Updated October 5th, 2016
Naming your company is no easy task. Here are the steps I took:
Starting the Search
Determine what you don’t like first. That will lead you to build a few rules.
Here is mine. I don’t want:
- to take a word and slightly modify it or add onto it (spotify, rdio, etc)
- to morph two words into one (Facebook, Myspace, etc)
- to specifically use my name (Dustin Osterhaus Design LLC, Osterhaus Studios LLC, etc)
- to use one common word (Amazon, Apple, etc.)
- to make up a word
Those are just my preferences. Your list will most likely look different. Basically, trendy was something I wanted to avoid.
Then make a small list of business name types that you like. Here are mine:
- I am fond of taking two words and joining them with “and”. The words don’t have to be related, but ideally are somewhat representative of a product development company.
- Some examples include Crate and Barrel, Oil and Rope, Seeker and Servant, Rivers and Robots, etc.
- Location/place based. I love my hometown. I would be honored to come up with a name that pays homage to it.
- Northwest, Tacoma, Pt. Defiance, Ruston, Dash Point, Narrows.
Start a spreadsheet and just start collecting tons of words. Create categories and sort them by category. For instance, I created the following categories: Engineering, Tools, Things, Shapes, Materials, Create, Concept, Group, Action, Description, Colors, Numbers, Directions, Places, Suffixes, Divisions, and Foreign. I ended up with 166 words that I liked and could possibly be used in a business name.
Start combining words. Go nuts.
Hopefully you found a few ideas that could work. Now it’s time to check the internet.
Google search. That’s the most obvious move when looking online. Search different versions of the words you are using.
Then use a few different search engines. I ended up using Bing and found results that made me reconsider some names.
There isn’t one place to get that answered cleanly. Is there a business in the state of Washington with that name? Here are four places to look:
- Issued business licenses – State of Washington Business Licensing.
- Registered Business look up – Washington State Department of Revenue Search.
- Entities registered with the Secretary of State – SOS Corporation Search.
- Patented trademarks – USPTO.
Write it out (a lot) and Sleep on it
If you think you have a name that you like and it is available, sleep on it for a few days. In between sleeps, write it out many, many times. Make sure it writes well.
Pull the Trigger
- Purchase the website
- File the business with SOS, DOR etc.
- Open Bank Account