What type of business name is right for you?

Naming a company is easy, right? It is natural to think that when some of the most well known company names sound so simple. However, there is often an exhaustive process behind generating name ideas, testing the name for similar-sounding competitors and considering customer reactions. Here’s how a few big companies landed their names.

Founder Name

When starting a new business, it’s not uncommon to name your company after yourself. It could be your full name, just your first name or your surname. Many companies use this naming system for example, John Lewis, Calvin Klein and Ben and Jerry’s. Alternatively, you could use your name to create a new name. Adidas was created from the founder’s name, Adolf (nicknamed Adi) Dassler.

It can be easier to register your name as a business assuming you’re not unlucky enough for it to have already been used. As the name will be linked to you, the spotlight will shine more on you as a person and as a professional, but it will provide no information about your business.

Descriptive Name

This type of name describes the main function of the business or the products it provides. This is a great way to instantly communicate the nature of the business. The downsides are that it may be harder to protect the name if using generic descriptions and the name may no longer be a good fit if the company focus shifts over time. Therefore, this works better for single-purpose companies like WeTransfer, an online file transfer site.


Usually, a company will start with a full spelling of their business name before they are established enough to reduce it to an acronym. There are only 26 letters in the alphabet so finding a unique acronym might be tricky. There are plenty of companies out there who have been so successful that you might not even realise their name is an acronym for example, M.A.C. stands for Make-up Art Cosmetics. So, yes, calling them M.A.C. cosmetics is totally unnecessary!

New Spellings

Altering the spelling of a word will make it easier to copyright and allows for descriptive words to become less generic. Netflix came from the words ‘internet’ and ‘flicks’ (slang for movies). Two simple words that combined with an altered spelling is now recognisable all over the world.

Aspirational Names

Some names take inspiration from qualities and stories they want to express. A name like Nike might sound made up but, actually, it comes from a Greek goddess with the same name linked to speed, strength and victory – suitable associations for a sportswear company.

The right name can take on a life of its own and become synonymous with a product or service.

“Just Google it.”

“Netflix and Chill.”

“I Ubered home.”

Which name type did you use?