7 tips on how to pick a business name

Choosing a business name

A business name can have a significant impact. In fact, it could be the difference between you and your competitor’s turnover.

In other words, would you order from ‘herpes pizza’ or a ‘Papa Johns’?

This guide will provide you with an insight on how to pick a great business name, starting with the 7 categories of a business name:

Bad business name

Business Name Ideas

In this section, we break down business name types so that you can select the best one to suit your business.

1. Eponymous

Take your, or another person’s name and incorporate it within a business name, and there you have it. This is an eponymous name. It may sound nice but gives no meaning to what the business actually does. Because of this, it can be a risky choice. However, if your business reaches a high level, an eponymous name can represent its own business sector. Examples of businesses that use eponymous names are:

Disney, Burberry, Adidas and Tesla

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burberry logo150
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2. Descriptive

This category of name incorporates what the business does. A descriptive name can have an initial impact, but can be a mouthful, and is therefore easily forgettable. Examples of this business name are:
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pizza hut logo 150 01
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3. Acronym

An acronym name has similarities to an Eponymous name. That is to say, it has no real relation to the business. However, as humans, our minds love to store a small amount of information in order to access a large amount of material.

For example, think of the phrase “I’ll be back”… Firstly, have you just thought of Arnold Schwarzenegger? Secondly, have you thought of ‘The  Terminator’, and moreover, you may have thought that he was once the Governor of California.

This can continue until you access the most irrelevant piece of information, which all started with one short phrase. By the same token, this is how acronyms work. A short amount of information, in this case, an acronym, expands the knowledge you retain on that particular business. However, you must first have to understand that particular business in order to access the information you have stored. Examples of businesses that use an acronym are:


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4. Suggestive

This unique type of name gives you an informal explanation of what the business does or sells, and at the same time, targets a specific market.

Suggestive names are a good choice because they have three major benefits:

Firstly, you can choose any positive word that reinforces your business and promotes its values.

Secondly, you can choose any two words, and if you keep it within two symbols, it becomes memorable and informative.

Thirdly, you can create your own unique “word” that gives meaning to your business. With an estimated 300 million businesses it can be difficult to find a word that isn’t already in use. Hey Presto, just push two words together, and you have your unique business name. Examples of businesses that use a suggestive name are:

Easyjet, Pintrest, Facebook, Netflix

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5. Associative

An associative word can subtly and subconsciously reinforce what a business does.

These names positively impact how we think, and so sell more. In other words: if ‘go pro’ was called ‘go home’, it loses a sense of adventure and above all, its appeal.

Businesses that use an associative name are:

Red Bull, Which, Dreams and Hooters

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6. Non-English

A non-English word can have an impact, but possibly lose meaning, but then again so can an eponymous word. So why not go out there and try a non-English word to captivate your target audience? Examples of business that use non-English names are:
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7. Abstract

The best way to describe an abstract business name is to go straight to the definition, and then it all becomes clear: “relating to or denoting art that does not attempt to represent external reality, but rather seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, colours, and textures.”
And as ‘abstract’ as the above sounds, it works well for a lot of businesses. Examples of businesses that use an abstract name are:
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Apple Logo150
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Google Logo150

Quick guide to choosing a business name

Who knew there was so much meaning behind a business name?

Now you have read the above, you will have a better idea of how you want your business to be reflected. More importantly, perceived by your target market.

With this in mind, there are other things you should consider:

1. Make sure your name is available:

You may think of a great name, however, before committing, you must check first that no one else has it – For a British company, you can use the ‘company name availability checker‘.

2. Don’t over-egg it:

Keep your business name as simple as possible and as a result, memorable. For the same reason, keep any words in your company name to no more than two syllables. The most memorable brands stick to this, such as; Facebook, Google, Nike, Netflix, Apple. They are simple, easily recognisable and memorable.

3. Don’t make it too cool:

Of course, keep it simple, but as a smaller or new company give it some narrative. For us, we chose ‘Click Start’, which is associative, with only two words and one syllable in each. However, as a smaller company, we added ‘Marketing’ to inform our potential client that this is the service we offer. No doubt, if we achieve global success, we’ll drop the ‘Marketing’.

4. Make it domain friendly:

Businesses and websites now come hand in hand, so it is essential to consider if it is domain friendly. For example, Penisland.net may not indicate that your company is called ‘Pen Island’!

5. Check that the domain name is available:

Although your company name is available, the domain name that you want might be taken. Sites like SiteGround, GoDaddy, 123 reg, etc. Have the tools available to check that the domain name you want is available.

6. Check trademarks:

Make sure that your company name doesn’t infringe on another company’s trademark. For British companies, use this trademark checker to find out.

7. Be unique:

Creating a unique name isn’t easy, however, it is essential. You want a name that stands out from competitors and promotes your business. For instance, a great example we love is ‘Moon Pig‘ – why? it’s a name that’s easy to remember, everyone knows, understandable on a phone call, completely unique and a little fun.


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