How To Name Your Business

I named my company Quality Nonsense Ltd two years ago. Funny, see?

I laughed all the way to my first meeting, where a banker looked at me with a cocktail of pity and contempt. Reassuringly, reactions since have been more positive.

Kodak Ad

I took my cues from George Eastman, founder of Kodak, when naming the company. Eastman cited three principal concepts in creating the Kodak brand name:

  • It should be short
  • You cannot mispronounce it
  • It could not resemble anything or be associated with anything but Kodak

Sound advice, I thought, and promptly ignored points 1 + 3. But in the 21st century, there were other points to consider:

But most important? To my mind, it’s three simple words.


Pretty damn obvious, huh? Well, think how many times each week you see an XYZ Consulting Ltd, ABC Capital, Underwhelming Generic Services Ltd.

Let’s file these in the ‘bad business ideas’ box, alongside stock photo handshakes, ‘motivational’ lithographs and Comic Sans.

If you run a young business and have not read Guy Kawasaki’s book The Art of the Start, order it this second. No excuses.

Once you’re done at Amazon, sit tight and make sixty minutes to watch Guy’s life-changing Art of Inspiration talk.

What are your favourite examples of great business names and why?

  • kylah says:

    I like Comic Sans – is it really that bad?

  • Joe Connor says:

    Kylah, yes Comic Sans really is bad.
    Our website is one of the more memorable domain names (we also own too) and everyone always remembers one or the other so that was a great investment.
    With all the short domain name already registered the next best thing is to employ your logical rule and go for keyword related domains.

  • avalok says:

    I named my Company 22by7.After Pi. It has proved a great ice-breaker & conversation starter when we meet prospects. Very few actually catch on to the fact that it is the irrational constant Pi. Instead they usually begin by asking ” We have heard of 24/7, but why 22/7?”. In fact 22by7 has been designed with a Greek Theme. All our servers & machines are named after Greek Heroes & Philosophers. And the Teams are: Alpha – Management, Beta – S/w development, Sigma – Sales,Omega – HR. There is a clear correlation between the Team Names & their functions, if you think about it.

    It is my view that whatever we do we need to have a story to tell.

  • says:

    You have unlocked the Holy Grail of Naming.
    I look at thousands of company names a day, everyday, and only remember the memorable ones.

    what is memorable?

    after only a few encounters with a potential name, the candidate name always becomes memorable in the eyes of the brainstormer even when in reality it is not to the outside world. This is called the ego-effect.

    and from what i have seen so far, i come to one conclusion, DO NOT Name your own company, get away from your ego, and let outside expert develop it.

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