How to find a good company name
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Top 10 best naming techniques:
- 1. Define your business
- 2. Brainstorm
- 3. Random word generator
- 4. Word matcher
- 5. Find synonyms and word meanings
- 6. Search for logos
- 7. Host a naming party
- 8. Jake Knapp's 8 hour game plan
- 9. Let a name grow on you
- 10. Leave it be
- Check availability
- About business name generators
As naming your business can be a big challenge you're going to need the best naming techniques to get this job done. Through my search of finding good names for several websites I've used different tools to get inspiration. I listed the best techniques on how to find a good company name below so you can find your name in no time!
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that if you buy a product or service through those links I may earn a commission. Read more.
1. Define your business
If you can't tell someone exactly what you're business is all about then finding a name will even be more difficult, if not impossible. A name symbolizes your business. That's why you have to clarify your business before symbolizing it. Try answering these questions:
- What is your business all about?
- What are keywords for your business?
- Who are your customers/ readers/ viewers?
- What is your 7-second-pitch? Try to describe your business within one sentence or 7 seconds.
- Where will your business be in 2, 5, 10 years?
- Why do you want to go in that direction?
- What is the tone of your business? Is it young, powerful, funny, minimalistic, etc.?
Make sure you're able to clearly answer questions like these before you start brainstorming for a name.
Get a large piece of paper and write down your main topic in the middle of the page. Around that main word write another 3 to 5 sub-topics. For example if your business is about selling cars, write down 'Car sales' in the middle as your main word and around that sub-topics like 'car repairs', 'quality', 'service' and 'customer friendly'.
Next, write down all words that come to your mind and place them closest to the main word or sub-word that they most belongs to. Write down all the words that you can think of. Even the ones that you doubt are useful.
One very handy tool that could help you in creating a thinkmap is Visual Thesaurus. You simply type in a keyword and it will generate a thinkmap with similar words.
3. Random word generator
You can only think of so many words by yourself. When you've finished your brainstorm session and feel like you could use some extra inspiration use a random word generator. It's the equivelant of opening a dictionary and landing your finger on the page without looking. The results can be surprising.
Many companies have used this technique to come up with a name. For example the game development company Blizzard who picked words they liked from the dictionary. Amazon also found their name in the dictionary when looking for words starting with an A.
4. Word matcher
Business names are often created by combining two or even more words together. That's why I made a word matcher to combine words and set a foundation to create my own names from the results. You can decide how many words you want to match together and if you want to generate word combinations with prefixes or suffixes. The results can be inspiring to come up with your own business name.
The random word generator together with the word matcher has helped me a great deal with finding the inspiration for naming businesses and websites. Use the generators on this page together to help you find a name.
5. Find synonyms and word meanings
Thesaurus.com is a great resource for finding synonyms for words. Run your list of words through this website to find other words of similar meaning.
6. Search for logos
Normally you'd first think of a name and then create a logo for that. If you're more of a visual person then this reversed technique might work better for you. Find examples of company logos on Google images, on websites like Find That Logo and Fiverr or simply go to the mall and have a look around. Then follow these steps:
- Which logos catch your eye and what are the names of those companies? Write those companies down and analyze why you like their logo. Is it the shape? The color? The symbol? Or the feeling that it gives you?
- Make a list of symbols that apply to your business. Don't overthink this. Simply write down or even draw the symbol when it comes to your mind. For example: a butterfly for transformation. A flame for passion. A mountain for perseverance. A bird for freedom.
- Make a top three of symbols or logos you like and try to name them. The name doesn't have to contain the word of the symbol. If you like the butterfly as a symbol for your yoga classes, you don't have to name your company 'The Butterfly Company'. Think of any words or other symbols that apply to the logo you have in mind. If you can't think of any words, try drawing and let your creative mind inspire you.
7. Host a naming party
Organize a 'naming party' and invite all your friends to help you find a name. Use any of the above techniques or create activities of your own. Make sure there's enough fuel (AKA pizza and beer), music, pens, color pencils and paper. Brainstorm together, do naming games, a logo competition (winner gets a special beer) or anything else that is fun.
If you don't come up with a name, at least you'll have a fun night with friends.
8. Jake Knapp's 8 hour game plan
To come up with a name for a company that was kind of in a hurry to find one within a couple of weeks, Jake Knapp made an 8 hour game plan. By using several techniques and working together with the founders of the company they succeeded in finding a good name. Jake wrote down his 8 hour name sprint technique and how this day went. Click here to download the free PDF.
9. Let a name grow on you
When you finally find a name that is available and might suit your business, don't expect a eureka moment. A name is going to have to grow on you. Chances are you'll like it, but it's not love at first sight. And that's ok! At the end of the day it's just a name.
Don't be too afraid of articles that claim a name can either break or make your business. That's not true. It's the business itself that can either break or make itself. A good business with a strong plan will make it. Even if the name isn't the best you could think of.
When you find a name or have a small list of potential names, try it out on your friends and family. See how they react to the names and what they think of it. Don't be too disappointed if the responses aren't very enthusiastic. They probably won't fall in love with the names either. Ask again a couple of days later. Keep repeating the names to them and monitor their responses. Like I said, a name often needs to grow on people.
10. Leave it be
Whenever you feel yourself getting annoyed with finding a name there is only one thing you can do: walk away. At least for now. You're not going to find a name when you don't feel good. Just leave it be and come back to it the next day when you feel more energized.
Finding a name that is both good and available can be a hard and tedious task. No matter how long it takes, don't give up! Eventually you will find a name that suits you and your business.
Got your name? Check availability!
When you find a suitable name for your business, the first thing you want to do is check its availability as a domain name.
If the domain name you want is already taken most availability checkers will suggest variations that are available. Some unavailable domain names can be still be bought, but this usually costs a lot more. I'd avoid trying to acquire an existing domain name and choose one that is available.
What about business name generators?
Although they can be used to get some inspiration for naming your business I don't recommend using them. The results that these types of generators produce are made by an algorithm and computers aren't very good at bringing creativity into their work. Thus the results are often very robotic. Naming should be left to humans who can bring heart and soul into it.
Websites with business name generators are also usually in the business of selling domain names. The results that role out of the generator are mostly domain names that they have for sale. Most of the time for a ridiculously high price. If you don't mind paying thousands of dollars to buy a domain name, that's fine. However I recommend finding a creative, available business and domain name on your own and spend the majority of your money on growing your business instead of buying an expensive domain name.
Instead of using business name generators, use the random word generator & word matcher and come up with your own name.