What Is a Business Name?
A business name is the legal name of your business, the one you use to register your activity, file paperwork, and issue invoices. Therefore, a business name has to be unique in your state. You need to verify that your chosen name isn’t already used before registering your business.
Why Is it Important to Choose a Good Business Name?
A good business name describes your activity best, builds consumers’ trust, and helps them remember you. It becomes a label that accompanies your activity through good times and bad times.
Initially, the business name was linked to the owner’s name, such as Ford. Everyone assumed the Ford Company would make good cars because he was a hardworking, serious, and inspired man. Nowadays, business names are no longer exclusively linked to the owner, but they are nevertheless inspiring, hoping to be associated with quality and trying to convey the company’s values.
Attributes of Great Business Names
So, what makes a good business name? A few attributes that may seem simple but go a long way:
- It is descriptive - As you just start your business, chances are the customers don’t know you. Thus, the business name should be descriptive enough to resume the activity of your business. Customers should know what products or services you offer from the business name. That’s why many business names include the field of activity, such as Industries, Consulting, Marketing, Technology, Design, etc.
- It reflects your mission - Although a business name is short, it’s good practice to include a hint of your most important values. A good business name informs the customer about your principles. For example, a jewelry designer may want to add the word ‘handmade’ to the business name, while a farmer may benefit from adding the word ‘sustainable’ or ‘ecological.’
- It’s short, catchy, and easy to remember – You want the customers to speak about it easily as they speak about Apple products, Starbucks coffee, and Kodak cameras. Especially in the beginning, the business name has to make people curious about your products. Of course, the name should align with the business’ values and culture. A toy company may prefer a fun name, but a skincare company may want to focus on results, lifestyle, or ingredients.
- It has good search engine results and an available domain – Nowadays, all businesses have an internet presence. If you choose a name with generic words already used by thousands of other businesses, your business won’t appear in top search engine results. But if you choose something with no meaning, no one will look for it. Thus, you need to do some research before naming your business.
In short, a good business name should be descriptive, representative, catchy, and searchable.
How to Name a Business?
Let’s put all the ingredients together. You need a descriptive name that reflects your business values and mission, is short, catchy, easy to remember, and has good searchability properties. It also has to match your target audience’s lifestyle and expectations. With that in mind, follow the next steps, and the best name for your business will come to you:
Step 1: Clarify (and write down) your business’ values, target audience, and goals. Focus on nouns and adjectives that may become a great source of inspiration later.
Step 2: List the words that describe your activity, products, or services. You may start from a broad category, such as the industry, and narrow down to specific terms.
Step 3: Find your style. Consider your target audience and their lifestyle, but also your personality. It’s time to decide whether you want a professional, trustworthy business name or a funky, glittery one.
Step 4: Look on the internet and research the searchability properties of the words and combinations of words you’ve come up with so far. If they are already intensively used by other companies, look for alternatives.
Step 5: Decide on a few business names that tell your story best and determine if they are available. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few iterations to find something that’s not already taken.
Tip: The expert team at HEIRLOOM AGENCY shares a different way to look at branding and shares a two-dimension framework for naming companies based on Approach (Abstract and Descriptive) and Construct (Real word and Coined) examples provided for reference.
How to Come Up with Inspiring Name Ideas?
There are two ways to come up with inspiring name ideas. One is to work it out from scratch. The other is to use a business name generator and customize the result (or not if it’s perfect for your business).
Regardless of the method, it would be best if you had some words to work with. And everything starts with your business. You can draw inspiration from your values and focus on words such as ‘sustainability,’ ‘eco-friendly,’ ‘green,’ ‘quality,’ and so on. Or you may focus on what your business offers and use words such as ‘metrics,’ ‘puzzles,’ ‘technology,’ ‘gear,’ etc. But you can also start with the intention behind your business. For example, you may intend to make people’ feel happy,’ ‘live longer,’ ‘be healthy,’ or ‘think smarter.’
However, many business names don’t use generic and descriptive words. Apple, for example, has nothing in common with technology. It’s just a catchy logo that became a business name. But Apple was created before the internet, so its owners didn’t care that people searching for Apple would receive all the possible results about apples. Regardless, if you have a powerful emotional story, you may want the business name to reflect it. So, you can add words that reflect your name, a memory, a partnership, or simply a mantra that works for you.
You may also find inspiration in your products’ ingredients or materials (e.g., Coca-Cola, MetalPrints, Ivatherm, etc.), color, or other characteristics.
We've expanded on how to come up with a business name with 10 essential steps, that you need to check the details if you're serios about naming your company professionally.
Examples of Business Names
Your industry or activity field is a good starting point for finding a business name. That’s because it provides guidelines and plenty of examples from your competition. It’s easier to see if it’s heavily used, too blunt, or too fancy for your market. So check out the following name ideas for different industries and activity fields and see what suits you best.
Creative Business Name Ideas
Creative businesses need a creative name, something with a narrative. Catchy phrases, such as idioms or common phrases, maybe what you need to define your business and attract the correct type of customer. You may also like word games, make-up words, famous characters or historical facts, rhymes, and anything that screams creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. However, you can also combine the artistic part with a more generic one, such as your industry (e.g., photography, art, pottery, etc.) and values (e.g., handmade, luxury, abstract, etc.)
- Lucky Star Origami
- Tavern Crafts
- Wood Thinks
- Pacific Dream Photography
Small Businesses Name Ideas
When you start a small business, you focus on storytelling. You don’t have a huge market share and address people at a more personal level. Therefore, your business name would probably don’t include ‘Industries’ or ‘Group,’ but more friendly words, such as ‘girl,’ ‘people’, ‘food’, ‘bakery,’ and so on. You are also allowed to use your first name or status.
- Back to Black
- Express Photo
- Flo Atelier
- Garden of Earthly Delights
- Aux Merveilleux de July.
Construction Business Name Ideas
Construction business names should inspire strengths, quality, and trust. It’s a good idea to have a business name in the language of your target audience, add a word reflecting your activity (e.g., construction, building, renovations, entrepreneur, etc.), and use simple and straightforward words. No one will hire a bubbly name company to renovate their home.
- Green Homes Construction
- Residential Construction
- Dream Home Renovations
- Trusty Builders
- London Building Company.
Consulting Business Name Ideas
When your activity requires the consumer’s trust, the business name has to be smart, professional, and reliable. Consulting companies have to prove their worth, and they tend to start from their business name. You’ll see many consulting business names built around words like collaboration, impact, success, achievement, reward, and so on.
- Swift Advisors
- Impact Consulting
- Power Reward
- McCann Insight
- Green Collaboration Solutions
- Eco Success Consulting.
Name Ideas for Tech Companies
Technology companies like to make clear that they are tech companies from the beginning. You’ll often see the words technology(ies) or tech in their business names. However, technology comes in many forms, and it’s a good idea to be more specific. Include words such as IT, software, AI, smart, and others to let your audience know a little about your activity. You may also want to customize the style of your business name to something more math, algorithms, or tech-oriented.
- XPA (Expert Planning Apps)
- Stream Electronics
- Revolution Corporation
- Swift Inc
- Volta Technologies.
Advertising Business Name Ideas
In advertising, you want to simultaneously be creative, efficient, and market-oriented. You want to show your customers that you are a trustworthy company regarding out-of-the-box ideas and creativity. All these should be reflected in your business name. Most advertising agencies choose a creative and easy-to-remember name, rarely adding a word or two for practical purposes, such as digital, film, social media, etc.
- Ignite Social Media
- Digital Silk
Tip: If you're looking for some additional action verbs, to help you develop your brand contribution and address the industry need or solve the problem your clients are facing, you might start with such a table. Ps: Arek Dvornechcuck, Brand expert at ebaqdesign, has an extended method to craft a brand strategy.
Pharmaceutical Business Name Ideas
The Pharma industry focuses on health, safety, and trust. There are a few well-established competitors and many newcomers who prefer to use the word pharma or pharmaceutical to clarify their object of activity. For pharmaceutical business names, the focus is on values and principles.
- Aspen Pharmacare
- Biogen Therap
- Sumimoto Pharma
- Oxford BioMedica.
Finance Business Name Ideas
Similar to other industries, finance businesses focus on sending the right message. They must build trust, ensure people know they are a finance company and denote success and a winning attitude. Some use the word finance, but many prefer to be more specific than that and include words like investments, advisors, capital, and management.
- Vanguard Brokerage
- Erie Insurance
- American Funds/Capital Group
- Northwestern Mutual
- Brookfield Asset Management.
Tip: In his book Brand Naming, Rob Meyerson, explains that besides the four steps of naming a company, there are three additional phases: presenting the names to the client, advancing with a legal search, and selecting the final name.
Energy Business Name Ideas
The energy industry relies on natural resources and aims to provide the best services to its customers. Therefore, their business names usually mix these two aspects. You’ll find words like green, sustainable, nuclear, solar, power, energy, and electric in their terms.
- General Power
- NextEra Energy
- Vestas Wind Systems
- Canadian Solar Inc
- Green Industries
Logistics and Transportation Business Name Ideas
Besides the prominent words related to their field of activity, many logistics and transportation businesses prefer names that refer to motion, speed, and arriving on time. They want to show reliability, efficiency, and good management skills, so they will put words that lead in that direction in their business names.
- UPS Supply Chain Solutions
- Traffic Tech
- Mastery Logistics Systems
- KeHE Distributors.
If you're interested in business name inspiraton by type, look no further as we've expanded on several examples of business names categories.
Recruiting Business Name Ideas
Recruiting businesses mix a straightforward description with some creativity. Like advertising companies, they want their customers to know they are efficient and creative, well-organized and inspired. Thus, alongside words representing their field of activity (e.g., recruiting, headhunting, etc.), you will also find unique names, make-up words, abbreviations, and catchy concepts.
- Brilliant Inc
- Apache Employment Services
- Approach People Recruitment.
Accountancy Business Name Ideas
Accounting companies must show reliability, correctness, and trust like finance companies. Their business names don’t include jokes, word games, or funny words. Instead, they focus on leadership, professionalism, and tradition.
- Accounting Pros
- Wise Accounting Solutions
- Tax Guru
- Smart Tax & Accounting.
Marketing Business Name Ideas
A good marketing company has great ideas that bring your business to the public’s attention, helping it gain visibility and grow. Thus, marketing business names usually include growth, visibility, ideas, kickstart, and brand. At the same time, you will also find a differentiation between marketing companies focused on digital or social media platforms, TV ads, film and photography commercials, and general media marketing.
- LYFE Marketing
- Havas Media Group
- Spark Foundry
- Publicis Health
- Horizon Media.
Tip: We haven't chosen by mistake these categories to provide name ideas, we have chosen them because HR managers from such businesses choose LeaveBoard as their standalone HR and Attandance Tracking Software, to simplify, automate, streamline, and digitize the absence management activities in their organizations.
What are some business name generators?
Among the best business name generators are Shopify, Namelix, Looka, Wix, Ahrefs, and Wise. Try a few of the free ones before making your decision.
What’s the difference between a brand and a business name?
A business name is the official name of the business, the one used for legal and financial purposes. The brand is the name the public knows. The business name and brand are often identical (e.g., Apple). However, there are situations when the company prefers to use a different name for a brand, mainly when they manage more than one brand (e.g., Zara, Massimo Dutti, and Oysho are brands of a company named Inditex).
Why should I keep my business name short?
A short business name is easier to remember and more catchy. People will talk about it. It’s also less prone to typos and mistakes. Long business names get to be abbreviated anyway, not how you would like it.