Getting your small business’ name right is important – it creates a first impression of your business, and you won’t get many chances to change it later. Here are 15 of our top guidelines for choosing a strong small business name.
- Keep the small business name memorable.
- Keep the business name as short as possible.
- Be creative, but not so wacky that your audience will get confused.
- Allow room for future growth.
- Use synonyms or words starting with the same letters to find something catchy.
- Go online to search – try trademark searches, a Nuans name search, or even get ideas from a business name generator like the one created by Shopify.
- You may not be able to get a .com of your exact name, but look for alternatives like .ca and .net. You can also get a descriptive URL, such as waveapps.com.
- Look for a name that you can use consistently across various social media platforms – you may need to add a descriptive word here too, like with the URL example above.
- Stay away from restricted small business names – names that are too similar to existing businesses, are considered obscene or inappropriate, or suggest a connection with the Royal Family or the government.
- Choose a name that evokes the feeling of your brand.
- Think of a name that will distinguish you from competitors in your industry.
- Decide how much the name will describe your product or service. This doesn’t have to necessarily be right in the company name – it could always be used as a tagline or catchy phrase.
- Think of some distinguishing names that could work for your business and write them down. Don’t second-guess yourself – get creative!
- Take some time away from your list of potential names and focus on something else for a while.
- After some time, return to your list and start the process of elimination.
Real business name examples
Here are some examples how of real-world businesses got their names.
Nike – Nike is the Greek goddess of victory, ideal for a business so focused on athletic apparel! Interestingly, the brand started out as “Blue Ribbon Sports.” Not terrible, but Nike is certainly more impactful.
Google – A “googol” is an obscure math term that refers to the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes, which suggests the large amount of information available to users of the search engine. The name of the business is a serendipitous misspelling of “googol.”
Marimekko – The Finnish clothing, textiles, and decor brand got its name from the middle name of its cofounder (Maria) and the Finnish word for dress (“mekko”).
BlackBerry – When the company was still called Research in Motion, they brought out their soon-to-be famous BlackBerry device, named because of the way the keyboard’s buttons looked like a blackberry.