Starting / Business startup

4 great ways to help name your business

Choosing the right name is one of the most important parts of starting out; the one you choose can make or break your business and re-branding is an expensive exercise if you get it wrong!

21 February 2017 by

A good business name can make the path to increased sales and future growth quicker and easier. A bad name, on the other hand, may make it difficult for customers to know what your business does and to find you, and will cost a lot more time and money to advertise and get your name out there.

So where do you start to find a good business name?

The first things you need to do is consider:

  • What you are doing in your business.
  • What values you want to convey.
  • What goods/services you will be providing.

Once you are clear on those, you can either start brainstorming, or try these four things:

1. Hold a contest

There are online services that can help you set up a contest to come up with business naming ideas such as SquadHelp.

"Be careful about getting too creative with letter substitutions. "

2. Use a Greek or foreign dictionary for inspiration

Many great company names have come out of Greek foundation words. Nike, which originated from the Greek goddess of victory is one. From the ‘foreign dictionary’ category, came Samsung which is Korean for ‘three stars’ (three being a powerful number in Korean culture).

3. Ask family and friends for help

You never know, they might be clever enough to come up with something clever like Starbucks, (the name of the first-mate of the whale-ship Pequod; the ship in Moby Dick.)

4. Consider variations of overseas names

Look at all the brands and different businesses that use Delta: Delta Airlines, Delta Loudspeakers, Delta Faucet Company. Even Domino’s Pizza has been replicated with their name selling sugar. Before you take this route, however, you might want to change the spelling, ensure you are selling different goods or services and/or ensure you are even able to use it legally!

What other things should you consider?

1. Keep your name short, simple, easy to remember and memorable

Be careful about getting too creative with letter substitutions. They can be tricky as people can misspell and may have trouble finding you, but on the other hand, it may be easier to identify your brand and to register your word mark as a trade mark.

2. Don’t limit your business by naming it something too literal

Aussie Pool Covers clearly sells pool covers but what if they decide to expand into pool umbrellas, pool accessories?

3. Don’t pick a name that is too obscure

Obscure names and words may be difficult to spell or pronounce and you may find you need a huge marketing budget and effort to get it out and known in the market like Xerox and Google.

4. Test the name with a teenager

Passing your name by the younger generation is a great idea as the name may be slang or have an interpretation you are not aware of.  The well-respected Canadian company Roots had to consider this when they looked into expanding to Australia.

Most importantly …

Don’t get too attached to any one name during your naming process. When you get inspired and have a great idea, especially if you have visualised it for some time, it’s all too tempting to start envisioning your company logo, business cards, web design etc with that name.

Before you do that, you need to first ensure your perfect name is legally available for you to use. Otherwise, it could end up costing you a lot more than just money in the long term. (More on that in a future article.)

How did you come up with the name for your business? Share in the comments below.

Vanessa Emilio

is a Practice Director, Lawyer, Founder and CEO of, a legal website business with easy-to-use, inexpensive legal templates, forms and agreements for everyday Australians as well as lots of useful information.


  • One of my best friends came up with my business name – Joy is my middle name and she said ‘well obviously it should be Joyful Communications’…it was like a lightbulb went on! Thank goodness for people who know us better than we know ourselves. 😉

    • Vanessa Emilio

      Great and positive name! That is a clever way to make a connection with your business and your own name:)

  • Periodic Table – Argon Systems. I agree that the name should be short and not tied to yourself in case you want to sell the business later on.

    • Vanessa Emilio

      An Excellent alternative for inspiration Daryl-particularly if you are looking for a clever tech, science, mechanical, or just unusual idea! Thank you for adding to the list:)

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