When trying to create a unique company name for your business, I found that there was a three step approach to creating a unique name.
When I was developing a new company name, I created about 20 using this method, each time I would follow the steps through to create a name that was appropriate, unique and usable.
1. Get inspiration
First of all you have to select a few sources for inspiration. You need ideas as to what you’re looking for.
Most companies begin by thinking up variations of the activity they do (ie: for a company selling mobile phone: mobile, phone, cell, sales, etc), however sometimes a company may not sell anything specific, and may cover many different activities.
You can try investigating other company names, to see where they got their inspiration from.
Find words that you like, or that sound as if they relate to your general activities.
Look at your own name, and names of others involved in the company, see if they can give inspiration.
Place names are good too, see if you can become establish based on the name of your area.
2. Generate a unique name
Once you have your inspiration, there’s a few techniques you can use to get the unique name that you are looking for:
- Crossword Helper/Solver – This will allow you to use certain formulas to pick words. (ie: using the initials of the partners to help you generate appropriate words).
- Thesaurus – Allows you to find synonyms for words your choice of words.
- Anagrams – Use this with a combination of names involved in the company or such.
- Translator – Try translating a few words you’ve chosen to get that unique angle.
3. Validate it’s usable
You should really ensure that the name you choose is not in use, recommendations for ensuring they are not in use include:
- Check with your common sense – If your company is only open 12 hours a day, for gods sake, don’t call your company “24seven”.
- Checking with government departments (in the UK such as CompaniesHouse WebCheck).
- Check the registered trademarks database for your country and possibly major countries such as US and UK, as existing companies may wish to expand into your country, meaning you would not be authorised to use the name.
- Check with yellow pages, and ensure there’s no one already using the name.
- Check with Google, check for variants (eg: “my idea”, myidea, etc), if it’s commonly used by a website or company for their product or service, then chances are they could battle you over rights to the name. Avoid where possible.
- Check that there is no active domain name using your name, (eg: myidea.com). Sometimes domain names are not in use and are just parked/advertising/on sale, always check first.
Once you have a sufficient amount of names, gather feedback from your friends and family.
I found asking them their top 5 and their bottom 5 helped narrow down the choices.
This will help you settle on a name that will work for you and your customers.
If all else fails…
You could always try the assistance of a naming firm or a company name generator, but there’s nothing quite like your own inspiration, so don’t give up straight away.
Note: I DO NOT help you choose a company name for free.
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