Browsing around /r/Entrepreneur and other entrepreneur communities I see that one roadblock many new entrepreneurs run into is picking a great name for their business.

How to pick a good business name

how to choose a good business name

how to choose a good business name 3

Name selection is often an overwhelming, frustrating, and exhausting experience.

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I can remember how stressful the naming process was for me when launching my first couple of projects. It would start off fun and loose for the first couple of names, but I would quickly become trapped in a mind numbing list of gibberish.

Several hours into it, I could feel my standards dropping and eventually lost all confidence in my ability to even judge the names I was coming up with. That was usually the point where I would put up a desperation post on some forums like this (or the ones you see above) –

How to choose a good business name 2

And while I think it’s a good idea to ask somebody but yourself, this isn’t the best way to come up with a good name. Not by a long shot.

What I always ended up with were names that I settled for. Terrible names that doomed my projects before they had even started.

And that’s not what I want for you…

So here is the method I have developed over the years to avoid the naming labyrinth and picking the perfect name for your business.

Step 1 – Know What Makes a Good Name

Most people already know intuitively what makes a good business name, so in the spirit of brevity I won’t go in too much detail here.

If you are over-thinking things and want some direction, check out this article for an awesome breakdown of what makes a good name.

Then come back here, because this guide picks up where that one ends…

Step 2 – Brainstorm a List of Names

Once you are confident you’d know a good name if you saw one, you need to come up with a few keywords to get you started.

You probably already have a few in mind. If you don’t, you should probably go back to the last step.

If you’re still lost, look for successful competitors and rapid-growth companies and use them for inspiration.

Huge time saver – Bust-A-Name

Open up Bust-A-Name (the best tool there is for brainstorming domain names) and enter in your initial keyword ideas. I’ll be using StartupBros as the example in this post, since we did use this method to decide on that name (StartupBros was originally going to be IncomeLabs).

So your initial list should look something like this –

Initial Keyword List

As you can see, Bust-A-Name checks all possible combinations of the keywords you put in and gives you the available domains containing those.

Though we just started the naming process, there are already a few good names on the board that I would save. SmartIncomeLabs, StartupIncome, and IncomeBros are all decent names already on the board (and of course StartupBros would have been on this board if it were available).

Add onto initial keyword list

Once you have some initial keywords on the board, you’ll want to expand on those ideas to come up with synonyms/similar keywords.

Bust-A-Name has a feature that will help you with this a little bit –

Keyword Synonyms

Mmm – Synonyms…

I also use LeanDomainSearch at this point to expand on ideas and get some ideas going –

lean domain search

Those are really the only two sites I use to come up with keywords. I sometimes also use Thesaurus, but even that is rare.

At this point, you should have a pretty decent amount of name combinations to look through.

Step 3 – Narrow It Down to a Few Decent Names

Now the mind-numbing part of it all – combing through the list of names.

Try to avoid the temptation to get caught up in this stage. Every startup name will have pros and cons to varying degrees.

Bust-A-Name will save you a huge amount of time by only showing you name combinations with available domain names. All you have to do is scroll through and pick the ones you like.

I usually have over 500 names to go through. You’ll probably end up around there.

90% of the names Bust-A-Name generates will be duds, you’re panning for the gold in them…

There is no real process at this point to what names you should be picking – just save the ones that sound decent.

Try to find 25 out of them that you think are decent, then whittle those down to 15…

Then 10…

Then 5…

Then move onto the next step.

Step 4 – Find Out Which One Is Perfect

Now my favorite part – we test to see which name is the best!

This is where everybody screws up…

It seems everybody thinks they should get their naming advice from friends, family, and Facebook friends – I suspect out of desperation.

That is a stupid thing to do.

Ask the audience

I would much rather A/B test my possible business names to find out exactly how much more or less receptive my target audience would be with each name.

I use the same method highlighted in 3 Steps to Validate Your Business Idea For FREE…almost

  • Head over to Unbounce(I now use and would recommend LeadPages for this) and sign up for a Free Trial account.
  • Make an identical landing page for each possible name (you can just duplicate your first page in unbounce)
  • Make a quick logo for each possible name with Creatr and put one on each landing page (don’t forget to publish your page after you’re done!
  • Run traffic to your landing page.

Your landing pages should look something like this –

landing page

Original StartupBros Landing Page

Landing Page

One of four variant landing pages

 

Make sure the traffic you are running to these pages is targeted. I’d recommend Facebook Ads for this – check out this article for a great breakdown on how to target the correct people.

Step 5 – Domination

After a few days and $50-100, you’ll end up with something like this in Unbounce –

Business Name Test

StartupBros wins!

As you can see, the StartupBros name performed 13% better than our original name idea, IncomeLabs.

Thinking about what that 13% means completely baffles me, and I would love to hear your opinions on it.

Does that mean that everything we do at StartupBros will grow 13% faster and perform 13% better than if we were doing it under IncomeLabs?

I suppose there is no way to know for sure…

But what I do know for sure, is that our target market responded better to the StartupBros name more than any other name we could come up with – and that’s why we chose it.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

Author

Will Mitchell

Will Mitchell is a serial entrepreneur and Founder of StartupBros. You can learn more about him at the StartupBros About Page. If you have any questions or comments for him, just send an email or leave a comment!

  • Lucky Cyprien says:

    Hi Michael,
    I want to open up a trading group(business group) would you suggest us a good name?

  • SUSHANT PANDHARE says:

    Hi….I want to start my own marketing selling products company……Please suggest me a good name

  • Durgadas Dhumal says:

    Hi i want to open new trading company i suggest me best name of company

  • Durgadas Dhumal says:

    Hi….I want to start my own marketing selling products company……Please suggest me a good name

  • Sandra White says:

    I plan to open an estate sale business and was hoping someone could/would suggest names for this business. I want something unusual, a name that of course would stand out and something “catchy” “a play on words” sort of name. Totally open to suggestions. It will be myself and my sister. Thanks.

  • Helen Abosede Dorcas says:

    please I want to start up a liquid wash business,.suggest a business name for me

  • Jimmy ikewote says:

    Hi
    Please I will like you to suggest a business name for me for my marketing company

  • Ssemwanga says:

    Please suggest for a trendy name for my locally made HD antennas. I would prefer to include a part of my name and any word meaning signal booster

  • Biswa p swain says:

    i want to create a MLM company can me suggest a good name.

  • Dan Wilson says:

    Hey! I’ve been brainstorming names for a few days now and have had so many good names come to mind but sadly they’re always taken. I tried every permutation and combination I could conjure up but eventually I just felt exhausted.

    Thankfully I came across this article and discovered Bust-A-Name. After a few minutes I now have a new list of potential names that have inspired me!

    Thanks Will! Keep it up buddy!

    • Will Mitchell says:

      I’ve only found out about all these cool methods through many years of beating my head against the wall 😉

      Happy I could help!

  • Philippa Dadzie says:

    please,i want to start my business,i would like to name it for me is about make-up and waist trainer

  • Rosa Ranson says:

    My name is Rosa Lee Ranson I have came up with the name Rolee Collection. So how does that sound for a business name sir.

  • MANISH NAGDEVE says:

    I want to start a company for firefighting installation system

  • Gerhard kloppers says:

    Hi i need a good solid name for a maintenance company

  • […] on a name can be somewhat difficult. Thankfully there are websites like StartupBros out there willing to lend a […]

  • Farzia says:

    Hi im looking for a name of my business, its a tours business. Can you help me please.

  • Lexi says:

    Hi there!

    I’m on my way to opening an LLC (“restaurant”) geared to distributing monetary donations to the local ISD due to their entire lack of funding – 15% from the State, these kids don’t even have a cafeteria let alone proper books or any sort of extra curricular activity … from there I’d love to be able to gain in funding to help neighboring areas and their school districts, as well as to a neighboring university where I would LOVE to offer free meals and toiletries at least twice a month to all current students. And of course Farmers Markets and so on … I could go on forever! The idea is to form a “restaurant” that serves ramen – a hunger staple, but with a nutritious twist. Produce is grown in our own gardens and sold even for bonus revenue, bones and “stock” items are freshly donated by gracious grocery stores and restaurants wanting to make an impact. Meals will be priced cheaply to adhere to value, and donation receptacles will be available with clear missions.

    Haha … my whole business plan later – my question is about apostrophes and hyphens.

    Wise, clever, or a waste of time? After mulling over a few names, “Slurp n Tine” resonates the most and the google searches look pretty neat and connecting. But to apostrophe or not? “Slurp ‘n Tine” hmmm…

    Back story for the name – slurp ‘cause of noodles of course, and tine because of fork tines as well as a silent dedication to my passed daughter Ferrahtine who makes me want to make sure all babies are fed, all students can focus and parents in need can rest a little easier knowing their childrens bellies are warm and full at least a couple of times a week.

    When searching the name and going through odd variants of spelling and not spacing the google searches are pretty easy none conflicting stuff like how to use a video game power up juice, or “serpentine” a group of green minerals named after Althea idea of a snake which leads to a further definition of “Serpentine- something snake like, coiled” which does work out for noodles in some way lol as well as a couple of supporting revenue projects that deal with plants and gardening but are all geared to the same goal.

  • sandeep says:

    Hello, my name is Sandeep, I am going to start an IT consulting services business. Could you please suggest me a name