How to Brainstorm the Perfect Name for Your Startup

Great business names help customers understand the brand, attract attention, create memories, connect to an audience, and create buzz, referrals, and sales. Your startup name can be a true asset to your business, and it can help you reach important business goals – and not just the abstract goals either. The name can obviously help with abstract goals like the development of brand recognition over time.

For example, when the owners of a hair salon use a great name, they are likely to attract more customers from Google Maps and Yelp than any competitors who have a boring and uninteresting name. Having a solid brand name can help you avoid this awkward conversation:

“Hey, where did you get that? I’d love to buy one just like it!”

“Oh, this. I got it for a great price from an amazingly helpful customer service rep. over at … oh, I cannot think the name right now.”

If you want to come up with a great name for your business, simply follow these guidelines to create your own awesome business name ideas and finding a great name that will help you succeed:

Keep Your Endgame in Mind

When you’re embarking on a new venture, and having a difficult time finding the best name. The first part of the creative process. If you begin the process by thinking about your brand that you want to build, then you can decide on some core concepts that are key to the success of your start-up.

An important question to think about is, What do I want potential customers to know about my business immediately?

Here are some common answers to that question:

  • It is Luxurious and High-end
  • It is Classic
  • It is One-of-a-Kind
  • It is Fun

Deciding on which direction works best for your brand will help you create a name (and a brand) that will lead to success.

Solidify Your Criteria

Now that you have selected a general direction for your brand, it’s the perfect time to write a one or two sentence project statement to narrow your focus and keep you on track. Here are some great examples of project statements examples:

  • We need a fresh, contemporary name that encompasses of our key ideas of connectivity, efficiency, and gratitude.
  • We need a descriptive name that captures our value proposition – we are a bank that is easier and more user-friendly than any of the competition.
  • We need a solid name that sets us apart as a distinguished business. However, we also want to differentiate our start-up from the typical industry names.
  • We need an sophisticated name that automatically sounds like a high-end  men’s clothing brand.

Discover Inspiration

Now it’s time to get inspired and start writing stuff down! Whether you’re writing things down or typing it up, it is the perfect time to think up some creative business name ideas.

Research your competition 

It’s crucial that you know about your competition if you want to come up with an effective business name. One of the first big decisions you will need to make when naming your business is, Do I want to fit in or stand out from the competition?

Develop an Inspiration Deck 

You can find inspiration for name ideas in so many different places. Try driving by local businesses and when you get home try to write down any names that you still remember after your drive. If the name is memorable enough for you to remember it, it must be an effective name. You can also create a list of successful names by Googling names or exploring hundreds of winning business names ideas from crowdsourced name contests. Gathering a list of successful names is a well-respected technique for coming up with a name for your own start-up.

Envision Your Brand

When looking at names, your solid business name may not always seem more appealing than your competition’s mediocre name. This is because it is difficult to look at a list of names and find any of them exciting out of content. A bunch of names on a page can often feel flat and boring. Therefore, the power to bring a name to life in your customer’s mind is critical to the naming process. Try to imagine the story based on the name or visualize the logo. Imagine seeing the name on your products or packaging. If you can’t envision your brand, then you will have a difficult time getting excited about any of the great business name ideas you have.

Due Diligence

Brainstorming business names is only the start of the naming process. Here are three steps that are very important to complete before selecting your final business name.

Brainstorming unique business name ideas

When coming up with unique business name ideas, explore a variety of naming types, including blends (Facebook), phrases (Stumbleupon), compounds (SnapChat), made up (Instagram), and visual names (Blue Moon).

Brainstorm business this list of business name types to get started:

  1. Real Word – Apple, Swoop, Slack
  2. Misspelled – Lyft, nimbl, Mohawx
  3. Compound – SnapChat, SplitWav
  4. Phrases – StumpleUpon, Ready to Rise
  5. Blends – Groupon, Yuconic, Winvested
  6. Made Up/Abstract – Orizia, Itorix
  7. Transmutations – Zappos, Zumba
  8. Acronyms – IBM, HP
  9. Play On Words – Deja Brew, EyeQ, Inner Peas
  10. Metaphoric – Nike, Silverline, LoanSpring, RobinHood
  11. Visual – Iron Flame, Blue Cabin
  12. Foreign words – La Brosa, Nomi d’Italia
  13. Latin, Greek, Anglo Roots – Rinsio, Bluntly, Omni Lend
  14. Poetic – Dunkin Donuts, Lula Learn, Piggly Wiggly
  15. This & That – Abercrombie & Fitch, Lydia & Park, Owl and Lark
  16. Names and Surnames – Oskar, Windsor Harlow, Barnes and Noble

It is helpful to come up with at least one name idea for every type on this list to give yourself a better idea of what you are and are not looking for.

The more unique your name is, the less likely you are to run into trademark conflict.

Finding a domain 

Choosing an available domain is all about originality, and finding a name that is not yet taken; and with nearly 50 million new businesses opening each year, this can be difficult.

(Need a domain name? Check out Lean Domain Search)

  • Sometimes it is helpful to broaden your search and look through .co, .io, and other less common extensions for your domain name. 
  • Addons are an additional method for securing a relevant and available domain for your business.

Audience Testing 

Once you have committed to a few top name ideas, you will find that getting unbiased feedback is extremely helpful. It’s great that you and your team are excited about your business name ideas, but getting direct feedback you’re your target audience can help you find a way that will lead to success!


At the end of the day, your business name should capture the most unique aspects of your business in a way that resonates with your audience. Make sure your final brand name is memorable and stands out, and you will be able to pick a great name for your startup.

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