name generators, getting the naming of your business out of the way will be easy!
But you have so much more to sort out to have your new company ready to go.
RingCentral has a wonderful array of tools and digital solutions to help you out! With your fantastic new name, RingCentral helps you connect your business to the world. Our communications solutions cater to different devices, bringing your business’ connectivity to the technological 21st century.
Our cloud-based phone system is a multifunctional investment that will save your business from spending on a variety of tools. The system allows you to communicate in different ways via text, voice calls, fax, digital meetings, audio-conferencing, and more. You can also access the system from anywhere, as it brings together different devices – mobiles, laptops, telephones – that are all connected via the cloud to give you flexible and remote communication options.
RingCentral also has other solutions based on need or industry, with specific features that assist your company and meet your operational needs.
The benefits of using RingCentral for your business:
- Promotes flexibility
- Enables remote work and communication
- Reduces operational costs
- Low maintenance so you can focus your resources on other tasks
- Boosts productivity and organisation
- Enhances connectivity
- Improves communication
- Encourages collaboration
- Ensures easy accessibility amongst employees
- Elevates functionality using the cloud-based system
- Empowers communication with and from customers
No matter what the industry—from an online store or eCommerce site to artificial intelligence and real estate companies—RingCentral has amazing solutions that support vital business qualities like connectivity and collaboration, communication, and productivity. So, once you have your name all sorted, let us help you introduce your business to the world!
Originally published May 04, 2021, updated May 25, 2021