9 Places to Search for Inspiration for Business Name Ideas

Jan 22, 2018

What’s in a business name?


A business name defines your company or brand, and it’s just as important as your products and services. A name is typically one of the first things a potential customer looks for when he or she comes across a great product. One would ask “who makes this product?”

What would you want their reaction to be when they finally know the name of the manufacturer? Aha, what a catchy name! From then onwards, you can bet on the customer to remember your business name every time your product comes to mind.

There are several factors that go into coining a business name. This process has become so challenging that companies offering naming services are being established!

The good news is we’re here to make the work easier for you. In this article, we are sharing places you can look for inspiration for great business name ideas.

1.Your Story

Almost every business has a story. This could be a story of how the founders met, how a certain product idea was conceived, or anything that inspired you to get into your industry.

Why not revisit your story and try to coin a business name from there?

There are thousands of successful businesses that used this strategy and, today, they’re household names. Look at Amazon, for instance. Back in the day when Jeff Bezos was looking to set up the company, his idea was to establish what would grow into a large business; large like the Amazon River. And it’s from this river that the company got its now famous name!

Even as you reflect back on your story for business name ideas, don’t forget to be creative!

2. Your Own Name

Do you think your parents had a child naming strategy when you were born? Well, some parents follow some rules, others randomly settle on a name because they like how it sounds.

Regardless of how you were named, your name can be a source for business name ideas.

Think there aren’t any famous brands named after their founders? Well, 20th Century Fox is a perfect example, partly named after William Fox. Others include Adidas (Adi Dassler), Black & Decker (S. Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker), Aston Martin (Lionel Martin), and McCain Foods (Harrison McCain and Wallace McCain).

As you can see, many of the founders who have named their companies after themselves didn’t use their full names. You can combine your surname with the surname of your co-founder, or with any other meaningful event.

3. Use a Nickname

Continuing on the idea of using people’s names as a source of inspiration, you can look beyond yourself if your name isn’t exactly working out.

Do you have a daughter, son, brother, sister or any other close relative with a fancy nickname? Did you just say yes? Awesome! Perhaps the nickname will turn out to be the name of one of Canada’s greatest brands!

To prove this method works, we have an example for you.

Mercedes, the German luxury-car maker, is named after Mercedes Jellinek, who is the daughter of Emil Jellinek, the man who designed the first Mercedes car.

4. Use Acronyms

Acronyms have the potential to spread your brand like wildfire. But to tap into this potential, you need to know how to build a catchy acronym.

Just think about the Bank of Montreal, with the acronym BMO, or the British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC), or the International Business Machine (IBM).

It’s, however, important to note that the success of an acronym depends on the full names. Some names give way to beautiful, naturally-flowing acronyms, and other names give way to odd-sounding acronyms.

When building an acronym, keep the following essentials in mind:

  • Does the acronym simplify your message so people can easily retain it?
  • Is the acronym easy to recall? (Hint: 3-letter acronyms are the easiest to recall)
  • Is the acronym similar to one that is already in existence? If yes, don’t worry. There can be several similar acronyms, but what matters most is that when spelled out, they give different names!


5. Books and Other Forms of Literature

Ever read a book so inspiring you felt like a changed person after finishing it?

If you have, you are not alone. Books have been inspiring millions of people since ancient times. These pieces of literature are also a prime source for business name ideas!

If you’re an avid reader especially of historical books, it’s time to start developing a closer relationship with some of the amazing characters you come across. You never know, those characters could be holding the key to your next business name.

Heard of Nike? Or Starbucks?

Unless you live under a rock, then you’re very familiar with these global brands, and you’re probably a consumer of their products.

Starbucks, for instance, is inspired by Starbuck, a character in Moby-Dick, an 1851 novel by Herman Melville. In the book, Starbuck is the first mate aboard the Pequod–a whaling ship. Although there is no direct connection between the character and the coffee house, it’s believed the company took the name to evoke the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders.

What if reading isn’t your thing? Watching great movies can also evoke inspiration for name ideas too.

6. Travel Destinations

Travelling (especially abroad) is not only a way to see the world, experience new cultures and boost your personal happiness and satisfaction, but also a way to collect name ideas with the potential to turn into famous companies.

This strategy is especially ideal if the business you want to start is a restaurant, nightclub or other hospitality facility. For example, if you name a restaurant after a Mexican town, the first impression potential customers will get is you serve Mexican dishes. And if you do, the name alone will keep attracting lovers of Mexican food to your restaurant!

7. Partnering with Another Business?

Sometimes you don’t have to look far and wide for new name ideas.

If you’re partnering or merging with another company, how about trying to merge the names of the two companies?

Let’s say your company is presently called Sun Technologies, and you’re looking to partner with Solar Solutions. You can easily combine the two company names to end up with Sun Solar, Sun Solar Technologies, or Sun Solar Solutions.

If none of these suggestions work, then you can head to the brainstorming room and think up a new name. However, it’s better to try a mash-up, because the two brands already have some recognition in the local market.

8. Turn to the Dictionary

Turning to the dictionary to look for business name ideas may seem like a last-ditch effort, but you will be surprised how many business owners take this path – and, against all odds – pick out great company names.

Twitter is a perfect example of a company name that was fished straight from a dictionary. Jack Dorsey, one of its founders, combed through the dictionary and came across the word “twitter” which is a “bust of inconsequential information” or “a series of short, high pitched sounds made by birds.” Jack and the other co-founders settled on the word, because it perfectly described their service.

If you’re inspired by Twitter’s story, perhaps you need to grab a dictionary and start combing through it, page by page. Sooner or later, you’ll come across a word that could be your business name.

9. Foreign Languages

Sometimes you have the perfect name, but it’s either taken or doesn’t sound exciting.

If this is your current predicament, don’t give up yet. Try looking up the word or phrase in other languages, such as Latin. Don’t be surprised when you find a perfect match!

Audi is a nice example of a company that used this method. Audi is a Latin word which means “listen”. In German, the word is “hören”.

Now, can you imagine a car called Hören? Isn’t Audi more exciting and memorable?

Places to Find Business Name Ideas Aren’t Beyond Your Reach

A name can make or break a business.

As a business owner, you have to put time and effort into finding the perfect name. When you do this right, you won’t have to change it later on and risk destabilizing your brand.

Lucky for you, we’ve done the homework and given you these top sources for business name ideas. Your job now is to try out each method and see what you come up with, and remember to run potential names by your colleagues, friends and relatives to get their opinion before making a pick.

After finding a few business names, make sure to check if they are available for registration using our Free NUANS Preliminary Search.



Free NUANS Preliminary Search
Free NUANS Preliminary Search
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