By Awoyemi Oluwadamilare

At the start of a new business, most new entrepreneurs feel the name is not a big deal, so they don’t give it much thought. Choosing the right business name is as crucial as choosing a name for your newborn baby. A wrong name can give the child an awkward and complicating identity, same goes for a bad business name as it will give your business or brand a complicated identity.

Even if you don’t get the name right on the start, changing the name is not an impossible task, but getting it right from the onset is the best. Some famous companies have had to change their names because they understand the effects:

  • Cadabra >> Amazon
  • BussyBees >> The Bees
  • Research in Motion >> Blackberry
  • Auction Web >> eBay
  • BackRub >> Google
  • Burbn >> Instagram
  • Blue Ribbon Sports >> Nike
  • Japan Optical Industries Co. >> Nikon
  • Marafuku Company >> Nintendo
  • Brad’s Drink >> Pepsi
  • Stag Party >> Playboy
  • Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo >> Sony
  • Walton’s Five and Dime >> Walmart
  • Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web >>  Yahoo


How do you go about choosing the right name for your startup?

Discussed below are some tips to help you conquer the quest

  • Keep it generic

In the year 1945, Sam Walton, a budding entrepreneur started a business and he called it“Walton’s Five and Dime.” When it got to year 1969, he renamed the company to “Walmart.” Sam Walton changed the name with simplicity in mind because he wanted to expand his business model, connect with his target audience.

You can choose to change your business name whenever you want, but it will be more difficult as your business grows. Once your company has gained ground,  re-branding will cost more time, money and resources.

  • Keep it simple

Ever heard of the acronym K.I.S.S(Keep It Simple and Short). Names like Fiverr and Flickr did work, but these companies spent millions on marketing, reinforcing their brands to prevent potential customers/clients from getting confused.

Once the company started growing, they had to buy the correct spelling of their domain names i.e., and This was done because most customers were prone to spelling the name wrongly.

  • Make it memorable

It is not a good attribute if people keep asking you for the name of your company. You need a name that is catchy, simple, short and memorable.

Write down a list of ideas of names you like, rank them according to their length of spelling; the shorter the name, the easier it is to recollect. Try as much as possible to make the name 3 syllables at most.

A lot of change is going on in the world right now, so a lot of importance is placed on the name of a brand. A unique and memorable business name will set you apart from the crowd.

A great product alone doesn’t do the job of setting you apart, a memorable name does.

  • Evoke a feeling

Humans are emotional as we rely on our feelings to make certain decisions. Your brand name should have a positive effect on their subconsciousness. How will your brand name make your potential customer feel compared to your competitors. Let your brand name evoke a feeling that coincides your brand image.

  • Test it out

When you have selected the top 3 to 5 names, you can ask trusted friends and family members for their take. Let them give you valuable feedback from the names you wrote down. Let them give you their first impression, you can’t tell, they might be your potential customer.

Amazon’s name was originally called“Cadabra,” like that magician’s phrase we have all tried “abracadabra.” Jeff Bezos changed it when he noticed that his lawyer confused it with “cadaver”which means a dead body.

  • Check for conflicts

So, before you pick a name, ensure no other business is using that name in the industry you want to go into. You can check via Google and check with the Corporate Affairs Commission (C.A.C). Ensure you do this so you avoid any legal battles as you journey down the road.

Once you see any potential conflict for the first name, you will need to move on to the next one on your list.

  • Get the domain

The world we live in is technology driven and almost everything is stored in the cloud, it is important you have a domain name that matches your company’s name. (Someone might ask, ‘what is a domain name?’, it is a topic for another day). Don’t just use any kind of domain name, use .com as it is the most popular and most trusted extension online.


It can be a huge task to choosing a business name for a new start-up or company, but once you conquer this phase, you will appreciate yourself when your business start thriving. No matter the name you choose, remember to enjoy the journey as that is what life is all about.

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