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How to Come Up with a Business Name

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Come Up with a Business Name

What’s in a name?” Shakespeare famously pondered, but in the business world, the answer is straightforward: everything.

Did you know that 77% of consumers make purchases based on a brand name alone? The challenge of finding the perfect name for your business is not just about branding — it’s about capturing the essence of your product, ethos, and mission within a few syllables.

In this article, we dive deep into the art and science of christening your venture. Expect insights into brainstorming techniques, pitfalls to avoid, and guidance on securing your desired name in a digital age. Dive in, and let’s find that name which resonates and sticks.

1. Choose a Name with Relevance

Your business name should be a mirror reflecting your brand’s core principles. Think of it as the first handshake with your customer; it should embody the essence of what you stand for.

Example: If you’re starting an organic beauty line, names like “NatureGlow” or “EcoChic” suggest natural ingredients and environmental consciousness.

A great business name can hint at a narrative or a deeper significance, giving customers a glimpse into the journey behind your brand or the problem you’re solving.

Example: The brand name “Nike” is derived from the Greek goddess of victory, suggesting triumph and athleticism.


  • Brainstorm with a clear vision. Jot down words related to your brand’s mission, products, or origin.
  • Step into your customers’ shoes. How would they feel or what would they think when they hear your brand name? Make it resonate.
  • Think like a branding manager. Your name is more than just a word; it’s the cornerstone of your brand’s identity. Choose wisely.

2. Keep It Simple

A straightforward name is easy to remember, effortless to spell, and quick to type. In today’s fast-paced world, consumers gravitate towards brands they can recall in a snap. A simple name ensures that your business remains top-of-mind, boosting brand recall and loyalty.

Example: Think of big brands like “Apple” or “Ford.” Their simplicity is a major factor in their widespread recognition.

Names that are hard to spell or pronounce can deter potential customers. They might struggle to search for your brand online or might feel unsure about mentioning it to peers. Ensure your business name rolls off the tongue and can be effortlessly shared.

Example: Instead of choosing a name like “PhthaloBlu,” opt for something more intuitive like “DeepBlue.”


  • Do the “shout test.” If you can shout your business name across a room and have someone understand and spell it correctly, it passes.
  • Avoid jargon. Industry-specific terms might alienate a broader audience. Aim for universal appeal.

3. Short and Unique

In an era dominated by hashtags, URLs, and social media handles, a concise business name has distinct advantages. Short names are punchy, memorable, and ideal for digital spaces where character counts are limited.

Example: Brands like “Uber” and “Ikea” are not only brief but also impactful, ensuring they linger in the consumer’s mind.

While it’s tempting to hop on industry trends, a unique name helps your brand stand out in a crowded marketplace. Your name should be a beacon, highlighting what sets you apart from the sea of similar-sounding competitors.

Example: In a world full of coffee shops named “BeanTown” or “Café Central,” a name like “Java Jive” brings a fresh twist.


  • Prioritize originality. Conduct thorough online searches and domain checks to ensure your desired name isn’t already taken.
  • Engage in wordplay. Combine words, play with spellings, or coin a term to give your brand a distinctive edge.
  • Stay nimble. In branding, agility often trumps length. Prioritize a name that’s swift to say and stays long in memory.

4. Get Feedback from Family and Friends

What sounds perfect in your head might resonate differently with others. Gathering feedback offers a multi-faceted view, allowing you to gauge the general appeal of your chosen name. Family and friends bring diverse backgrounds, experiences, and biases that can spotlight aspects of your name you might have overlooked.

Example: While you might see “SunKiss” as a perfect name for a tanning salon, a friend might point out its potential misinterpretation as a lip balm brand.

Relying solely on close circles for feedback can sometimes be misleading. They might be too polite to point out flaws or might not represent your target audience. It’s crucial to balance their insights with objective market research.

Example: Your family might love the name “TechieTalk” for a tech blog because it sounds cute, but your target tech-savvy audience might find it too casual.


  • Cast a wide net. Seek opinions from diverse age groups, professions, and cultural backgrounds to get a comprehensive view.
  • Stay objective. Remember that the goal is to find a name that appeals to your target audience, not just to your inner circle.
  • Avoid decision-by-committee. While feedback is vital, the final decision should align with your brand’s vision and strategy.

5. Look at Other Business Names in Your Industry

Examining the names of established businesses in your sector offers a roadmap of what works and what doesn’t. It provides insight into the naming conventions that resonate with your target audience and hints at the industry’s evolution.

Example: In the fintech world, names like “PayPal” and “Square” showcase how simplicity and clarity are favored.

While it’s essential to draw inspiration from successful brands, there’s a thin boundary between being inspired and directly copying. Your business deserves its own identity, so use industry benchmarks as a guide, not a template.

Example: Admiring “Starbucks” for its global coffee appeal is fine, but naming your café “StarBeans” crosses into imitation territory.

While trends offer a glimpse into what’s popular, they can also become overused clichés. Identifying these trends allows you to either innovate on them or steer clear to maintain originality

Example: Many tech startups have names ending in “-ly” (e.g., “Bitly”, “Weebly”). If you’re starting a tech firm, you might either evolve this trend or choose a different approach to stand out.


  • Maintain a competitor name list. It helps in understanding the naming landscape and ensuring you don’t inadvertently replicate.
  • Aim for longevity. Trends fade, but your business name will stay. Opt for names that withstand passing fads.
  • Be self-aware. Understand the line between drawing inspiration and veering into imitation. Always lean towards originality.

6. Research and Legality

Check Your State’s Business Name Regulations

Before finalizing a name, it’s crucial to be well-versed in your state’s specific guidelines and restrictions regarding business naming.

Different states have different rules. Some might prohibit certain words or require the inclusion of specific terms depending on the business structure. For an LLC you must include “LLC,” “limited liability company”, or “limited liability”, in the name.

Example: In many states, words like “Bank” or “Insurance” might be restricted unless you have the appropriate licenses.

Understanding DBA (Doing Business As)

If you’re operating under a name different from your legal business name, you might need to register a DBA, also known as a fictitious name or trade name. This registration allows the public to know the real owner behind a business name. Requirements for DBA registration vary by state, so check with your local jurisdiction.

Understanding Trademarks

A trademark protects your business name at a federal level, ensuring no other entity can use it in a way that might cause confusion among consumers.

Check Name Availability with Your State

Once you’ve shortlisted a few names, ensure they’re available in your state and aren’t already taken by another business.

Most states offer an online business name search feature through their Secretary of State’s website. This tool allows you to quickly verify if your desired name (or a confusingly similar one) is already in use.

Example: If you’re considering “BriteTech” for your IT firm, you’d want to ensure there’s no “BrightTech” already registered.

A unique name not only helps in brand differentiation but is also often a legal necessity. Two businesses operating under similar names can cause confusion, leading to potential legal disputes.


  • Start with your state’s official website. It’s the primary source for understanding naming regulations and checking availability.
  • Consider a professional review. Sometimes, hiring an attorney or using a business registration service can help ensure you’ve covered all legal bases.
  • Think beyond the state. If you plan to expand nationally or even globally, it might be worth checking name availability in other jurisdictions and considering a trademark.

For those looking to ensure their desired business name is available across the U.S., we’ve made the process easier for you. Below, you’ll find links to conduct name searches for all 50 states. By using these resources, you can confidently check the availability of your chosen name in each jurisdiction.

7. Online Tools and Resources

Use Business Name Generator

In the digital age, there’s an app or tool for almost everything, including generating business names. These generators often combine keywords, industry trends, and creativity to suggest names that might resonate with your business.

Our Business Name Generator is designed with entrepreneurs in mind. To use it:

  1. Enter keywords related to your business.
  2. Click ‘Generate.’ Within seconds, you’ll be presented with a curated list of potential names, each crafted based on current market trends and your input.

Check Domain and Social Media Availability

In today’s interconnected world, your online footprint is as vital as your physical presence. Having a cohesive name across your website and social platforms ensures brand consistency.

Your website and social media channels are often the first touchpoints customers have with your brand. A cohesive and easily searchable name reinforces brand recall and trust.

Before settling on a name, ensure that the corresponding domain and social handles are available. Our Domain Name Checker tool simplifies this process:

  1. Enter your prospective business name (keywords).
  2. Click ‘Generate’. Our tool will instantly scan domain registrars, ensuring your desired domain name is free and ready to be secured.


  • Align offline and online. Your business name and domain should ideally be identical or very similar for easy searchability.
  • Consider domain extensions. While .com is popular, there are numerous other extensions like .net, .org, or industry-specific ones like .tech or .design.
  • Secure social handles early. Even if you’re not planning to be active on all platforms immediately, reserve your business name to prevent others from taking it.

8. Use Keywords to Boost SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a pivotal role in the digital era. A well-optimized business name can significantly improve your visibility on search engines, driving organic traffic to your site and enhancing your brand’s online presence.

Example: A company offering eco-friendly travel packages might benefit from including terms like “green,” “eco,” or “sustainable” in their name.

Selecting the right keyword isn’t about plucking popular industry terms; it’s about understanding what your potential customers might type into search engines.

  1. Market Research: Begin with understanding your audience. What are their concerns, preferences, and how do they search for services or products similar to yours?
  2. Competitor Analysis: Look at businesses in your industry. What keywords are they targeting? While you don’t want to imitate, this can offer insights into industry standards.
  3. Use Keyword Tools: Platforms like Google’s Keyword Planner or SEMrush can provide a list of keywords related to your business. These tools show search volume, competition, and even suggest alternatives.


  • Aim for relevance. Your business name’s keyword should be inherently related to what you offer. Don’t force-fit popular terms if they don’t align with your brand.
  • Consider long-tail keywords. These are longer phrases that might be less competitive and can narrow down the specificity of your offering.
  • Balance is key. While keywords can boost SEO, ensure your business name still sounds organic and appealing to potential customers.

9. Appeal to Emotions

Names are more than mere identifiers; they’re powerful emotional triggers. The right name can evoke feelings, memories, or aspirations, deeply connecting your brand to its audience. Psychological studies have shown that emotionally charged names often foster greater brand loyalty and can even influence purchasing decisions.

Example: A name like “ComfortCove” for a furniture store instantly evokes feelings of relaxation and coziness.

To ensure your business name strikes an emotional chord:

  1. Understand Your Audience: Dive deep into your target demographic’s preferences, values, and aspirations. A brand catering to adventure enthusiasts will have a different emotional appeal than one targeting luxury aficionados.
  2. Evoke Positive Emotions: Names that induce positive feelings (like happiness, nostalgia, or inspiration) are likely to be more memorable and favorably received.
  3. Tell a Story: Consider crafting a name that tells a story or evokes a journey. This narrative aspect can create a deeper connection between your brand and its audience.

Example: “EverestEats” for a high-quality, organic food brand not only indicates top-notch quality (like the peak of Everest) but also appeals to those seeking the pinnacle of healthy eating.


  • Avoid Negative Connotations: Ensure that the name doesn’t have unintended negative meanings, especially in different cultures or languages.
  • Test Emotional Impact: Before finalizing, test the name with a sample of your target audience. Gauge their emotional reaction to ensure it aligns with your brand’s intended sentiment.
  • Be Genuine: Authenticity is key. Ensure that the emotions you’re trying to evoke genuinely align with your brand’s values and offerings.

10. Future-proof Your Name

The business world is ever-evolving, and so are trends, technologies, and cultural nuances. A name that’s trendy and relevant today might not stand the test of time. For instance, incorporating very current slang or tech terms might seem cutting-edge now, but they could pigeonhole or date your business in the future.

Example: Naming a tech store “CDWorld” in the 90s might have been apt, but with the advent of digital streaming, such a name would seem archaic today.

Your business might grow, diversify, or even pivot entirely. It’s crucial to select a name that offers some flexibility and doesn’t restrict you to a particular niche or geography.

  1. Avoid Being Too Specific: If you sell only “woolen hats” now, naming your brand “WoolenHatHaven” might seem apt. However, if you decide to expand into other apparel, the name might be limiting.
  2. Steer Clear of Geographic Limitations: Using specific city or region names can be a great way to showcase local pride, but it can be limiting if you plan to expand. “DenverDeli” might be perfect for a local eatery, but it may not resonate as well if you expand to Salt Lake City.


  • Think Big Picture: While it’s essential to reflect your current business, always have an eye on where you might be 5 or 10 years down the line.
  • Seek External Input: Sometimes, an outsider’s perspective can shed light on potential future restrictions you hadn’t considered.
  • Embrace Flexibility: The future is unpredictable. Choosing a somewhat broad or versatile name might give you the wiggle room needed for unforeseen shifts in strategy or offerings.

The Importance of a Good Business Name

A business name isn’t just an identifier; it’s the cornerstone of your brand’s identity, acting as the first touchpoint with customers and setting the tone for their expectations.

In today’s competitive marketplace, having a name that resonates can be the difference between obscurity and recognition. Good names evoke emotion, are memorable, and can even influence purchasing decisions. They are SEO-friendly, allowing for better online visibility, and are crafted with the future in mind, ensuring they don’t become outdated or limiting.

Furthermore, in an interconnected world, a cohesive name across offline and online platforms ensures consistent brand recognition. So, when selecting a name for your venture, delve deep into its emotional appeal, ensure it’s future-proof, SEO-optimized, and resonates with your target audience. Your business’s success might just hinge on that choice.

While products, strategies, and marketing campaigns play pivotal roles in a business’s success, never underestimate the power of a good name. It’s the foundational element of your brand, influencing perceptions, emotions, and decisions. So, take the time, do the research, and choose wisely.


  1. Crystal Verrine says:

    I am trying to start my own business because I love helping and assisting adult and I need help on how to start assisted living and how I get my individuals I work in a group home now and been doing it for over 18 years with different company and I want to open up my own.

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How to Come Up with a Business Name