Time to Startup!

The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.

Choosing a Name for Your Small Business?

Published on Aug 11, 2010


Read 'Choosing a Name for Your Small Business?' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
Red-Business-Suit-ManYou've got the colossal idea that's going to save the world or make lives easier; you've got the die-hard motivation and the unbridled passion to ensure the success of your small business; you've got the cash to get your idea off the ground; now all you need is the business name. Sometimes choosing a name for your small business isn't that easy. You could run into the problem of another business already using the name. (Businesses, like BizFilings, can conduct name availability searches for you so those business cards you just ordered don't land in the garbage!) Inc. Magazine provides some guidance in generating that brilliant business name that reflects your brand's image and speaks to the right audiences. In the Inc. Magazine article, Alexandria Watkins, chief innovation officer of Eat My Words, a San Francisco-based naming company, explains why larger businesses can end up with weak names. "They put a lot of money and time into testing a name to make sure that it doesn't offend anyone and that everyone understands it ... That's why larger companies end up having tame, descriptive and flat names." Take some cues from Josh Spiro at Inc. Magazine in choosing the name that's right for your small business:
  • Choose a name that plays on words. For instance, Eat My Words has a blog called The Kitchen Sink. They take advantage of the food tie-in.
  • Keep it simple. Make sure it's easy to pronounce and spell as well as makes sense to customers.
  • Don't use puns. Avoid using puns that are used too much or are over-the-top cutesy.
  • Keep your eyes on your own paper. Don't copy other people's ideas. Inc. cites Pinkberry, a popular frozen yogurt chain, as an example in how numerous businesses have imitated this business, linking "berry" to their fruit stands, yogurt and ice cream shops.
The bottom line is that you want to think of a name that can take the marathon, not just the 100-yard dash. Just for fun, take a look at some of these household names and how they were inspired according to www.openforum.com:
  • Google - It started out as a joke. Did you know that "Googol" is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros? When Sergey Brin and Larry Page presented their ideas to an angel investor, they termed "Googol" to convey the amount of information the search engine could search. Guess what? They received a check made out to "Google."
  • Coca-Cola - Coca leaves and kola nuts comprise the flavoring of this infamous soda. John S. Pemberton, creator, took the "k" out of kola and replaced it with a "c." There you have it. Now you can sleep at night.
  • IKEA - This is my favorite. IKEA stems from the first letters of the founder's name and the names of the Swedish property and the village he grew up in. Yes, Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd. I'm looking forward to my store's development of: JHBW. (Darn, it doesn't quite work.)
If you'd like to share your unusual business name with our audience, please do so. How did you come up with the name? Are there other tactics you would suggest in coming up with a fabulous business name?