You have a great product, done the ground work for your business, and you’re ready to go public, but you don’t know what to call your company. Finding a catchy name for your business can be an anxiety-filled experience, but there are guidelines for creating the perfect business name. Let’s start with what you should do when choosing a creative business name.

Do:

Pick a name that resonates with your customers

We know that you put in a lot of hard work and love into your company and products, but you can’t pick a name that only you can get behind. You need to share the love of your company by thinking about what your customers enjoy. Do this, and your passion will spread.

Pick a name that shows what you do

Your customers should know what you do at a glance from your business name. Very few companies can get away with choosing names that mask what they do. A business name like “Mixed Beans” would work for a coffee company, a bean outlet store or even a beanbag chair retailer, but “Mixed Beans” wouldn’t work for much else, even if your last name happens to be Bean. Your customers will ask you, “Where’s the beans?”

Pick a name that reflects your company’s values

Whenever possible, you should include one of your company’s core values—or at least imply something that your company believes—in your business name. Do you offer quick service? Use a word that flies. Do you focus on security? Let your customers know how secure your products are in your name.

Make a list of words with the above ideas in mind

Now it’s time to break out your thesaurus and cook a little word gumbo. Using the guidelines above, make a list of as many words that work for your business values, what your company does and what motivates your customers. Don’t filter this list. A word you don’t plan to use may lead you to the word you should use. Once you have a healthy list going, you can start to trim the fat, which leads us to our next item.

Play on a common phrases using these words

This isn’t always an option, but we’re sure you came across some words you’ve heard used together while compiling the above list. If it’s a phrase you’ve heard your customers use before, it’s definitely a safe bet for your company name. But you should consider twisting the phrase. English is wonderful for all the multiple words that sound alike but have different meanings: to, too and two; rain, rein and reign; carat, caret and carrot; real eyes, realize and real lies.

Keep it simple

Your customers shouldn’t need a decoder ring to figure out what your business name means and you should have a short name that’s easy to remember.

And now for the Don’ts.

Don’t:

Pick a name that only makes sense to you

Piggybacking off the decoder ring comment above, you shouldn’t use an inside joke for your business name. The idea of an inside joke is that it’s only funny to people on the inside and you want to be as inclusive as possible so you can attract more customers.

Pick a name on a whim

We know the process can be a difficult one, but you shouldn’t chose your name out of desperation or frustration. Take the time to get the right name for your business. You’ll thank us later.

Use acronyms

They used to be en vogue—IBM, 3M, TNT to name a few—but they’ve fallen out of favor. Acronyms don’t work as well as they used to because you often have to explain them and as mentioned earlier, you should keep it simple.

As long as you follow these guidelines, you should be ready to do the final steps required for obtaining your business’s domain name and social media accounts.

Finalizing your name on the internet

You should input your new name into search engines like Google and Yahoo! to see what kind of returns you get. You’d hate to own a shiny new name that’s similar to an unsightly site. After you finish this, type your new name with a .com suffix into your web browser to see if it’s available. Then, you should consult a lawyer and check out the name on www.whois.net, which lists registered domain names. Who Is can let you know of recently expired domains or if the previous owner of the domain violated a Google term and is now banned from Google searches. You wouldn’t want to buy a brand new domain that Google won’t search for.

If you still can’t come up with a great name, there’s always surfing the many, sparkling names on Media Plow. Check out our menu of catchy, creative business names.


Here are some links to other great articles about things to consider when naming your startup.

http://venturebeat.com/2014/06/27/hey-founders-before-you-name-your-startup-something-stupid-read-this/

http://www.buildbrandblast.com/finding-a-great-domain-name-for-startup-tech-companies/

http://mashable.com/2012/05/22/techstars-startup-names/

 


Almost two decades after the dot-com boom the “.com” generic top-level domain (gTLD) remains the most important, most used and often the most expensive gTLD to attain. Sure, you could call Debbie’s Books, “debbiesbooks.biz” or “.me” or “.pro” or “.name” or any of the other “.somethings” you may find out there, but decades of “.coms” have hardwired users to look for “.com” at the end of every website.

In fact, this new crop of gTLDs has made owning a “.com” even more important. There are so many of these new gTLDs that costumers get confused whenever they see them. Is it debbiesbooks.biz or debbiesbooks.bizz or debbies.books? People will assume your website’s name is debbiesbooks.com, and you could be losing business to a competitor if you don’t have that .com. It would take many, many years and hundreds of millions of dollars to educate your consumers that your website is anything but debbiesbooks.com.

People associate “.com” with company. They see green when they read “.com,” while they’ll see fake, Monopoly money when they see most of anything else. Let your clients/customers know you’re serious about what you do with the credibility of a great .com.

And if you have the time, check out the great .coms here at Media Plow.


Who doesn’t have a digital music player? Even though my iPhone stores a ton of music, part of me felt hollow, holding the cold piece of tech in my hand. Then I heard about Qleek and thought great, here’s yet another digital storage device. But Qleek fuses the warmth and uniqueness of a mixed CD or tape with the digital world. It uses hand-crafted wooden blocks, called Tapps, to activate digital content.

Sounds like I may have another medium with which to purchase The Beatles’ White Album. Or perhaps not. If you already own a copy of an album, all you need is the album’s unique NFC code and assign one of the hexagonal Tapps with the album’s data. You can decorate the blocks any way you want or have them pre-printed with your favorite pictures or even the original album cover. One Qleek playback device and 5 Tapps costs $249 on Indiegogo, but if you order soon and take advantage of their Early Bird special, you can nab one for $199. Make sure you purchase a Hive (a wall-mount display for your Tapps that costs $20 each) or two while you’re at it. That way you can display your digital life on your wall.

Qleek1

But Qleek doesn’t just play music. It allows you to code videos and streaming platforms on a Tapp. You could have your Facebook wall on your physical wall. Or you could have one of your YouTube subscriptions assigned to a Tapp, plug it into your playback device and go. Or you could even install your friend’s Instagram feed into a Tapp and access it wherever there’s a Qleek playback device and a screen to view it.

Qleek’s sleek design makes it comfortable in a living room, hotel room or a lounge. With a Qleek present, visitors can control the music or video with a wooden disk rather than pestering the host. And you can be certain that no two Qleeks are the same. Put your personal touch back into your digital media.

The Qleek Team hopes to raise $70K and as of this moment, they just passed the $40K mark. You can help the team by donating here , pre-ordering a Qleek or spreading the word.


Do you have too many passwords that you can’t remember them all, use the same password for every website, or store all your passwords on one document or notepad? I’ve been guilty of all three. But with 1Password, you won’t have to do any of these embarrassing or unsafe things again.

1Password keeps track of all your passwords for each of your devices (PC, mac, iOS, and Android) and syncs all your devices in one handy app. You create one master password for your 1Password account and then, when you log into a website, 1Password will ask you if you want to save that login to your account. It’s as easy as a single click.

Once you have a login stored in your 1Password account, all you have to do is select the website you wish to log into and 1Password securely auto fills your information into the site and device.

1Password can even generate strong passwords. You won’t have to remember letter, number and special character soup and you get five-star strong password. If you have more username/password combinations than you know what to do with (and most of us do), 1Password is an indispensable tool.


PayPal has needed a facelift for years; their look hasn’t changed since they incorporated in 1998, sixteen years ago. The leading digital payment system has adopted the idiom of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The interface feels as clunky as a video game console system from two generations ago, while the squint-worthy 760 pixel dashboard coupled with the site’s hideous navigation has been the source of many migraines. But all this is changing—we hope—and it begins with PayPal’s new logo.

PayPal has found their Pal. The new logo has two prominent Ps as opposed to the single P of before with the shadow of a second P. The original logo screamed “Pay first,” and we might be your pal second, while the new logo embraces the idea of pals as the two Ps hold hands.

The new color scheme continues this idea of friendship. The previous PayPal logo colors were too similar and flat, but the new logo showcases vibrant, inviting colors that will rival the colors of competitors like Square—I actually prefer PayPal’s new color scheme to Square’s—and it helps that PayPal’s new logo has better scalability than the previous logo.

The new double P reads like the old how to spell Mississippi rhyme of “M-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-humpback-humpback-I.” You can repeat PayPal’s humpback-humpback over and over, and it reads well on shopping bags and merchandise.

But despite the logo’s improvement, it doesn’t mean a thing without PayPal making huge changes with their interface, dashboard and web site. You can’t slap a new coat of paint on something and call it good. Still, the logo looks slick, clean, modern and puts the Pal back in PayPal.


Your startup needs a domain with a spiffy name, and you shouldn’t take this decision likely. A domain name may be the most important decision you make. You don’t want a hodge-podge of made-up words that make no sense, and your name needs to reflect who you are and what you do. Clarity reigns supreme on today’s internet but in today’s business world, it’s a name is a global decision.

Here are some guidelines for choosing a name that will give you an advantage over your competitors.

Pick an Unforgettable Name
You want people to remember your name when they start typing in the address bars of their web browsers or when they search for you. Your name needs to stick in their head, but this stickiness is a challenge because naming trends change with the tides, often year by year (sometimes every few months) which makes a timeless name almost impossible to find.

Avoid Cute Spellings
Your name needs to pass the “Radio Test.” If you heard your domain name on the radio, would you know how to spell it? If you wouldn’t be able to spell your domain name without someone explaining the reason why you used a Z for an S or omitted a vowel or two, don’t spell your domain that way. There are some companies that have had success with strange spellings, but these domains were either the first in their field or the owners spent a lot of money to get people to spell their words incorrectly the correct way.

Pronounceable
This guideline goes hand-in-hand with the previous two. Forget the nonsensical mish-mash of phrases that kind of explain what your business does (more on this later). Customers need names they can pronounce and remember. And while we’re at it, don’t use acronyms. Leave acronyms for texting and IMing, unless of course, the acronym is well known in those circles, but most of those names have already been claimed.

Make Sense
Sometimes business owners choose names that aren’t cute spellings or weird compound words like Fogdog (that don’t give their customers a clue of what they do—I thought they were a search engine when I first heard the name). Sometimes owners pick words that have no meaning at all (we’re looking at you Twitter). Again, there are plenty of success stories, but it takes a lot to brand these names, even though you’ll have no problem securing the trademarks. If you do choose to make up a word, make sure it doesn’t have negative or even obscene connotations in another language. Remember that you’re domain goes on the “World” Wide Web.

Give Customers a Clue
Does the name make sense for what you do? If you’re a tech company that uses the cloud in its processes, you may want to use the word “cloud” in your name. Either use cloud in a made-up name that’s easy to spell like Cloudova or combine another word with cloud like DivCloud or TierCloud.

Favor Common Suffixes
People will assume that your company name just scrapes off the .com suffix. If .com isn’t available for your company name, choose a different company name. Even seasoned domainers and the tech industry at large view the new domain extensions as confusing. There are some success stories about non-.com companies, but these companies still end up purchasing the .com suffix of their name eventually.

Is the name Available?
This sounds like a no-brainer, but check to make sure that there isn’t a company with a name exactly or eerily similar to yours. Google the name first and see what results you get. If you don’t get any exact (or close) matches, check with your State Incorporation site to see if there’s a company by the name you wish to use. You’ll want your company name and internet domain name to be the same if possible.

Don’t Fence Yourself In
You don’t want a name that won’t allow your business to grow, move and add to its product line, so don’t pick names that suggest a geographic location or a specific product category. You’d hate to open a new chain of stores in Florida but you’re saddled with the name TexasFlorists.

Finally, Media Plow has over 1000 names with suggested categories for each one. Peruse our listings of domain names and find one that works for you!


Can you hear me?

Many people suffer from hearing loss and most don’t even know they have it. And there are some who know they have hearing loss, but they refuse to seek treatment because hearing aids are difficult to fit to their needs and they’re reluctant to travel to a hearing center. A mere 1 out of 40 people with hearing loss seek treatment. Mimi wants to change that.

Mimi, a new app for your smartphone, offers a quick hearing test. If you happen to have hearing loss, you can choose from different hearing enhancement profiles so you can pick a personalized aid for you. But Mimi goes further than that. This app can convert your smartphone into a hearing aid with the optimal settings for the user.

Not a fan of walking around with their smartphone connected to something out of your ear? No problem. Mimi offers a hands-free device that hooks around your ear and that downloads the information from the app. For a small monthly fee, Mimi can alleviate hearing loss for everyone. And that’s always good news to for ears.


We all need many second chances in our lives. Even though this is a universal fact, not many of us are willing to grant a second chance. Defy Ventures does.

Based in New York City, Defy gives men and women with criminal histories the tools and opportunity to reinvent themselves. As Defy claims, “We’re all ex-somethings.” Fortunately, these criminal exes come with skill sets and talents akin to many top business leaders, and Defy redirects these talents through a unique and intense internship program.

Defy’s Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs) harness their leadership skills, undertake a business program that rivals many of the country’s MBA curriculums and receive job counseling and career placement. In short, these EITs earn their second chance to succeed as income earners, entrepreneurs and role models.

Defy has had 600 graduates in the past five years and 98% of their alumna are employed. These EITs break their patterns as less than 5% suffer from recidivism. Some EITs have even received seed capital grants and loans to start their own ventures by winning a series of business plan competitions.

Defy Ventures is a nonprofit organization that is privately funded by executives, foundations and other generous donors. Help them continue their good work.


You don’t have to break the bank to get the perfect domain name. Take Blue Apron (link: http://www.blueapron.com/) for example. They didn’t spend a lot of money on their domain name and they have one that’s easy to remember, difficult to misspell and you know that with a name like Blue Apron, it has to be about food preparation. And that’s exactly what they do.

Blue Apron offers fresh, unique ingredients and stellar recipes for making your own home-cooked meals. With dishes like Kung Pao Chicken Tacos, Coconut Curry Salmon Steak and Roasted Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Pizza, Blue Apron will have someone buying an apron with “Kiss the Chef” embroidered on it.

In fact, everything about Blue Apron’s website invites you to sit down at your dinner table and enjoy a meal: simple and straight-forward branding. The site has a clean design because who wants a messy kitchen. The logo is a blue apron so it builds on the company name. The slogan “A better way to cook” with the tag-line “Fresh ingredients, great recipes delivered weekly to your home” lets potential clients know what they offer. Blue Apron doesn’t hide what they do, they embrace it. Their home page shows you some of their ingredients, a few recipes and even the box these items come in every week.

And don’t think for a moment that the color scheme of blue was chosen just because of their name. The company could’ve been called Red Apron but they chose to become Blue Apron because cool colors have a calming effect. Most fast food restaurants use warm colors to get you to eat fast and leave, but sit-down restaurants will often use cooler colors so you’re more likely to sit and relax at the table. The food you’ll find on Blue Apron demands to be eaten slowly and savored.

The competition for delivering fresh ingredients and recipes at your door is stiff. Plated offers many of the same things as Blue Apron. Smaller players like PeachDish and incumbents like FreshDirect and AmazonFresh siphon some of Blue Apron’s business as well. But Blue Apron continues to thrive—they just received a $50 Million donation from the Stripes Group—because of brand recognition and they have a cooler domain name than those other guys.