I recently read a great blog post, from a company called The Name Inspector, about how to name your company or product. Whether your goal is to raise capital or gain the interest of partners or customers, the names of your company and products are critical.
In fact, when we first launched Growthink a decade ago, we started with the name BestBizPlan since we initially focused just on developing business plans. Realizing that we would expand beyond business planning, we changed the name to Growthink to reflect our desire and skill sets in helping entrepreneurs and business owners in growing their businesses via planning, capital raising, marketing, strategy and more.
The Growthink name has a better connotation and helps client, prospective clients, partners and employees better understand and relate to our mission. While I cannot attribute our company's success solely to our name, it certainly has helped us.
So, here are the ten ways for you to create great company (and/or product) names as suggested by The Name Inspector:
1. Use Real Words: These are names that are simply repurposed words. (e.g., Adobe, Amazon, Fox, Yelp)
This category also includes misspelled words (e.g., Digg (dig), flickr (flicker)) and foreign words (e.g., Vox (Latin 'voice').
2. Use Compounds: These names consist of two words put together (e.g., Firefox, Facebook).
3. Phrases: These names follow normal rules for combining words (but are not compounds) (e.g., MySpace, StumbleUpon).
4. Use Blends: Blended names have two parts, at least one of which can be recognized as a part of a real word (e.g., Netscape (net + landscape); Wikipedia (wiki + encyclopedia)).
5. Use Tweaked Words: Tweaked word names are derived from words that have been slightly changed in pronunciation and spelling - commonly derived from adding or replacing a letter (e.g., ebay, iTunes).
6. Use Affixed Words: These are unique names that result from taking a real word and adding a suffix or prefix (e.g., Friendster, Omnidrive).
7. Use Made Up or Obscure Origin Words: These names are generally short names that are either completely made up, or, since their origins are so obscure, they may as well have been made up (e.g., Bebo, Plaxo).
8. Use Puns: Puns are names that modify words/phrases to suggest a different meaning (e.g., Farecast (forecast, fore -> fare), Writely (rightly, right -> write))
9. Use People's Names: using a general name or the name from a personal connection (e.g., Ning (a Chinese name), Wendy's (founder Dave Thomas' daughter's nickname)).
10. Use Initials and Acronyms: names derived from the first letter of each word in the longer, more official name (e.g., AOL (America Online), FIM (Fox Interactive Media)).