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How to get catchy & good business names ideas

Finding cool company names isn’t an easy task. Gladly, there are different techniques which help you finding business names ideas.

Learn about your competition

It doesn’t really matter which other techniques you use learning about your competition is always valuable. Start googling, use yelp, etc. Write down all the names you can find and start categorizing them. I will use dog groom as an example. Let’s say we search dog groomers in NYC.  I looked up the first 30 entries in yelp.

Wordplays Location Personal Doghouse Translation Emotional
The PawlourHell's Kitchen Groom RoomMy Two DogsDowntown DoghouseLe Pitou IAnimal Love Care
Pup CultureDowntown DoghouseWalter's Pet StylesLic Doghouse
GroomingdalesNew York Dog Spa & HotelReme's Oggi Pets
The Salty PawTown House Grooming & Pet SuppliesMarie's Pet Grooming
Doogie DearestNY Puppy ClubMeeka's Pet Grooming
A Cut Above Grooming SalonRocco And Jezebel for Pets
Doggie Style Pet Grooming
Perfect Paws
Happy Paws
The Shaggy Dog
Calling All Paws
Doggy Stylez Grooming
Rapawzel Dog Groomer
D is for Doggy
Bark Slope Salon

You can see a lot of wordplays and some location- and personal-related names. You can orient your name on your findings.

Spelling & pronunciation & easy to remember

Whatever company name you choose it has to have three attributes. The first one is easy to remember. It doesn’t matter how great and clever or cool your business name is if nobody can remember it. A good test is to take your top 5 – 20 business names ideas and write them on a paper. Give this paper to a friend or customer or whatever and let them read it for a short time. After a few minutes you ask which name they remembered.

The second most important attribute is spelling or pronunciation depending on your channel. It’s about translating the idea of a name into reality. Let’s say you got an non-internet business then pronunciation should be your second highest priority. People will talk with each other and they will talk about businesses they loved. If they can’t pronounce your name because it is in French, Latin or Zulu you’ve lost. Same thing applies here. Let people pronounce your name and check which one is the easiest to pronounce.

The third attribute is spelling. It’s basically the same as pronunciation but for the internet / sms. Also people may want to look up your business online so spelling is essential. A simple is rule is that if you can’t write your own name without looking it up then it’s to complicated. An other example are those startup names from about 2 – 4 years ago like Flickr, Twttr (now Twitter), etc. Horrible to write but twitter did it right with renaming their service.

Steal it

If you are just lazy there’s one simple trick to cool company names but it doesn’t work for every industry. It works the best for local businesses. Let’s continue with our dog groomers example. You want to open your shop in NYC but you can’t come up with a name. Easy. Go to yelp and look for dog groomers in other cities which are away far enough. For NYC: Boston, LA, Denver, etc. could be great locations to check out. Often you can copy the name directly or slightly adapt it.

Phonological loop Part I: Rhymes

A real great tool is the phonological loop. It’s explained in detail in the video below.

The main idea is that there is a memory function in your brain that starts repeating things over and over. Earworms or brainworms, i.e. catchy songs are a great example of this. A similar effect can be generated by using rhymes in your name. In the dog grooming example. Here are some ideas: Booming Dog Grooming, Humor Dog Groomer, Blooming Dog Grooming, etc. It’s easy and you can start with different words, just look in a thesaurus and brainstorm a bit.

Phonological loop Part II: Alliterations

The second technique for creating catchy names is using alliterations, i.e. using the same starting letter. You can look up words with the same letter in a dictionary without problems. Again examples: Dave’s Dog Dojo or Grooming Grove.

Attribute + product / service

This techniques works well for more product-oriented or result-orientied businesses. Some examples are Quickbooks (quick + bookkeeping), rapidshare (rapid + sharing), simplyhired (simple + getting hired), soundcloud (sound + in the cloud), etc. These are pretty good names because they are easy to remember and they can be powerful because you can advertise your USP directly in your name. For the dog grooming examples this could be names like BeautifulDog or HappyPuppy or easyGrooming.

One word

The last one becomes more popular in the moment. The idea is to use just one common word and work with it. Examples are Apple, Simple or Box. To get these names off the ground however is really hard and I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t have experience in brand building and/or a big budget. For the dog grooming example this could be Groomers or Dogs.

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