Cool Business Names - Because a Good Business Needs a Great Name

Updated on October 2, 2018
ControlledChaos1 profile image

Although I've never had the courage to start a business (yet), I find entrepreneurship and business very fascinating.

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Good Business Name Ideas Can Come From Companies Past, Present and Future

When trying to figure out how to pick the perfect name for your business startup, you should try your best to have as much of as say in the naming process as possible. Never let someone else do it, if you can help it. Starting a business takes passion, and coming up with a list of possible name ideas that matter to you and the future of your fledgling empire shouldn't be left in anyone's hands but yours. One of the best ways to come up with a great name for your business is to look at other businesses.

I love companies with interesting names, but what I love more is learning how they came up with that name. If you know that, then coming up with a name for your company that is different and unique can be a bit easier. That's what this article is all about. You're likely to recognize some of the names below, but I'd be willing to bet that there will be many that you don't recognize. What you will find are names that either currently belong to a company or have belonged to a business in the past. Most will have explanations on how the name was given, but business names that sound cool will be included even if I can't found out their story. Some may even be available for you to trademark yourself, just be sure to check before actually using it.

I really hope you find the list of names below useful, no matter the reason you came across this article. I know that I had a lot of fun writing it and will continue to have fun keeping it updated with new and interesting names.

Learn how to come up with a great name for your company by looking at how other companies came up with their name.

Logo belongs to Bic.
Logo belongs to Bic.

Cool and Creative Business Names

3M: This shortened name comes from the original: Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing.

7-Eleven: The name refers to the hours the store is open.

Aflac: First letter from each word of previous name, which was American Family Life Assurance Company.

Akamai: The company’s name means "smart" or "clever" in Hawaiian.

Alcoa: Aluminum Company of America.

Alibaba Group: Asked a waitress what she knew about Alibaba and she said "Open Sesame", which in the story opens a secret door to a treasure room.

Amazon: Jeff Bezos said that the river was the inspiration for naming his company. The Earth's biggest river; the Earth's biggest selection.

Amgen: The original name of the company was Applied Molecular Genetics.

Apple: The favorite fruit of the co-founder Steve Jobs, which also worked at an apple orchard.

Applied Materials

Arby’s: From the initials of the Raffel Brothers, which were the founders.

Arm & Hammer: From the old logo of the Vulcan Spice Mills which was based on the arm and hammer of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and metalworking.

Bacardi Limited: Named after the founder Don Facundo Bacardi Masso.

Batesville Casket Company: It’s roots can be traced back to 1884 where John Hillenbrand produced handmade wooden caskets. The company was founded in Batesville, Indiana and is still headquartered there. Bought by Hillenbrand Industry in 1906 and still owned by them.

Berkshire Hathaway: This was a textile company at first formed by the merger of Berkshire Fine Spinning and Hathaway Manufacturing. Mr. Buffet purchased the business and then converted it into a holding company.

BIC: This pen company was named after Marcel Bich (one of its founders) who dropped the h to avoid mispronunciation.

Black Isle Studios: When coming up with names for movie companies the world is really at your doorstep, as the choices are endless and the name doesn't have to have anything to do with the film industry unless you want it to.

Bridgestone: Named after founder Shojiro Ishibashi. Ishibashi means “bridge of stone”.

Caterpillar: In 1925 Best Tractor merged with Holt Tractor. Someone made the comment that when the tracks were moving they resembled a caterpillar crawling.

Cheesecake Factory: Although you can order more that just cheesecake now, make no mistake, the entrepreneur decided upon this name for one reason and one reason alone - they wanted to make and sell cheesecakes.

Coca-Cola: From the coca leaves and kola nuts used to make the beverage. The creator made the K into a C because it looked better.

Comcast: From communications and broadcast.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Crayola: From the French word “craie”, meaning “stick of chalk” and “ola” meaning “oily”.

Criterion: Turns out wonderful movies on DVD and Blu-ray with all kinds of special features. The word means "a principle or standard by which something is judged".

ESPN: Entertainment and Sports Programming Network.

Etsy: The founder wanted a meaningless word for branding purposes, so he watched a lot of foreign movies and wrote down ideas.

Facebook: These books were once given to new students to help them get to know each other better.

Ferrari: From founder Enzo Ferrari.

Fossil Group: This watch company’s name came out of the nickname of the founder’s father.

Fruit of the Loom: The name was inspired by paintings of fruit done by the daughter of a customer. The company made the name official in 1871, making it one of the world's oldest trademarks.

Fuddruckers: This hamburger joint’s name was inspired by a fake airline called Fudpucker Airlines, which was a made-up company aviation nerds have joked about for decades.

Logo belongs to Google
Logo belongs to Google

Entrepreneurship Is In Your Blood

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Some Mistakes To Avoid When Naming Your Business

Unique and Catchy Business Names Take Time To Come Up With

Ghostbusters: This may be a fictional company, but if it were a real one, you couldn't ask for a more precise name for a company. The logo they came up with looks awesome as well.

Ghost House Pictures: This movie production company was founded by Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert way back in 2002.

Gilead Sciences: From a name used in the bible. Instances where people and places were called Gilead.

GoDaddy: Wanted to change name from Jomax Technologies in 1999, so employees had a brainstorming session and came up with “Big Daddy”. That domain was taken, so the idea grew into “Go Daddy”. The founder Bob Parsons liked it because it made people smile.

Google: After the word googol, which means 1 followed by one hundred 0’s. Originally misspelled, but stuck with because google.com was unregistered.

Grupo Modelo

Hain Celestial Group: A food company best known for it's tea, thanks to the purchase of Celestial Seasonings a few years ago.

Hallmark: Goldsmiths used the word as a “mark of quality”. The founders liked the fact that “hallmark” not only referenced quality, but also included his family name in it.

Happy Madison Productions: Its founder Adam Sandler came up with the name of the company from two of his successful movies Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison.

Hasbro: Derived from the Hassenfeld Brothers, which founded the company.

Hooters: This company name has a double meaning, referring to the owl on the logo and female breasts.

Hospira: Inspired by the words hospital, spirit, inspire and the Latin word spero (which means hope). The employees felt that these words should always present in healthcare.

J.C. Penny: From the founder James Cash Penney.

Jim Henson’s Creature Shop: Named after the founder Jim Henson.

Kenworth: Company name derived from its founders Harry Kent and Edgar Worthington.

Kickstarter: The definition of kick-start is to cause something to start quickly or to give something new energy. I can see why the founders chose the name.

Kool-Aid

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions

Lego: In Latin lego means “I put together”, but the company claims the name came from “leg godt”, which is Danish for “play well”.

London Fog

Lycos: From the family of wolf spiders known as Lycosidae.

Choose Your Poison

What do you think is more important in a business?

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Logo belongs to Krispy Kreme.
Logo belongs to Krispy Kreme.

Good Business Names Can Come Out of Nowhere... Sometimes

Magnum Hunter Resources Corp

Mars: The maker of Milky Way, M&M’s, Snickers, Uncle Ben’s Rice, Pedigree pet foods and more got its name from the founder of the company, Franklin Clarence Mars.

Microsoft: Bill Gates came up with this company name by what the company did, which was microcomputer software.

Mondelez International: Sometimes you can learn from bad business names. This American company wanted a name more "worldly", but with such great products like Nabisco, Chips Ahoy!, Ritz and Cadbury, it makes me scratch my head as to why they chose the name they did. You can't relate the name to the products.

Monster Beverage: The name demonstrates the kick you get after consuming the drink itself. The logo plays as key a role as the name itself.

Nabisco: Originally called The National Biscuit Company and changed to Nabisco in 1971.

Nike: In ancient Greece Nike was a goddess who personified victory.

Pandora Media: It means “all gifted” in Greek. As everyone knows, Pandora was very curious, and the company wanted a name that celebrated curious people who liked the experience of discovering new music.

Patagonia: Named after mountainous regions found in Chile and Argentina in which the founder spent time in.

Public Storage: A very spot-on name for a company that stores all the stuff that people don't have room for at their homes.

QVC: Quality, Value and Convenience.

Raytheon: A defense company whose name means “light of the gods” in Greek.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Rotten Tomatoes: The name was inspired from the practice of audiences throwing rotten tomatoes when they were shown a poor performance.

Safeskin: This maker of surgical gloves has a very practical name that tells exactly what its product does.

Sealed Air: Named after the “sealed air” found in it’s number one product, Bubble Wrap.

Silver Wheaton

Sony: From the Latin word sonus, which means “sound”. The fact that the name can be pronounced easily in many languages played a huge role in choosing it.

Spotify:The founders were doing a brainstorming session trying to come up with a name one day and one suggestion was misheard as “Spotify”. When it was realized that there were no Google results for the word, the duo immediately registered the name.

Starbucks: Named after a character in Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

Syfy: Was originally called the Sci-Fi channel. The name was changed because in it’s current form it could not be trademarked. Initially, people hated the change, but quickly grew to accept it.

A Little Off Topic But Not Really

Coming Up With A Business Name By Combining The Founders Names Or Two Companies Merging Is Much More Common Than You Think

First
Second
Combined
James Golden
Bill Morean
Jabil Circuit
S. Duncan Black
Alonzo G.Decker
Black & Decker
Lockheed Corporation
Martin Marietta
Lockheed Martin
Be sure to put some thought into the combined names to create something that sounds cool. All names and words won't be a good fit to use as a name for your business.
Logo belongs to GoDaddy.
Logo belongs to GoDaddy.

Look to Others When Coming Up With Cool Business Names For Your Start-Up

Taco Bell: Named after its founder Glen Bell.

TCBY: Originally called “This Can’t Be Yogurt”, but a lawsuit forced the company to create different wording, “The Country’s Best Yogurt”.

Tumblr: Tumblelogs (a variation on blogs that focused on shorter posts and also used mixed media) were starting to gain a foothold when Tumblr was created. The founder Dave Karp wanted to be the first and best platform for tumblelogs, so the name seemed to fit.

Twitter: Found in a dictionary. The definition was “chirps from birds” and “a short burst of inconsequential information”, which is what the company did.

Under Armour: Kevin Plank originally wanted to call his company Heart, then Body Armor; both were denied trademarks. His brother one day asked him how his company idea was coming along, “uhh… Under Armor?”. He immediately filed a trademark using a U in the spelling (because he thought the phone number 888-4ARMOUR looked better than 888-44ARMOR.

Unequal Technologies: A company that has taken body armor materials used by soldiers and adapted it for use by athletes. The name is obviously a play on better materials and tech beat out the average.

Volkswagen: German for “people’s car”.

Voodoo Doughnut: Sometimes a cool name for your company comes out of brainstorming, plain and simple. Mix and match words until something sticks.

Warby Parker: David Gilboa (one of the founders) decided to go to an exhibit at the New York Public Library showcasing the work of Jack Kerouac. In one of his books there are two characters whose names were “Warby Pepper” and “Zagg Parker”. The company went through over 2,000 names and took almost 6 months to come up with the name they have today.

WD-40: Water displacement perfected on the 40th try.

Wells Fargo: The bank chain’s name is from its two founders, Henry Wells and William Fargo.

Wendy’s: The founder Dave Thomas named the company after his daughter’s nickname; here real name was Melinda.

Wham-O: This toy maker with products like the Slip ‘N’ Slide, slingshot and Hula Hoop was named after the sound made by slingshots hitting their marks.

Williams Sonoma: Founded by Chuck Williams in Sonoma, California.

Wizards of the Coast

Wolverine World Wide

Zippo: The founder George G. Blaisdell liked the sound of the word zipper and went through variations of it until he came up with one he liked.

Zynga: This games company was named after the founders pet dog, Zinga.

Logo belongs to Columbia Pictures, the film company that made the movie.
Logo belongs to Columbia Pictures, the film company that made the movie.

Fictional Companies Have Cool Names Too

 
 
 
Rich Industries
Cyberdyne Systems
Virtucon
Wayne Enterprises
Soylent Corp.
Stark Industries
Umbrella Corp.
Gringotts
Oscorp

Your Business Name And It's Logo Should Be One In The Same

Your business logo is almost equally as important as the name of your business as it will often be the thing that gets people to notice your company. Spend just as much time coming up with a good one as you did coming up with a name.

Questions & Answers

    © 2016 Don

    Feel free to share any and all thoughts related to coming up with a good business name.

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      • profile image

        Kristine Stephenson 

        12 months ago

        I would like to receive your opinion/feedback to give me an insight with a good business name.

        I was not sure if Ecotrends is really an eye-catching title for customers to buy imported Unique Bamboo flooring, window shutters and travertine tiles for house renovations or new homes.

        Should I call EcoTrends Innovations or EcoYoin ( Economic Your Inspiration).

        Any Suggestions is welcome

      • ControlledChaos1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Don 

        13 months ago from Tennessee

        I'd go with the plural version, "Evie's Empire" as it sounds better when you say it out loud.

      • profile image

        Yemi A. 

        13 months ago

        which is better for a company name....Evie's Empire or Evie Empire

      • profile image

        Bobby 

        18 months ago

        @Sheradine... why not just CleanSweep?.. you've probably chosen something else already though... but just thinking...

      • Sheradine profile image

        Sheradine 

        21 months ago

        I started a business called 2 Broke Cousins cleaning services. (we are 2 single mums and cousins, however, my cousin has since left to go get married). I want to change the name. I'm thinking something along the lines of.... Brooming clean sweep, Making a clean sweep, Brooming clean services. I wanted something catchy and fun. My logo will need to change too.

      • profile image

        Chevie 

        22 months ago

        I didn't see any biotech companies on here. Most of these businesses have names that are so clinical, it would be nice to have one that is easy on the tongue, if you know what I mean.

        I'd love to know the name origins of some healthcare and biotech companies.

      • profile image

        Davies 

        2 years ago

        It seems like a lot of businesses can't go wrong with using the founder's name in them, but all names don't fit with all company descriptions, do they? For example, take the fictional companies "Wayne Enterprises" or "Stark Industries"; they are kind of generic but do sound good. Something like "Cherry Industries" (I know someone who's last name is Cherry.) doesn't sound as good.

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