Creating a catchy company name
Creating a catchy company name for a new business is always necessary: whether you just start working as a freelancer or found a fully-fledged start-up with all the trimmings. Beyond this, companies might want to change their names when their branch of trade changes, when conflicts with trademark law arise, or when they merge with another organisation.
Your own name as the name of your company
If you are starting a business and are already well known in your area, it can make sense to use your own name as a company name (e.g.: Dr. Michael Houston: Business Consulting).
Sometimes, however, people choose their own name as a company name because it is the first and easiest solution that comes to mind. What people often do not realize however is that this is just one of many options.
Let's say that a barber named Marc Smith opens a salon: he could simply call it Marc Smith's Hairdressing Salon, and although this is not particularly creative, it is perfectly fine - unless of course by coincidence another Marc Smith owns a salon nearby. Even though it is his own name, Marc has to make sure that he does not violate any existing name or trademark rights.
Fantasy names as company names
Anyone who founds a start-up will usually start looking for a expressive, unique and catchy company name that stands out and conveys a message. An example for this would be 'Chronoseum' for a business trading with high-quality watches.
Now, the owner could just call his business Paul Jones Watches: but as long as our Mr. Jones is not already known as a watch expert, the name Chronoseum could help to convey a sophisticated image and stick in the minds of the watch-buying public.
In the same vain, our barber might try to style and dress up his name a little: he could call himself the King of Curls, or shave the name back to the bare minimum with a moniker like The Hairport - especially if his shop happens to be under a flight-path. After all, the sky is the limit when it comes to fantasy names.
Other examples for fantasy company names are:
- Noodle Empire (Italian take-out food)
- Harmony & Balance (beauty salon)
- Bodymaster (fitness trainer)
- Optimal Offices (stationary, office furnishings)
- Babalino (child care), etc.
As you can see, there are so many ways to find an original name that draws attention. And with the right idea, the name of your company alone can already serve as a great advertisement for your business.
So how do you come up with original names and ideas for your company?
It is helpful to start by looking for keywords that sound good before starting to combine and alter them. You can test a whole bunch of practical naming tools on the NameRobot website for free: you will find Synonyms, the Languages tool, Rhymes and much more.
If you like the ideas you get there, you can advance to the even more sophisticated name-generators (fee-based) which combine and change your keywords and suggest naming ideas or create fantasy names at the click of a mouse.
Thoroughly investigate potential company names
No matter what kind of name you choose: in-depth online research, as well as a Domain Check and Trademark Check are required to avoid taking any unnecessary risks with the law. This applies even more for fantasy names than when you choose your own name as a business name. For a quick check, enter your desired name into a internet search engine in at least one variation.
A German florist who wants to name his business "Rosenkavalier" ("rose cavalier"), for example, would be wise to do a Google search with this name. After looking at the first few pages he will find out that there are already several shops named after the famous opera. In this kind of situation, you will either have to amend the name, add something to it, or discard it altogether.
If the internet search does not reveal any direct competitors with your name however, then it is best to continue with the Domain Check: are many domains with this name already taken by someone else? If this is the case, are these people competitors or just someone who happens to have decided on the same name from a different branch of trade?
The fastest way to find this out is with the free, speedy Domain Check provided by NameRobot. It can find out many domain extensions and their occupancy for your name with just one single click at once. You can click on possible matches and are lead directly to the page in question.
Furthermore, you can search in online directories, Yellow Pages and online trading databases. When the Domain Check is done, all that is left to do is to check whether your choice or a similar name is already registered as a trademark. An initial overview of identical names is supplied by NameRobot's Trademark Check.
Renaming an existing company
In general, the rules for finding a name for a new business also apply to finding a new name for an existing company. A new name might be necessary when a company broadens its range or when it merges with a different business. However, there a a few more factors to consider than with a new start-up:
Existing employees, customers and suppliers have to get used to the new name. Therefore, it is important to communicate plausible reasons for why you had to change the name of your existing company. Otherwise, no matter how original, or even the suitable, the new name is, it might be swept off the table because people "think it's stupid" or regard the name change as "unnecessary".
In a case where companies or divisions merge, it might be wise to incorporate elements of both company names into the new name. Yet even if the name change happens for another reason, it might be better try to keep and "save" elements of the old name and integrate them into the new name.
The NameRobot Merger and Acronyms tools were designed specially for this purpose to help you go through all variations you can (or cannot) think of.
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* The names mentioned in this article serve as examples only and are not related to NameRobot.