That which we call a rose: What’s in a (business) name?

When starting a business, choosing the name is a fundamental step. Although choosing a name seems like an easy task, it can be quite difficult. Once you’ve made a choice, it’s not recommended it be changed, especially once you’ve begun the branding process. A business name can ultimately be any word, name, or combination of the two, but there are simple guidelines to follow when making your choice.

Family name

The use of a family name is often where we begin. Family names are typically unique to the particular business and are easily recognisable in your local community. There are several obvious examples such as Ford Motor Company, Stanley Tools and Ferrari. Variations on a name are also popular. Walmart is a good example of blending a family name with a typical word in common usage.


Words that seem to mean nothing are often used. Although Google does have an underlying mathematical definition, most people see it as a non-word. Benefits of taking this direction are the ultimate uniqueness, immediate recognition, and the ease of branding.


Acronyms or backronyms are also methods of naming a company. LG, or “Life Is Good” did not originally mean what it does today. LG stood for “Lucky Goldstar” when the company was first formed. Backronyms typically develop at some point after a business is established, but acronyms can work quite well for a new business just starting. SYSCO Food Services is a good example. Consumers will often be the ones to come up with the acronym, simply for the fact that a long company name takes an effort to remember and to communicate.

Copyrights and Trademarks

Regardless of your chosen business name, it is critical to do your homework and make certain the particular name is not being used by another organisation. Existing trademarks and copyrights should be researched. Domain names are extremely important in branding companies today. If your domain is not available, be sure to see who owns it, and for what purpose it is being used.


You need to be careful that your new company name has no bad associations with existing websites, no matter how juvenile they might be. Using an acronym or variation of your new name may be necessary.

Stay Happy

Ultimately pick a name you will be happy with, assuming you are able to legally use it. In our experience, we’ve found that there are many successful businesses with just awful business names. If you’re just starting out, concentrate on building a good business that offers exceptional products or services and provide amazing customer service to match.

Once you’ve achieved that, you’ll realise your business can be named almost anything and it won’t matter to your customers.

What is your business called and why did you decide on that particular name? And the important question – did you make the right choice?


About the Author: Chau N Ly, Pixel Hero.  Pixel Hero maximises your business presence and return on investment with creative branding, print & online solutions. We provide personable & cost effective creative services to fulfill all your business needs, regardless of whether you’re big or small, established or start up, online or brick & mortar. Check out the Blog for loads more great business tips.

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