8 Steps for Choosing a Great Company Name

So you finally decided to take a leap of faith to start your own business and make a serious impression in the industry that you love!… but you need a killer name!...

on 16th November 2016 Naming and Tags: with 0 comments

Choosing a unique, clever and inspirational name that represents your business can be a real challenge as it’s not an everyday occurrence even for the most seasoned entrepreneur… Enjoy these tips for choosing a great company name…

It is highly likely that by now you’ve had countless late night visions about what your business will look, sound and taste like…

However… it suddenly becomes apparent that the amazing name you came up with has selfishly been conceived by some other enterprising soul years before you ever made the connection! Damn! That name would have been perfect! That’s so typical and inconsiderate right?

Anyway the good news is that the colourful montage of post it pad scribbles, sketches and ideas you have harvested thus far are all part of the historic learning curve and master plan of finding a unique name that will totally rock for you and your business!

Your initial names and themes should never be discounted as they can often inspire a fresh raft of naming options that will ultimately strengthen and influence your choice of company name. The greatest and most marketable names, particularly where ‘domain names’ are concerned have often been snapped up by genuine businesses and chancers who harvest them to with a view to selling them to make a fast buck! This can make successful naming a sizeable headache for entrepreneurs looking to make an immediate impression in their chosen marketplace. This is why many new business names need to be a little more creative than those of days gone by!

A reverse engineered approach for some may be the sensible option… What relevant and untapped domain names are out there that could work? Great company names and ideas often originate from the most uninspiring associations or sources… If you are struggling to find the name you want… it’s time to think laterally!

Remember… there is ‘magic in mediocrity’ – let’s call it finding something ‘out of the ordinary’… The very best business names are those that make emotional connections with their respective target audience groups.

Try these steps to help create your name…

1. Create Keyword Lists:

Write down categorised lists that include…

A – ‘industry related words’…

B – ‘common industry related terms or expressions’…

C – ‘industry product and service’ related words…

D – ‘your business values’ and ‘USPs’…

E – characteristics of ‘your brand personality’…

F – words that ‘connect’ with your target market…

The words that you collate may initially appear over familiar and uninspiring… be patient, let me assure you… they will transform into something special when combined with the ‘lateral thinking’ brainstorming techniques that will follow…

2. Check Out Your Competition:

  • Create a list of competitor names.
  • Ask yourself which ones work best and why.
  • How can you distinguish your company name in the marketplace?

3. Know Your Target Audience:

  • Define a list of your ‘buyer personas’ that operate in your target market.
  • What daily business challenges do they face?
  • How can you make their lives easier?
  • What are they looking for when they engage a company like yours?
  • Make a note of any relevant words and themes that become apparent…

4. Embrace Your Creativity:

  • It’s important that your name is easy to pronounce particularly if you are going global.
  • Don’t overlook the opportunity to create a name that is totally unique as this will distinguish your business from the crowd and may be more memorable.
  • Unusual names can also provide great opportunities for storytelling, particularly if your name has a hidden meaning.

5. Get Real:

  • Consider how your proposed name will fit into the daily operations of your business.
  • What emotional responses will prospects and your trusted network have when they hear your proposed company name? Ask them!
  • If you are looking for a more abstract name… consider the positive and negative perceptions your name will project.
  • Think Big! Is your proposed business name flexible?
  • Avoid a potential re-brand as your business grows! Will your company name accommodate your ambition?

6. Get Input:

Once you have a shortlist of credible options, share them with your friends, family, peers and prospects. Ask for their honest feedback.

Take all comments on board and refine as necessary. Whilst you may have the final say so… there is no place for your ego when it comes to getting your business name right!

7. Keeping it Short and Sweet:

  • Short business names are not always as effective, but they may be easier to remember.
  • Through lateral thinking techniques consider less obvious names that have a memorable association.
  • A diverse range of naming techniques and styles have been cultivated by wordsmiths and thought leaders worldwide…

8. Utilise online tools:

During your brainstorming phase, use some of the tools that are available to get inspired. Explore these…

Some useful information on name types…

The Name Inspector:

A Field Guide of Company Names:


A fresh perspective:

  • Take time out and review your preferred names in a few days…
  • Which names do you still feel will truly connect with your target market?
  • Which names have the flexibility to leverage your brand personality?
  • Which names are best suited to grow with your business ambition?
  • Note: Your web site domain name should also be the same as your business name.


If you are concerned about protecting the integrity of your company domain name, it’s a good idea to register other related top level domains and redirect them to your home page. Avoid hyphenated web site domain names!

Your business name will be instrumental in defining the key characteristics of your business brand identity.

Create draft designs of your new marketing material. How is it starting to shape up?

Worth a look:

Already decided on your brand name? Discover our lead generation for online brands: