Worst Naming Practices: How to Avoid Bad Business Names

Your business name sets the stage for each and every one of your branding exploits in your future. It should create a connection between your business and your target demographic, and it needs to describe who you are and what you want your new business to represent.

Just as a successful name can benefit your brand, a poor name can be a disaster for a new business. There are many different naming faux-pas that entrepreneurs should avoid when selecting a name because they can hinder the momentum of your brand’s growth. Find out about what they are and why you should need to avoid them as you jump into the naming your business.

Problematic Names

The most important rule to follow when naming your new business is that it should be simple to say, spell, and remember.

If people have a tough time saying a brand name, they will just stop sharing it with friends. You can avoid accidentally choosing a difficult name by avoiding any intentional misspellings. Some entrepreneurs intentionally misspell their brand name in an effort to be creative but it typically creates more confusion than interest with their target demographic.

Apply the “crowded bar theory” to your name. If you were talking to a friend in a loud and crowded bar and you told them your brand name, would they easily understand it? For example, if you’re opening a restaurant called Sam and Ella’s, in a crowded bar it may accidentally sound like salmonella. This misunderstanding can make your name and your new business sound undesirable as well as unappealing. Make sure that your name only has to be heard once to be completely understood.

Lackluster Names

While it is always a good idea to have a name that lets your target audience know the different products and services that your business offers. The problem is that names that are too overly-descriptive names are not interesting.

An effective name needs to hold a small amount of suspense without being too mysterious. This means it is the perfect time for you to get creative. Your name needs to attract your audience target so when they see or hear it, they will want to learn more about your new business, products, and services.

Popular Name Trends

If you study the startup names from the past few decades you will see certain trends emerge. There were many names in the mid-2000s that had missing vowels such as Tumblr, Twttr (which later became Twitter), and even Grindr. In the most recent decade, names that have -ify suffixes like Spotify, Gamify, and Coworkify became a naming fad.

Sometimes it can a successful strategy to take advantage of the latest trends to get your creative juices flowing, but remember that fad names have consequences. Trendy names can feel limited to their time, and if you decide to use a naming trend too late, your new business may already fall behind in this fast-paced business world. Try brainstorming business names utilizing this list for an even better idea of how you can use different types and trends of names for your business.  

Lengthy Names

Finally, long names can give your new business several challenges. The cumbersomeness of a long brand name can be an automatic turn-off for your target demographic because long names come with even longer URLs. This means that you need to plan ahead when selecting the length of your name. While you consider which URL you will choose, you should also think about how your name will affect the social media handles you may want. Social media handles are typically limited to under 20 characters, so you need to make sure that your name can fit within those limitations.

The longer your name is, the more confusing and forgettable your new business will be. You can shorten your ideas by taking out any unnecessary descriptors, articles, and suffixes from your names. If you still have not selected a brand name that has an available URL, check out some of these domains for sale–you might find that the best name for your business does come with a perfect URL.


Even though naming your business can feel like a huge undertaking, the effort you put into it will give your business a strong, captivating name that can attract your target audience. If you can follow some of these basic guidelines of what to avoid when selecting a name for your business.

Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Inc 500 company Squadhelp.com, the worlds #1 naming platform, with nearly 20,000 customers from the smallest startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation.

This is a guest post. “Guest” is not “Sponsored” and while the content is theirs, I selected and approved it as it covers a topic offering added value to businesses. As such, I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to feature this guest content here.