How do I come up with a business name?

Can anyone share any tips on how to generate business name ideas? How can you get inspired?

Top voted answer
Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown


Great question. This is definitely a subjective question. However, I can try to steer you toward some helpful information. There are generally a few things you want to keep in mind.

  1. easy to spell / pronounce for your target customers
  2. easy to build a brand around (general names like ABC Consulting worked in the era of the phone book because they were at the beginning, but in the age of the internet it is not only unhelpful it is distracting).
  3. part of the name be determined by the company's legal structure or country of origin (e.g. Inc. , LLC, Ltd., Pty., Plc, GmbH, etc.

Those items aside, there are some other restrictions you may have to watch out for:

  1. Ensure you are not infringing on another company's name or rights
  2. Ensure that you don't name yourself too similarly to a competitor or a popular company name from another industry.

Follow names that resonate with you personally. If you have trouble contact a design with branding creation or a specific creative agency that works to help you find solid and marketable names.

Steven Freeman

Steven Freeman at

Top 10% Web Development

Narrow it down with a mind map process. Focus on uniqueness, easy to spell, word associations / relevance to business etc.

Then when you narrow down some options it is best to see if the related company / trading names / domains names are available to register to match as well. No point getting excited about a name if some old shell company from 20 years ago is holding that exact match and could one day claim ownership back to them.

Steve Osborne

Steve Osborne, director at Stephen Roger Osborne

Top 10% Branding

Not an easy question to answer, Richard. But if you get really stuck, there are marketing consultants and identity firms whose job it is to do this.

You will want your business name to: help you stand out from your competition; provide recognition for your company, and; steer potential clients toward hiring you.

In my own experience, there are several qualities that help make a great business name. It should be:

  • meaningful – say something about who you are and what you do
  • future-oriented – permit growth and change
  • memorable – easy to say and spell
  • visual – looks good when presented graphically
  • unique – able to be trademarked and owned

There are many different categories of naming – descriptive; metaphoric; acronym; family; fabricated, among others. The trick to selecting the right type can sometimes lie in knowing who your target market is and what are their particular problems.

In other words, positioning.