It goes without saying that if you’re going to start a business, you need to give it a name. A really cool and catchy name, at that.
But choosing a business name is no simple task. Beyond landing on a name that sounds cool, you need to find a name that’s relevant, flexible and memorable.
This post will help you find the perfect name for your company. You’ll learn where some of the best company names come from, tips for picking the right name and 100+ creative business name ideas to get you started.
Need a little nudge? Try Wix’s free business name generator.
What’s the secret behind the best business names?
The best company names don’t come about by drawing a name out of a hat. A lot of thought needs to be put into crafting the name. As you begin brainstorming the best company names for your establishment, keep the following factors in mind:
Simplicity: Short, simple business names are easier for people to recall. If you can’t avoid a longer name, consider giving it a user-friendly acronym as well. For example, most people know the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as ASPCA.
Originality: Pick a name that can stand on its own two feet. Avoid names that are easy to confuse with another business’ or are too generic. Check that your desired name isn’t already registered in your state or trademarked.
Keywords: Think of keywords that represent your brand’s core values and personality. You don’t necessarily need to add any of these words to your business name, but they can act as a springboard for your brainstorming. Take Tinder, for example. Its founders knew that fire would be an important symbol in their branding and messaging. The word “fire” doesn’t appear in the company name but inspired the name they chose.
Evergreen-ness: The choices you make for your business’s branding need to have long-lasting staying power. So, it’s generally not a good idea to base your name on temporary trends or fads. Instead, choose a name that’s future-proof and able to grow with your business.
Memorability: Make sure that your name stands out, both now and in the future. One option is to inject humor into your name. Alternatively, use idioms, alliteration, power words and/or onomatopoeia to increase its memorability factor.
Spelling: You want people to be able to recall the spelling of your name when they go to look up your business online or suggest it to others. To that end, choose a name that’s easy to spell. That goes for real words as well as made-up ones like Instagram.
Pronunciation: The easier a brand name is to pronounce, the easier it’ll be for them to say it out loud (and for others to remember, too). This can sometimes be an issue when creating a business name from foreign words. For instance, Fage may be a well-known yogurt brand now, but not everyone is confident in how to pronounce it. (FYI, it’s pronounced “fa-yeh.”)
The origins of 20 cool, iconic company names
Wondering how the most iconic companies came up with their names? Read on to see how today’s industry giants came up with their now-famous monikers.
The word “Verizon” has two roots. “Ver” comes from the Latin veritas, meaning “truth.” “Izon” comes from the English word “horizon.” Verizon wasn’t a random word that the owners cooked up—rather the company spent $300 million to create the brand name and the marketing around it. “Verizon” was just one of 8,500 possible names considered.
According to Reddit’s FAQs page, the name has a simple origin. It’s a misspelling of the words “read it.” As in, “I read it on Reddit.” As it turns out, the Latin reddit has a relevant meaning: “to submit for consideration or approval.” This connection between the Latin verb and the online discussion platform is a total fluke though.
Netflix’s name began with a whiteboard and a mission to combine one internet-related word with one movie-related word. The final result put together “net,” a shortened form of internet and “flix,” a colloquial version of the word “films”—a much catchier portmanteau than others in the running (TakeTwo and NowShowing, to name a few).
04. The North Face
Although the idea behind The North Face originated on a beach, the business is named after the coldest and most difficult-to-climb side of a mountain. The name was meant to attract hiking, mountaineering and outdoor enthusiasts who are on the hunt for high-performance climbing and backpacking gear.
Daniel Ek, cofounder of Spotify, went on Quora to tell the origin story of the brand name. As he and cofounder Martin Lorentzon were spitballing names, Ek misheard a name as Spotify. He quickly googled it and found that it was available as a domain name—and voila, Spotify was born. (The afterconstruction, according to Ek, is to say that Spotify stems from “spot” and “identify.”)
The North Face isn’t the only business concept that began on a beach. Wix’s three co-founders were on a beach when they came up with the idea of a no-code, no-cost platform that would allow anyone to build a business website. The goal was to think of a name that started with a W and was easy to remember, consistent with their mission to build a platform that’s easy to use and supports creative expression.
If you’re familiar with the Greek language, then you probably have a good idea of where Sephora comes from. The Greek word sephos means “beauty.” The company’s name also draws inspiration from Zipporah, the wife of Moses who was known for her beauty. In Greek, her name is transliterated as Sepphōra.
08. Squatty Potty
Squatty Potty might not be a universal household staple, but the company has made tens of millions of dollars on this effective bathroom appliance. The creators originally toyed around with different names. “The Health Step” was one. “The Stool Stool” was another. “The S@#$ Shelf” was an even cruder one. In the end, they named it the Squatty Potty, a reference to the hole-in-the-ground toilets used in China.
When Airbnb first started out, both the concept and name were different. The owners came up with the website for Airbed & Breakfast as a way to help out-of-towners book space (i.e., sleeping on an air mattress) in someone’s room. The business concept evolved to enable users to rent out entire apartments, homes and hotel rooms. Airbed & Breakfast became known as Airbnb from that point forward.
10. Dr Pepper
The founder of Dr Pepper, Wade Morrison, was not a physician. However, he knew a Dr. Charles Pepper in real life. He was the father of a girl that he once loved.
Many have speculated about the origins of the name Slack. That’s because it’s a project management term for the amount of time a task can be delayed without causing issues. Cofounder Stewart Butterfield, however, says that it’s an acronym for searchable log of all conversation and knowledge.
Etsy might have a cute-sounding name, but that wasn’t why cofounder Rob Kalin chose the moniker. Because this was going to be a platform unlike any other, he wanted the brand name to be a nonsensical word. He came up with that nonsensical word from real Italian words. While watching the movie 8½, he misheard someone say “et si” (the actual phrase is e si). In Italian, it means “oh, yes.”
Although the IKEA brand is known for its Scandinavian-inspired product names, the company name doesn’t come from any of these languages. According to the company website, IKEA is an acronym for Ingvar Kamprad (the founder’s name) Elmtaryd (the farm that Kamprad grew up on) and Agunnaryd (the village near where Kamprad lived).
14. College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk & Moving
If you’ve ever seen one of the massive moving trucks around your town before, you may have wondered if the company really is staffed by a bunch of hunky college kids. A blog post on the company site from 2013 explains what the H.U.N.K.S acronym actually stands for honest, uniformed, nice, knowledgeable students.
While some believe that “Mazda” (formally called “Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd.”) was inspired by its founder Jujiro Matsuda’s name, that’s only partially true. The company name also has a mythical origin: Ahura Mazda is the god of harmony, intelligence and wisdom celebrated by early West Asian civilizations. As the company’s site explains, “Striving to make a contribution to world peace and to be a light in the automotive industry, Toyo Kogyo was renamed ‘Mazda Motor Corporation.’”
Craigslist was founded by Craig Newmark, and the original concept for Craigslist was an email list that would help Newmark’s friends learn about what was going on around San Francisco. This all goes to show that sometimes the best company names have the simplest of origins.
The name Mattel may not look like a familiar word. However, it is, in fact, a portmanteau stemming from two well-known names: Harold “Matt” Matson and Elliot Handler, cofounders of Mattel.
Tinder was originally going to be called “Matchbox,” according to Tinder cofounder Jonathan Badeen. Jonathan and his team had even designed the logo and branding around the name, incorporating fire-related imagery as an abstract concept for “finding a spark.” But the founders ultimately pivoted to “Tinder”—a name that maintained the fire element but wasn’t as commonly used.
Starbucks’ founders weren’t as concerned with choosing a cool-sounding business name as they were with finding one that represented their brand well. They needed a name that tapped into a sense of adventure, had a connection to the Pacific Northwest and related to the seafaring origins of the early coffee traders. As the company website explains, there was an overlap between two of their main sources of inspiration: “Starbo,” the name of a mining camp on Mt. Rainier—and “Starbuck,” the name of Pequod’s first mate in the novel Moby-Dick.
20. Panera Bread
Panera Bread originally began as a single bakery called the St. Louis Bread Company. After five years of major growth, the company was acquired by Au Bon Pain. To make the brand more marketable on a national scale, the business was renamed “Panera Bread.” Panera in Latin means “breadbasket.”
Get inspired: 105 catchy, cool and creative company names
As demonstrated above, some of the most iconic names weren’t created by huge marketing teams with equally massive budgets. They were, rather, the invention of a few creative minds sitting together in a room.
Whether you’re about to launch a new business endeavor or looking to rebrand a current one, you can easily do the same. Rather than start completely from scratch, comb through these lists of great company names. You’ll find a good mix of inspiration here, from real company names to ones generated using Wix’s free business name generator.
App company names
Check out Wix’s app name generator.
Artistic business names
Nature in Color (photography studio)
Fire Talent (talent agency)
Check out Wix’s artist name Generator.
Beauty business names
The Cuteness (beauty salon)
Elemental Beauty (natural hair products)
Check out Wix’s beauty business name generator.
Blog and media names
Freelance Connection (blog about freelancing)
Miami Food Dude (local food blogger)
Check out Wix’s blog name generator.
Boutique business names
Silky Curves (lingerie boutique shop)
The Marry Bride (wedding boutique)
Check out Wix’s boutique name generator.
Clothing and fashion business names
Surf Comber (beachside clothing shop)
Smuggler Shoes (footwear reseller)
Check out Wix’s clothing and fashion brand name generator.
Furniture company names
The Small-Time Furniture Store (furniture for kids’ rooms)
Real Home Office (office furniture shop)
Check out Wix’s furniture store name generator.
Jewelry business names
Watertight Watches (sports watch manufacturer)
Silver Bakery (custom-made jewelry designer)
Check out Wix’s jewelry business name generator.
Keto & I (podcast about journey with Keto diet)
Eternal Widow (podcast about the black widow serial killer)
Check out Wix’s podcast name generator.
The Athens (Greek restaurant)
Lobster Nook (seafood food truck)
Check out Wix’s restaurant name generator.
Small business names
Remarkable Candle (local candle maker)
Air Yoga (yoga studio)
Check out Wix’s small business name generator.
Bookmarked (online book store)
Pure Grocery (organic grocery store)
Check out Wix’s store name generator.
Technology company names
Check out Wix’s tech company name generator.
Travel company names
Joyful Italy (tour operator)
The Pack Vacation Rentals (dog-friendly rentals)
Check out Wix’s travel agency name generator.
YouTube channel names
Moody Kale (DIY cooking channel)
Slick Workout Gear (unboxing channel)
Check out Wix’s YouTube channel name generator.
5 tips for coming up with the best company name
Before you make a business website, both your company and its matching domain need a name. Here are five tips to keep in mind.
01. Do your research
Before you start thinking of names, make sure you have a good understanding of the market you’re about to enter. Doing an analysis of the competitive landscape can give you a good idea of what sorts of company names are best.
For instance, does your target audience appreciate a sense of humor when naming a company? If you take a look at local beauty salons, you’re apt to find a lot of puns in their business names.
See what’s going on in your particular market and if you can spot any trends. Also, look for concepts and keywords that the competition has failed to capitalize on. Choosing a name that has untapped potential could be a great move for your business.
02. Play around with different options
There are so many ways to construct a business name. For example:
Straightforward name vs. a playful or catchy name
One-word name vs. a name with multiple words
Full name vs. acronym
Real words vs. made-up words
Collective brand name vs. person’s name
As you generate business name options, experiment with different styles. You may find that an unexpected one suits your brand’s style best. Or, you may find that one stands out more effectively when displayed side-by-side with your competitors’ names.
Before you move onto the next step, confirm that the company names that you’re considering are available. Check that they’re available as a domain name, plus aren’t registered or trademarked by another business. You can check your state’s business registry and the USPTO’s trademark database, respectively.
03. Get feedback
What you think is a cool company name might fall flat with your target audience. The best time to find out if that’s the case is before you’ve spent money on registering your business name and generating your branding.
Before you officially settle on one name, come up with a number of options. Then run them by people you trust—co-founders, team members, family, friends, old colleagues, etc. It’s also a good idea to connect with potential users on social media, or by hosting focus groups and user interviews. This way, you can give your target audience various options to look at and learn their preferences.
04. Claim your business name
Once you have a winning name, it’s time to claim it. There are a number of steps to consider when you go to register a business name.
Register your business. Each state has its own unique processes and requirements, but at minimum, you’ll need to decide which type of business entity you want to establish. From there, you can file the right paperwork and pay any necessary fees to get your business registered. (Note: if you want to operate under a name that’s different from your legal name, you’ll have to file for a DBA separately.)
Buy the domain name. You can get a domain name for your business’s website through your website builder or a third-party hosting service. The sooner you can snag up the domain that matches your business name, the better.
Get it trademarked. Trademarking your name will allow you to protect your business’s title and branding from being copied and exploited by others. Look up the trademark office for your country to register your business name.
Create social media accounts. Once all the legal naming is done and your website’s domain name is official, get your business online using social media. The handles you use on these platforms should be identical to your domain name and business name in order to strengthen brand recognition.
05. Create a logo to match
The best company names have beautiful branding to match. So, last but not least, you’ll have to spend time creating your own logo for your new company name.
Your logo design should include the business name—either the full name or a shortened but still recognizable version of it. It should additionally have colors, fonts and layouts that align with your business’s values, purpose and goals.