Name-Name-Name, Selecting the right name for your business

Name-Name-Name, Selecting the right name for your business


One of the first things you begin to think about when you have that great idea will usually be what you want to name this pet project, company or initiative. There is always the inclination to do this randomly, some people select names with personal importance to them, some use variations of competitor names amongst other reasons (trust me, there are some funny ones). It’s worthy to note that there is no one size fits all approach to this process, there are actually various conventional and unique approaches, it varies from industry to industry, What I aim to achieve with this post however is to share tips that will guide you on the way to selecting the best name for your idea.

Being in a business environment that causes “loss of weight” like Nigeria’s, you need to optimize everything about your business to ensure has a chance at success, even though a great business name does not equal business success when optimized, it can aid acceptability, virality, and likeability. These parameters will be the focus of this short post

In understanding the general characteristics of how your prospective customers would feel about your business name, it is important to highlight one thing

The human mind thinks in pictures,

This is something you can quickly test with a short exercise, think of a word, say “Cat” for example, You probably won’t just hear the words, your mind presents you with the most relevant picture of a cat you’ve come across or imagined, this holds the same for when most of the common names you know ( “Coke”, “Perfume”, School, “Church”.. etc.)

The important thing to note about this effect is that it is at the point when the name is said or brought up that the pictures come to mind. A business name can essentially be a trigger/key to new or already developed pictures in the mind of customers, this principle is leveraged by some of the world’s greatest brands who spend vast amounts of marketing dollars to paint a specific picture deep in our minds, after which our brains automagically attach these pictures to names, catchphrases or feeling

Coke – Refreshing; Fanta – Fun; Indomie – Quick food and so on; To paint these pictures require deliberate brand design, management, marketing dollar e.t.c selecting a business name should actually be part of this rigorous process but can also be approached as a carefully executed independent process

These tips below follow simple rules used by some of the biggest businesses that engineered themselves for this digital age which we live in.

A good business name:

  • is Unique – Does the name naturally pique interest?
  • can be Shared easily – Can people look up this name on google without your help? 
  • Explanatory – Can I guess what it’s about just by hearing it?
  • is Pronounced easily – Can it be easily pronounced?

Let’s take a peep into each of these characteristics

  • Unique: Your business name should capture the interest of prospective customers who come across it, the chosen name should have some ‘attraction’ or ‘uniqueness’ to it if possible, they should want to ask “Who are these guys and what do they do”, This will also help in your business’ registration (You will likely be surprised at the names people have thought of before you did), TIP: You might want to choose a business name is not already registered on the Corporate Affairs Commission website
  • Shared Easily: In this day and age of information overload, you want to have a business name that is memorable enough for your potential customers or clients to store in memory and share with their friends/families when the opportunity arises, it should be such as they can easily look up on google, this generally means you go for easily spelt names, it should be something the hearer can easily look up without having to ask again
  • Explanatory: It is good practice for your business name to explain itself, at least to an extent, the selected name should have some sort of relevance to what the business does or intends to do, this helps reduce the number of questions your potential customers might have, for example, “Cakes & Cream” tells you, the business probably has to do with confectionaries, “Salado” indicates there’s probably salad somewhere in that business.
  • Pronunciation: Your business name should be easily pronounced, this is to help memorization and also word-of-mouth sharing, The general rule of thumb being that your chosen business name should have as little syllables as possible, 2–3 are ideal in most situations. for example, let’s look at popular business names: “Goo-Gle”, “In-do-Mie”, “Ga-la”, “Pure-Bliss”.  et.c Considering the fact that most people now have short attention spans, you should ensure your business name can be easily pronounced

Think of your favorite brands, most of their business names ( especially the consumer-facing ones) will follow two or more of these guidelines. Of course, there are exceptions to these guidelines which I try to highlight in a follow-up article or I could do a case study of selecting a random/actual business name

One of, or both, I shall do someday

Thanks for Reading

Yours in Learning,

Taiye Oloriade



  1. precious marizu

    Thank you sir for sharing these.

  2. Oluwadamilola

    This is helpful, thanks.

  3. Kenny Oloriade

    This is great and explanatory article. I noticed this principle also follows for people who build brands off around their names too.
    Looking forward to your future thoughts on this.

  4. Akande Olalekan Anthony

    Thumbs up bro, I enjoyed reading this article

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