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Spotting a bad business name is easy. If you see one, you might not understand what the company does, what they sell.

It might be too long (aka looks terrible on a truck or business card), or uninspiring. 

But you have to give businesses some slack…coming up with a good business name is actually pretty difficult!

We posed a few questions regarding business names in a recent #StartupChat so that we could explore this topic a bit further. Startup Canada organizes these weekly chats to dive into the top issues and trends for entrepreneurs starting and scaling new businesses. 

Here’s a brief summary of tips for choosing a business name (view the full recap here). Thanks to everyone who participated!


Does your business name really matter?

Well, this was a resounding (and perhaps biased) yes! Here are a few reasons why choosing a good business name matters:

  • It tells customers what your business does.
  • It gives an impression of your business values.
  • It’s a way for customers to find you.
  • It can make a difference for SEO.

What makes a good business name?

A good business name:

  • Explains the value your business provides
  • Is catchy/grabs attention/evokes curiosity
  • Is short
  • Is simple
  • Is easy to remember/“sticks”
  • Is unique, not confused with anything else
  • Reflects your business culture
  • Makes sense to your customers
  • Is positive
  • Is respectful
  • Can be clever
  • Is pronounceable
  • Is translatable
  • Is readable from print
  • Is easy to spell
  • Is creative
  • Will fit well in a logo
  • Grows with your company
  • Has an available trademark and domain name

If your name doesn’t check all of these boxes off from this very long list, keep in mind it is but one ingredient of your business. Let other areas, like your branding, marketing, and the value you provide to customers check off the other boxes.


What are some tips for brainstorming a business name?

There are plenty of business name generators out there, but sometimes they fall short of helping find a quality name. Here are some basic tips for brainstorming a business name

  • Include your last name so people can associate your business with your personality.
  • Use alliteration so you’re memorable.
  • Make up a word so people wonder what your business does.
  • Use acronyms to keep your name short and pronounceable.
  • Include location so customers know what markets you serve.

Choosing a name is an important and exciting step in launching your business. Choosing a good name can help new businesses get noticed and remembered by customers - so keep these tips in mind if you're in the brainstorming phase.

P.S. We'll be hosting a webinar all about business websites in 2020 with Startup Canada on October 2nd. Register now!