How to Come Up with Company Name Ideas Worth Keeping

Jul 3, 2017

Coming up with a company name is one of those initial business steps that seems like it should be a short and simple process, but can easily turn into a lengthy and complicated one.

It can be difficult to capture, in just a few short words, the essence of your business. How do you encapsulate what your brand stands for, represents, and provides with only a few characters?

In today’s digital world, the questions become even more expounded. Now, domain names are another issue to contend with, and finding a unique one can leave business owners, especially small business ones, scratching their heads.

In fact, 46% believe they’re more likely to find a $100 bill on the sidewalk than to find a solid domain name still available. What’s more, 57% of them believe that finding a good domain name is more difficult than deciding on a baby’s name!

While the process should be thought-provoking, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Today, we’re breaking down how to come up with fitting, appropriate, and memorable company name ideas.

Ready to get started? Grab your pencil and let’s dive in!

1. Brainstorm and Communicate

If you’ve ever stared at a blank screen or white piece of paper for an extended period of time with little to no creative juices flowing, you know all too well that brainstorming can be a challenge.

While you know in your head and heart what makes your company special, putting it into actual words is the first hurdle to overcome. Begin by thinking what your company represents.

Next, let your mind wander where it wants. Think about some of your favourite words, search for words in other languages, and consult a dictionary or thesaurus if you need to.

During this process, it’s important to also consider the opinions of other employees. Encouraging feedback from and collaboration between various departments can help ensure that all employees are on board with the name. After all, they’re the ones that will be writing it and speaking it on a daily basis.

2. Make it Easy (For Them and You)

Let’s next cover one of the most obvious and easy-to-follow naming mechanisms. When throwing out company name ideas, remember to stick with ones that are easy to pronounce, easy to spell, and easy to remember.

Consider this: One study determined that stocks with the easiest-to-pronounce names performed 11% better over the course of one month than those with more difficult monikers. This jumped to 33% when compared over the course of one year.

Though the world continues to grow more advanced and connected, people still gravitate toward simplicity.

Thus, if any of your naming options require consulting a dictionary or leave you (and your prospects) relying on spell check, it may be time to throw them out.

This is especially true for global businesses, where the market may include foreign language speakers. A concise and simple name can be easier to remember and communicate for these customers, and as such, is the preferred way to go.

3. Check Your Competitors

Sure, there may be more than one company out there providing the same or similar service or product as you. That doesn’t mean you have to follow their model and fit into their mold when naming your own brand. In fact, it’s wise business sense not to.

The key with coming up with stellar company name ideas is to pick ones that don’t sound like anything else out there today. To stand out in your sphere, you’ll need to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and perhaps the easiest place to start is in your naming structure.

Research the domain names and social media accounts that sound like your proposed ideas. Do they already exist or are they free for the taking? That can quickly provide a general view of the landscape you’re working in.

Not only does this help you stand out, it can also help you avoid serious legal repercussions for trademark violations. If your name sounds too much like another company’s, even if you use different words and/or spelling, it could land you in hot (and expensive) water.

Research shows that 32% of companies are forced to think up a new name because the one they originally chose was already taken. To avoid this extra step, try to come up with a unique and original one from the onset.

Another added bonus? You won’t accidentally redirect prospects and clients to a competing site when they search for you online.

That said, remember…

4. Be Different, But Be Intentional

In your efforts to stand out from the crowd and establish yourself as a new player in your industry’s game, it’s important to maintain a sense of intentionality.

In other words, some of your company name ideas might be offbeat, eccentric, and definitely unique, but lack meaning and depth.

If the name itself is too quirky to understand and leaves consumers confused about what your brand is really all about, it’s time to revisit the drawing board.

This is where Rule #1 also comes into play. If you do opt for a more unconventional name, the shorter and simpler the better (think Uber). Your audience may not know what it means at first (or ever), but if they can spell it and search for it, it’s done its job.

5. Don’t Forget Your SEO Strategy

Having a one-of-a-kind business name can help you rank higher in organic search queries, boosting your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking. In a nutshell, SEO is the process of helping your brand appear higher in the list of online search results.

One simple way to see if you’re on the right SEO track? Google your company name ideas and see how many results are returned. Are there multiple pages of companies with names similar to the ones you’re proposing?

If so, it’s probably time to tweak your options.

Some tips on choosing SEO-friendly names include:

  • Avoid acronyms or capital initials. These are more likely to be duplicated and are less consumer-friendly than other names, as they can be difficult to decipher.
  • Omit superlatives. Many companies refer to themselves as “The Best” or “Premier” or “World Famous.” Your name could easily slip into neutral territory if you follow suit.
  • Let your keywords speak for themselves. Keywords are another essential part of SEO, wherein you can adjust your online content to ping for specific keywords that match customer search queries.

While keywords are important, you don’t have to necessarily consider them when determining your company name ideas. For example, if you wanted to rank for “best ice cream parlour” you might use that phrase often in your blog or web articles, but your company name doesn’t need to be “The Best Ice Cream Parlour.”

6. Allow for Growth and Flexibility

Some company name ideas can limit the degree to which you can grow. Consider, for example, if you named your company based on your current top-selling product. What would that look like?

If it’s too tightly entwined with the present, you might miss out on incredible opportunities for growth.

This is especially true for tech companies. Consider a store named “Apple Watch Repair Service.” While the company might specialize in Apple Watches now, who’s to say they won’t work on other Apple products now or in the future?

Or what happens when Apple releases a new, sleeker product that renders the Apple Watch obsolete? With the rate at which technology is growing, these types of scenarios are not unimaginable.

The best company name ideas are those that grow with your brand, allowing you space and room to change or expand your offering as the years go on.

7. Consider Your Customer

Think about your customer base for a moment. If you’re a new business, think about the customer base you want one day.

What are the kinds of things that are important to them? What do they value? How do they find those things in your company?

Using questions such as these to guide the naming process can help make sure that the one you choose will resonate with your current and prospective audience, striking the right chord that will encourage purchases and promote brand loyalty.

For instance, if earth-friendly and eco-conscious materials are important to your customers, you may want to consider a name with “Eco” or “Green” in the title, to appeal to those most likely to convert.


If you’re starting a business in Canada and in the process of brainstorming company name ideas, we’d love to help.

Our Free NUANS Preliminary Search is a free, Canada-wide business name search. It allows you to quickly and easily see if anyone has already registered the same name that you’re considering. We also offer comprehensive business industry insights on our blog so you’re always in the loop.



Free NUANS Preliminary Search
Free NUANS Preliminary Search
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