Thinking up business name ideas takes time and effort, especially when you need to find a name that’s available to trademark and has meaning related to your brand story. But we’ve discovered some brainstorming tools that make it easier. Here are five of our favorites.

Five Brainstorming Tools for Business Name Ideas

  • Moby Thesaurus — The beauty of Moby is that it’s messy. Unlike a standard thesaurus whose entries are fairly close in meaning to your search term (making them expected, boring and probably already used in existing brand names), Moby delivers words and short phrases related to your search term in weird and unexpected ways. This not only gives you surprising business name ideas, it helps trigger new ideas and areas to search for names.
  • OneLook — OneLook lets you search dictionaries using a word part. For example, enter “sun*”, and you’ll get a list containing the word “sun” at the beginning of the entries: sun god, sunlamp, sunbonnet, sundries, etc. You can filter out the more obscure entries so you don’t get slammed with thousands of results. Also try using OneLook’s thesaurus and the reverse dictionary when you get stuck for new ideas.
  • LeanDomainSearch – We don’t normally recommend branding your business based on whatever domain names happen to be available.  But when you absolutely, positively have to have a matching domain name, Lean Domain Search will show you names that are available to purchase. Enter a term, and the tool will return a list of randomized compound names. For example, entering “fit” will result in a list that includes “FitVillage,” “FitLightning,” and “FitExcellent.” You can have the results displayed with the search term at the start or end of the name.
  • Phrase Thesaurus — With the increasing difficulty of finding available names, more brands are naming around short phrases. The Phrase Thesaurus lets you search for an exact word, or for phrases related to the word. For example, a broad search for the word “sun” will return “a place in the sun” as well as “catch a falling star.”
  • Mixwords — The crowded trademark situation is also making compound words popular as names, i.e. YouTube. Mixwords combines the terms you input into random compounds.

Pro Tip

With most of these tools, the trick to creating a compelling name that sets you apart from your competition is not to use a generic word part. If your business is a yoga studio, avoid using “yoga” as one of the words in your name. That’s generic, and your name would blend in with the names of your competitors. Instead, search for words related to your brand promise (the benefit you offer) or your differentiator (how you do things differently from your competition).

For example, when Pollywog was creating a name for a new low-cost spay/neuter service offered by the local humane society, we explored words suggesting advocacy for the pets of low-income owners. This led us to the word “kind.” Using OneLook, we searched for phrases with “kind” in them and quickly found “kindest cut,” which perfectly fit the brand and its offering.

If you’re still having trouble with business name ideas, contact us. We love working with startups, and we’ll do our best to make our services affordable for you.