The E-Commerce Column

What's in a business name? Tips for picking the right one for your business.

On a recent episode of HBO's new hit TV series Silicon Valley, the main characters fought over the creativity of their product name, Pied Piper. Throughout the episode each character tries to come up with a better name that will define their business while poking fun at the current naming trends throughout tech companies. If you really think about it, most successful tech companies have followed similar naming conventions with some easily identifiable patterns over the last fifteen years. Dropped vowels (Flickr, Tumblr) or blended words (Instagram - Instant + telegram) are just a few of the trends we have seen over the years. While at first most of these names sound silly, if the company becomes successful we all end up using these nouns as verbs no matter how goofy they sound. 

Naming your business is often one of the most exciting parts at the beginning of your business. But coming up with fresh ideas can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you find the right name for your business:

Define your vision, values, and passion?

What do you want to be known for? What is the legacy you want to leave behind? Take the time to write down key descriptive words about your vision, values, and passions, and use this as a starting point to brainstorm your business name. Finding the right words might take awhile and you might have to dig deep to find them so don't hesitate to get the opinion of others close to you. 

keep it simple

Don't stress yourself over fitting everything that you do into one to two words because you will drive yourself mad. The best business names are one to two words and not all of them tells you exactly what the business does. Keep hyphens out of it. You want Google to find it easily, don't you?

avoid boxing yourself in

Don't pick names that limit you to one geographic location or product. You want to grow your business and if you limit yourself by putting your name into specific categories it will be confusing to new customers.


So you think you have a name in mind? Great. Now go out and tell your friends, test it out on potential clients, and ask them to tell you honestly what they think. Is it cliche? Is it a name you want to say? What do you like about it? What do you hate about it? And then ask them the next day if they remember it. 

make sure that the domain is available

This might sound obvious, but a miss here could cost you dearly.. We can even go back to Silcon Valley on this one. was owned by an irrigation company who wanted thousands from the startup to purchase the domain. Don't fall in love with a business name until you know for sure, it is yours and only yours. 

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Will StrohlWill Strohl

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