The best way to generate a business name is to brainstorm different ideas with your friends, family, & colleagues. Your business name is the foundation of your brand. The name can ‘say what it does on the tin’ or it can be abstract and empower you to nurture its meaning with design, slogans and iconography. Larger companies spend millions on branding. Assuming that you do not have such budgets and you are not from ‘Mad Men’ then you may find this article of interest.
What’s in a name?
As a co-founder of a number of businesses I have been on the deep end of many discussions about business names. My personal preference is to go with the name that communicates what the product or service does. I don’t mind slightly abstract names, but preferably if you see the name you can get the basic point of what we are about.
For example, with MachFast, we wanted to communicate that the app performs its advertised services very quickly. As part of our ‘generate a business name’ exercise we spent a lot of time thinking, socialising and talking out-loud about what possible business name could convey our idea.
The meaning of the name is a combination of ‘Mach’ – the speed of sound – and ‘Fast’. So in this case we ‘generated a business name’ that works as originally envisioned by the co-founders. As a side note, ‘Mach’ also means ‘make’ in German. Hence, per-chance, the name also works in a foreign language, ‘Make Fast’.
Our tag-line is ‘Build Your Own’ because we are celebrating entrepreneurs and individuals who want to start their own companies. At MachFast, we want to make life a lot easier for small and micro-businesses.
Our other service that we recently launched is EnergyBillKill.com. EnergyBillKill is the UK’s first web and mobile app that cuts business energy costs for UK businesses. In this case, we wanted the service name to say exactly what it does- the service ‘kills energy bills’. It says what it does on the tin.
The final example is my personal pursuit in the tea world. My friends and I created a new natural energy drink from stone ground tea and herbs. We were tired of sugary energy drinks and coffee makes one jittery. We spent a lot of time thinking about the name and talked to many people. We were lost, until a good friend of ours (who used to work for a big food manufacturing company) sat down with us for hours and helped us come up with a name.
We wanted the name to capture tea’s ancient roots as a healthy beverage while conveying the uniqueness of the product. We also wanted tea lovers to relate our product to something familiar, in this case Matcha tea (the powdered Japanese tea). So, roll the drums, after a lot of ‘generate a business name’ exercises, we came up with Fencha. In Chinese, ‘Fen’ means powder and ‘Cha’ means tea. We went straight back into the depths of history, as the original way to drink tea was in a powder form.
And now, the Top 10 ways to Generate a Business Name
1. Internet Research
As with many activities, the ‘generate a business name’ exercise starts with the internet. Check out similar businesses, services, products. What names do they use? What are the top 5 names in your industry or service sector? Write down the names that appeal to you. Ideally ask a few friends to do the same internet research.
Ideally, the name should convey or at least relate to what your product or service is about. It may be a more abstract name with a tagline that explains. It may also be a name that signals some sort of intention, ‘Greener World’, or ‘Healthier Living’. In that case again you may want to consider taglines.
3. Get Feedback
Please do not do ‘generate a business name’ exercise on your own. Please involve as many people as you can. Business names are like football, everyone will have an opinion. You don’t need to accept those opinions or even to consider all of them, but often the ‘wisdom of crowds’ pays off.
4. Say the Name Out Loud
Often names may appear attractive on paper or in your head, but when you try to verbalise, the name may fall flat.
5. Use Business Name Generator Tools
Technologies can help to generate names. You have a number of options that are very easy to use.
There are also services that may give you their view on what they think of your name. Here is one that you can try from EatMyWords.
6. Generate a few workable business names
Make sure to come up with a couple of alternatives as you will want to check that the business name can be used for a limited company.
Use MachFast.com app to check company name availability in the UK and what domain names may be available for your name.
7. Check Trade Marks
Double check that the name is not already trademarked. You can do the search via the UK government’s Intellectual Property website.
8. Visual Brand Testing
Test how your brand name may look visually (as a logo or with some artwork). Unless you have the skills, you may want to find a professional to do the full branding exercise. However, you can use some tools to get a glimpse of what the possibilities are. Here is one from BrandMark.io which has a business name generate combined with creative branding ideas for the chosen name.
9. Business Name Length
Ideally, your business name should be relatively short. We pushed limits with EnergyBillKill.com. Two syllables is usually a good criteria to keep in mind. Wiktionary has a nice 2-syllable word guide to get you going.
10 Registering & Protecting your business name (and hopefully forming a company).
Once you are all done and you are ready to go, a good idea is to trademark your name (if you intend on growing your business and protecting anyone from using your business name). To trademark your name you can hire a specialist or do it yourself online via a fairly straight forward UK government portal.
….and finally the big day comes and you are ready to form your limited company! With the MachFast app you can form your company and get a current account over a cup of coffee.
Michael Rossman, Co-Founder, MachFast.com