business name

Common Errors to Avoid When Naming Your Business

If I asked you to think of a bad brand name, you might take a minute because if you could remember it off the top of your head, it probably would have been a good brand name. A bad business name is harder to stick in your memory. If that were also true for your customers, it would mean loss of significant business because of a brand name.

So, it’s no secret that business names matter, and in today’s digital landscape where you have mere seconds to make an impression, they matter even more. So, how can you avoid ending up with a subpar business name? Here are three common naming mistakes to look out for from a company that has helped over 35,000 clients with successful business names:

1.   Choosing names with questionable meanings

In recent years, abstract, short, and spunky brand names have become the norm. Think Hulu, Tinder, Spotify, and so on. While these names have worked wonders for their respective businesses, it may not always be the case.

Even if you decide to come up with an abstract and catchy business name simply on the basis of how it sounds and looks, don’t forget to look up its meaning as well as origin. You should also check whether the name and its meaning have any significance for the geographical area your business will be used in.

For example, Hulu in Mandarin means gourd. While this meaning is not questionable and may not be known to most of its users, it is knowledge that the business owners must have. So, an etymology check is definitely useful.

2.   Choosing names with unpleasant foreign translations

If you are looking to opt for a foreign name to create mystery around your brand name or to appeal to a particular segment, make sure you know what it means. In fact, some English words too can have alternate meanings in foreign languages. So, it’s best to check the foreign translation of your brand name, regardless.

For example, in 1999, Mazda launched an SUV/kei car mix known as LaPuta. However, in Spanish the name translates to “the prostitute”. Ultimately, it did not do well in Spanish-speaking markets. So, ensure you know your brand name’s meaning and pronunciations in other languages where it may be relevant.

3.   Choosing names without sufficient feedback

Getting feedback from the likes of those who could make up your target audience before you finalize the name is a vital step of the naming process. While validating your name, you must run it by friends, family, your professional circle, acquaintances, and strangers. While you may feel attached to the business and brand name, this cohort should be able to give you objective and meaningful feedback.

Ultimately, your business name will be seen and used by strangers, who will eventually become your customers. Hence, it’s essential to understand what they think. Choosing a name without consulting others can lead to a name that is liked by you but lacks on other key parameters such as memorability and appeal.

To sum up …

A catchy and marketable business name can directly impact your monetary success, shape how your customers see you, and is the building block of your reputation. And in most cases, you have only one true chance to get it right although rebranding is an option.

Hence, it is imperative that you choose a business name with careful thought, a strategic method such as this startup name generator, and deliberation with a group of people. Avoiding mistakes such as names that are too long, difficult to spell or understand, and have confusing or misleading alternate meanings is also a quintessential part of landing the perfect name for your business.


Article Contributed by:

Grant Polachek is the head of branding for, 3X Inc 5000 startup and disruptive naming agency. Squadhelp has reviewed more than 1 million names and curated a collection of the best available names on the web today. We are also the world’s leading crowdsource naming platform, supporting clients such as Nestle, Dell, Nuskin, and AutoNation.