Five Tips For Naming Your Business


Rachel Marks, Day 222/365 I is for Idea, September 17, 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons License

When big corporations decide to start a new business endeavor, they often hire expensive consultants to help them select the right name. When you’re starting a business on your own, that expensive consultant probably isn’t in your budget. Still, you want to make sure your brand has a name that is unique and memorable. Fortunately, naming a business isn’t as hard as it sounds. Here are few tips to get you started:

  1. Dare to be different. If your name sounds like those of your competitors, how will you stand out? Closely review your biggest competitors’ names and do your best to select a name for your brand that sounds fresh and original.
  2. Avoid meaningless, generic names. Acronyms like BASF and last name mash-ups like Archer-Daniels-Midland aren’t particularly memorable. If you want customers to remember your brand, help them by picking an interesting name.
  3. Easy on the etymology. Researching the history of words can sometimes yield some creative brand names, but make sure people will easily make the connection. For example, naming your new lighting company Lumin will make sense to people because they know what illumination is.
  4. Make sure it sounds good when you say it aloud. People will be saying your brand name in conversation and perhaps even on radio or TV. Be sure your name is easy to pronounce and easy to say. Don’t burden people with a tongue-twister brand name.
  5. Make sure you can trademark the name. If you have national or global aspirations for your company in the future, it pays to make sure your name can be trademarked now. Use websites like and to check the availability of your top choices.

Finally, here’s a bonus tip: if you’re having trouble brainstorming names by yourself, invite others to help you. Crowd-sourcing can help you figure out how customers without intimate knowledge of your brand might respond to your name.

Don’t be intimidated by the fact that you don’t have a fancy consultant to help you name your new business. You can easily do it yourself. Just remember, you can’t change the name if you get tired of it. Make sure it’s something you absolutely love from the very beginning.

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