by Dan Sullivan
"Great companies start because the founders want to change the world…not make a fast buck"~Guy Kawasaki
There are an estimated 300+ million companies, businesses or brands. Some are as big as Microsoft or louis vettoni while others are smaller as one-person business. The market is very saturated with brands so it's quite harder to come up with a unique name that grabs the attention of audience. If you are done with all the hard work that you did to start your own business but now you are confused and have no idea how to name your business then this article is for you. Naming your business is a very crucial part when starting your business but don't you worry because today, we will help you how to create a name for your business.
Before we start lets first understand what are the different categories of naming your business. When you understand those categories, you will understand what kind of name do you want.
The 7 categories for naming your business are:
Those company names that are named after someone or something are called eponymous name. let's understand that with examples.
Disney: The Walt Disney company, one of world biggest entertainment company worth $130 billion dollars is named after its founder Walt Disney.
Tesla: Tesla American electric vehicle manufacturer net worth $100 billion dollars is named after Nikola Tesla because of his groundbreaking electric engineering achievements.
Burberry: The British luxury fashion brand net worth $10.7 billion is named after the founder of this company Thomas Burberry who established this business back in 1856.
The names that exactly tells you what the business does are descriptive names. The name is so clear and describe what it does. For example
American airlines: The name itself describes it's some kind of airline company. The America suggests it's an American airline.
China Mobile: China Mobile is a Chinese mobile telecommunication company that provides voice and multimedia services through mobile telecommunication.
Pizza Hut: Pizza Hut has 18,431 restaurants worldwide and it's an American restaurant chain founded in 1958. The name itself says it's a company that deals with pizza.
An acronym is a word that is formed from the initial letters of a word. There are a lot of companies that have used acronymic name for example.
KFC: we all know how tasty KFC fast food is but do you really know what KFC means. For those who don't know KFC is an acronym for Kentucky Fried Chicken. The world second largest restaurant chain.
IBM: The American multinational technology company IBM stands for International Business Machine.
AT&T: World one of largest telecommunication company AT&T stands for American telephone and telegraph company.
Some companies use the geographical location of their company in their acronymic name e.g. In KFC K stands for Kentucky which is a state in southern united states of America. In HSBC (Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Cooperation) H and S stands for Hongkong and Shanghai.
These names can be found from dictionary. There are further three sub-categories of indicative names.
1. Real word names
2. Composite names
3. Invented names
Real word name:
The name that suggest some characteristic or benefit are real word name. e.g.
Uber: According to oxford dictionary the word uber means: of the greatest or best kind. So, if you have tried uber they do give the best cab service.
Composite means made up of several parts. There are Companies that have used combination of words to create a name for their business e.g.
Ray-ban: Ray means a beam of light or heat that is coming from luminous body such as sun. ban means to prohibit something from coming. So actually, their sunglasses are banning the rays that ae coming from the sun to eyes. That's how Ray-ban come up with its name.
With so many companies it's a difficult task to combine name or find unique name from dictionary that best fits your business. To cope with this problem many businesses invented their names by changing adding or removing letters from words in order to create captivating name for their business. For example
Pinterest: Pinterest is an American social media network in which you can share and search images associated with different topics or projects . There is no such word as Pinterest in dictionary but the company combined two words pin and interest to make Pinterest which also makes sense. Pinterest works like a web or phone pinboard where you can pin something that's interesting to you.
Invented names can be highly unique but you have to be very careful because you don't want your business to sound like pharmaceutical drug or something funny.
Those names that connected or relates with someone or something are relating names. There is a connected concept behind such word with which they are linked with businesses. For example
Amazon: The amazon river is the world largest river by discharge volume of water. Therefore, the world biggest collection of books, clothes, electronics and thousands of accessories etc. can be found at amazon.com. you can find anything at amazon
SiriusXM: Sirius is the brightest star. SiriusXM is an American broadcasting company that provides satellite radio and online radio services that operates in America. So, the company provides the radio channel where you can hear the brightest stars of music and entertainment industry.
To find such names your general knowledge should be good because it would be easy for you to relate with things.
There are some businesses that have derived names from other languages. For example
Au bon pain: The word Au bon pain means the good bread in French. Au bon pain is a bakery and café chain headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts that serves baked goods.
SAMSUNG: According to founder of Samsung, the word Samsung means three stars in Korean language.
Hulu: Hulu is an American company which provides subscription video on demand service Hulu is a Chinese proverb which means holder of precious things. Basically, Hulu is calabash which was hollowed out by ancients to store precious things in it. The secondary meaning is interactive recording.
The final category is abstract names. Those names that have no meaning or are related to nothing are abstract names. There are many great businesses that originated in this way. For example
Haagen Dazs: Haagen Dazs is an American ice cream brand. The brand name has no meaning.
Rolex: How beautiful Rolex watches are and how graceful and luxurious name it is but one thing this name has no meaning.
So, once you have decided the category of your business name. what's the next step. The next step is to ask yourself a question
It's good to create a name that tell
· what your business does e.g. American airlines
· who created it e.g. Burberry
· From where you operate e.g. Komatsu
So, your business name should say something that's clear and there is some emotion connected too. Emotion in terms of positivity and motivational. The name that will make the audience to notice you.
You are already clear about the category of your business name. Grab pen&paper and write down all those names, two syllable words or even Greek mythological god names that relates to your business. If you struggle to find such words open dictionary and skim through it. Make a list of those names and prioritize them.
Your business name should not sound like any pharmaceutical drug. It should be simple and easy to remember. Complex name makes it difficult for people to remember.
Do check that your business name doesn't mean anything negative in other languages or countries. For example, Pocari Sweat a Japanese sports drink. Are you thirsty?
Have a fresh sweat to drink. I mean pocari sweat
A time will come when your business will start growing and you will be ready to launch your business internationally but if your business name is so specific then it will be difficult for you to change your business name again. For example, you named your business SmartShirts and you want to start selling jeans, coats or shoes then you will have to rebrand which will cost you a lot of time and money.
It will be quite heart breaking for you when you find out that your business name is already taken. So, it really important to check that your business name is not taken. The google paint company Alphabet URL alphabet.com was owned by BMW, so they find the alternative and registered as abc.xyz.
I hope this won't happen to you but if it did happen use an extra alphabet or word in your URL.
A good name plays a vital role in the success of any business. Your business name should be catchy and has great idea behind it that conveys a strong message to people. A Good name gives your business an initial boost but always remember a great name can't make a bad product great, but a great product can make even abstract name memorable just like Rolex. Let us know in the comment section below which category of business name you are choosing for your business.
About Dan Sullivan
Dan Sullivan is a renowned professor and esteemed education writer with a passion for inspiring students and transforming the field of education. With a diverse background in academia and practical teaching experience, he has become a leading figure in educational research and pedagogy.