How to Come Up with a Good Business Name
The United States has 32.5 million small businesses and 21,139 large corporations, according to the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy. Every state requires all entities to have unique names that are duplicated, which can be a challenge.
A business name generator can help create an original name that fits the theme and brand of your business. Understanding what a business name generator is and how to use one can move your business along in the startup phase.
We’ve created a guide for developing a business name that can help your startup stand out among competitors and grow into a serious brand.
What makes a good business name?
- It embodies your brand
- It identifies with your industry
- It’s new and different
- It’s highly memorable
Steps to come up with a good business name
1. Brainstorm business-related words
Branding your business begins with choosing a name, so it makes sense to pick a name with branding in mind. The easiest way to get started is to write out words that you want to be associated with your business and your brand.
Most of these will be adjectives, but some may be nouns and verbs too. Write as many as you can think of because you can always narrow it down later.
2. Brainstorm company descriptors
Every new business does something different. What you do should be part of your creative business name. Write out words that will clearly identify what your business does and see how you can use them in your new business name.
3. Use a name generator
Name generators are a great way to create an original name with your best keywords. A business name generator can generate additional ideas or help you land on a perfect business name.
How do they work? You simply enter specific keywords that pertain to your type of business, target audience, or brand. The generator provides a list of ideas that can further your hunt for a great business name.
4. Try different combinations
Get creative. Use your lists and start putting various words together. Try mashups or a play on words. Try some alliteration names. You can also use your own name, which adds to your naming options.
Narrow down the combinations to five or six that you like and plan to run these unique business name ideas through business directories to check for availability.
5. Go to your Secretary of State site and research
You need to register your business with the state, but before you do, you have to make sure the name that you want is available.
The best place to start your research is with the Secretary of State’s website in your state.
You can search for the name that you have in mind. If the name already exists in the state, the business will appear in the directory. If it’s not listed, the business name is considered “available.”
Once you find an available option that you feel like is the right name for your company, you’ll register it with the state by filling to business formation documents.
How can a business name generator help?
- Great brainstorming tool
- Saves time
- Provides catchy name ideas
- Gives available names
- Can start your business off with good SEO keywords
- Can help you secure a domain name instantly
What should you do when you come up with a name you like?
If you find a name you like, secure it as soon as possible with these steps:
See if it’s available
As mentioned, you need to see if the name you want is available first. Go to the Secretary of State’s website and look for a business directory. Run a search for the name you want. If the search returns a business with the same name, it’s not available. State regulations prohibit two businesses from having the same name, so you’ll need to come up with a new name.
If it’s not listed in the directory, it’s available to use.
See if a matching domain name is available
Take a moment to look into domain name availability too. Ideally, your company’s domain will match its registered name. If the domain is taken, are you okay with using a domain that’s different than the name? You can use a domain name generator to find an alternative option.
What if a different domain extension is available?
Someone may be using your proposed name, but you might be able to get the name you want with a different extension like .org If that’s the case, should do you it?
Most businesses do go with the .com or .net extension. They’re more common and are seen as the professional choice for businesses.
However, there are businesses that have different extensions, so the choice is yours. Potential customers might not find your site though, as most people automatically assume the URL ends in .com or .net.
Run it through the paces
Choosing a business name isn’t as easy as it sounds. Not only must it be unique but it must meet other qualifications to work well for a business. This is where you evaluate it on several levels to see if the name you are proposing will work best for you.
Does it make sense?
The first and obvious aspect of a good business name is, does it make sense to use it with your business? Does it convey what your business does or produces? Will people understand it or will it confuse them?
A lot of businesses lose customers because the public doesn’t realize what it does or has it confused with another type of shop. Your potential customers should be able to look at your name and instantly know what you do.
Is it easy to say?
Another key element to choosing a good business name is to make sure it’s easy to say. Your own name may make your business name unique but will become problematic if it’s one people have trouble pronouncing.
The same problem could be with spelling. Those with long, complicated last names probably shouldn’t use them in their business name. People will try to look your business up online but will find it challenging because they can’t spell your name correctly.
Another aspect of that is trying to choose a business name with a unique spelling of a common word. Some people do this to distinguish their business from another business with a similar name or to be cute.
It doesn’t work well because people still will confuse the two businesses or will spell the name wrong while searching online. They could also mispronounce it too if the spelling is weird.
Can you grow with it?
Any business planning for longevity wants a name they can grow with. You need a scalable name that will work just as well for a large business expanding across several states as well as work for your startup now.
Is it memorable?
A good business name will be one people will remember. It is “sticky” in that it will stick in the minds of customers and potential customers. This becomes important as you continue with your branding, advertisements and building an online presence.
Part of what makes a business name “catchy” is how it sounds when you say it. Don’t just pick a name based on how it looks on paper. Sound it out to make sure it’s easy to say, easy to remember, and has that sticky quality to it.
Does it work for marketing?
Another question to ask is how will the name be used in branding? Will it look good on billboards, business cards, on flyers and other promotional material? It should be versatile enough that it translates to broadcast for videos and radio ads. It will also need to work for online advertising and podcasts.
Part of running through the paces of choosing a business name is to evaluate whether it will be easy to associate it with a logo, key phrases, and slogans.
The best advice for looking at business names is to keep it short and simple. People remember those best and they are the easiest to work with for branding and advertising.
Research its current use on Google
An important aspect of choosing a good business name isn’t just focusing on the name itself but how it or the words associated with it are currently being used. You want the words in your business name to have a positive influence.
A way to figure out how your proposed name is being portrayed is to search for it on Google. You may have already done that earlier but it pays to do a search several times as you narrow down your name selection to a more exact name.
Research social media too
Consider checking for social media handles too. Is your business name already on social media?
Many small businesses and solo entrepreneurs don’t have websites but do have social media pages, so it’s a good idea to search social channels too.
Searching social media for the name shows you how people use it on social. You can review posts, trending topics, and conversations to see how it’s portrayed.
Search your name and associated keywords in hashtags too. Some words may have negative contexts online. It’s best to know that before you start creating a brand identity.
Best business name generator tools to try
Online business name generators are free tools that are run by a simple search bar. You enter keywords and get company name ideas. Here are a few company name generators to try:
This is a free business name generator that can help you boost your creativity and find a name that’s available. The name suggestions it offers also include SEO suggestions for the best online rankings. Use Businessnamegenerator.net to get a list of names fit for any great brand.
This business name generator is listed as a top choice among marketing experts because it produces brandable business names for free. NameSnack finds unique names for any given industry based on one keyword that best represents your target niche.
Name generators generally include branding but Brandroot focuses on it. This is the one to use if you want a premium domain based on your name. The generator will produce a list of brand names for free, but then it offers you a chance to buy them.
Brand names cost you more than average name generation but these memorable, catchy names will increase your chances of success. The generator also allows you to mark those names you like, so it produces a more relevant list when you search again.
Shopify Business Name Generator
Most people know Shopify as an eCommerce platform as it’s the second most-known way to sell online. It also offers free eCommerce tools, which includes the Shopify Business Name Generator.
Its name generation is fast with Shopify claiming it’s averaging 10 seconds. Names it picks from your keyword are primarily two-word names. The tool then gives you the option to create an eCommerce store around the name selected with a few simple clicks.
Can I name my business for free?
Many business name generators offer free searches. The generator will produce a series of possible names based on keywords you choose. You will need to pay for a domain and to register the name with the state as a business.
How do you create a firm name?
Firm names can be a combination of the partners last names, acronyms or based on the geography of the business. Some firm names are mash-ups of those who started the business or products it produces.
What is the best business name generator?
A number of excellent business name generators are available online, but businessnamegenerator.net is a preferred choice. No matter which you choose, try to find one that offers a free search, SEO optimization, and domain name purchasing.
What is the best way to make a business name?
A business name can come about any number of ways. Some name businesses after family members. You may take inspiration from literature or a spin-off of a phrase or cliche you’ve always liked. A name generator is an excellent way to brainstorm selections if you are stuck without ideas.
How do I create a catchy business name?
Start by looking at businesses in your industry. Write out some catchphrases you like to see if they spur inspiration. Write out words that describe your product or service to see what fits. Use a business generator to help produce new ideas.
How do I choose a luxury brand name?
A luxury brand name is a name associated with high-end items. Think of all the high-end companies and their names. A luxury brand name is more elegant, simple, clean, powerful, and modern. Keep it short and create one that is scalable for your business.
How do I find out my state’s rules about business names?
Most states have guidelines for business name registration under corporations or business entity search on the Secretary of State’s website or a similar government business site. Almost all require a name to be original and unique to any other business in the state.
Why is optimization important for a business name?
Part of your branding will be your online presence. A good online presence with a high search engine ranking depends on optimization. A business name generator can pick names with the best optimization.