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Five tips for coming up with creative business names

3-minute read

Sam Bromley

12 December 2017

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Coming up with creative business name ideas can be difficult. But it doesn’t need to be impossible.

  • A guide to going self-employed in the UK

Insuring over 600,000 businesses means we've encountered plenty of people who’ve been creative when coming up with name ideas.

We even featured two of our favourites in our latest brand campaign: Spex in the City and Surelock Homes.

Spex in the City

We included those and other punny names in our list of the UK’s best small business pun names.

Sometimes creative ideas fall into our lap fully formed. Gillian Caplan, owner of Spex in the City, was enjoying some wine while watching Sex and the City when she had her burst of inspiration.

Our favourite creative business names

Before you start, why not take a look at other businesses for inspiration on how to get creative when thinking of a name.

  • Twitter: the team went down the ‘tw’ section in a dictionary and found Twitter. They thought chirps from birds resembled phone notifications.
  • Aldi: Aldi is a combination of Albrecht, the name of the business’s founders, and discount.
  • Five Guys: the burger chain was founded by five guys, Jerry Murrell and his sons.
  • Apple: apples were Steve Jobs’s favourite fruit. He liked the name because it was different from the unapproachable names of other computer companies.

But it’s not just the big hitters who get creative when it comes to their business names. Small business owners love coming up with memorable names too. They’re often rather punny...

  • Deja Brew: this coffee house in Denton in Greater Manchester uses a pun to make sure people stay familiar with the name.
  • Planet of the Grapes: the name of these London wine bars and restaurants riff on the 1968 Charlton Heston classic.
  • Lino Richie: this flooring specialist is clearly a fan of puns. "Is it me you’re looking floor" is printed on the side of the van.

Five tips for coming up with your own creative business name ideas

1. Your business name should mean something

Spex in the City and Surelock Homes leave you in no doubt as to what the businesses offer. Business names should reflect what you’ve set out in your business plan.

It should provoke an emotional response inside you, too. If it doesn’t mean anything to you, it probably won’t mean anything to your customers.

2. Don’t limit your business before it takes off

If you name your business after a location but then want to expand beyond that area, you might need to rebrand.

Do also check to make sure that your business name isn’t taken by anyone else already or trademarked. Also, have a quick check – has anyone already taken it as a web domain?

3. Is the business name catchy?

People enjoy saying catchy business names. But if a name is too confusing or a mouthful to say, there’s less chance it will resonate with the customers you’re hoping to attract.

Say your ideas aloud. Sometimes what looks great written down can end up sounding not-so-great when spoken.

4. Use a business name generator

You can even use an online business name generator to find creative business name ideas. Some of these generators can give you visuals around a keyword and also generate names based on a theme.

Flicking through a dictionary and a thesaurus can also lead you to words you didn’t even know existed.

But avoiding hard-to-spell or complex names is also sound advice. In a digital world, this can make your business unnecessarily tricky to find online.

5. Get feedback

And finally, bouncing ideas off another person is always useful. Feedback from friends, family, and colleagues will inform what you eventually go for.

If you’ve got what you think is a great name, prove it by testing it on your customers. If it’s not having the effect that you hoped for, it might be time to go back to the drawing board.

In many ways though, the most important person in this process is you. Have fun coming up with ideas, be creative, and choose one that you’re pleased with. You’ll (hopefully) be living with it for a while!

How do you come up with creative business name ideas? Tell us in the comments below.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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