How to Find an Adad by Name

In 6 steps to the perfect name for your company

Have you ever wondered where the company name “Apple” actually comes from? Founder Steve Jobs got the idea while visiting an apple orchard. He found the Apple name "friendly, peppy and not intimidating". And since no one had a better suggestion, it ended up being the Apple computers.

Or to put it another way: It is of course totally banal to simply call your company “apple”. And just as awesome. Apple is perhaps the best example of a company name that has nothing to do with the actual product. Nevertheless, it is known worldwide and conveys an image like no other.

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Now the name of your business does not necessarily have to be the next “Apple”. But your company name should also be well received by your customers. We'll show you in 6 easy steps how to find the right company name without visiting the apple orchard.

Please note that although we collect information on the subject of company names in this article, we cannot and may not give any legal advice on this.

1. Legal framework

Let's start with a bit of hair-splitting: There is a small but subtle difference between company and company name. From a purely legal point of view, you need an entry in the commercial register to be considered a company. If you do not have this, your business does not have a company name, but a company name or a company name.

But only marginally. In principle, company or company names can contain these three components:

  • Fantasy name: This name is made up like Spotify or trivago. However, it can also be composed of words that actually exist - such as Microsoft (micro + software).
  • Industry or job title: This refers to terms such as “master painter” or “car repair”.
  • Personal name: The name of the entrepreneur.

These three possibilities are often combined with one another: For example as “Painting Werner Müller” or “HyperColor - Painting Werner Müller”.

However, you are not completely free to combine these components of the name. For example, the legal form of your company plays a major role:

  • Small traders, sole proprietorships, freelancers
    Basically, you can use imaginary and personal names as well as job titles here. However, chambers of commerce and industry recommend using your own name in the company name - e. B. "Mike Müller's Tailoring Alterations". However, there is no legal obligation.
  • GbR and PartG
    In the case of a civil law partnership (GbR), the following applies: Fantasy and personal names as well as professional and job titles are permitted.
    It is different with the partner company (PartG). Here have to give her the name of at least one partner - for example “Müller & Meier, Rechtsanwälte” or “Heinrich & Partner, Steuerberater”. If your PartG also has limited professional liability, the addition PartG mbB must not be missing.
  • Companies with entry in the commercial register
    This means, for example, AG, GmbH, OHG or KG. Here, too, combinations of imaginary and personal names, as well as job and job titles, are generally allowed. In any case, the legal form must also be in the name. For example “Travel Fever GmbH” or “Prometheus AG”.

In addition, there is an important provision that applies to any business: your company name must not be misleading

It is forbidden to use the abbreviation of a legal form in your name that does not correspond to yours. For example, if you as a GmbH use a name with AG. Likewise, you shouldn't call yourself a “furniture factory” if you only run a small carpentry shop.

With this we would have defined the most important legal framework for the time being. It continues with the creative part.

2. What does your business stand for?

There is no difference in people's perception between you and your company name. Like your logo, your name should therefore also reflect the core of your business.

But what is this core? What does your business actually stand for? The best way to find out is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is your product / service?
    Of course, you know what you are producing and what you are offering. But can you explain this to other people as well? Try to summarize your offer in a few words, similar to an elevator pitch. Once that is done, you also know which central product message has to reach potential customers.
  • What's your USP?
    Are your pendants handmade one-offs, while everything from the competition comes from wholesalers? Do you promise your customers an all-round feel-good care, even after they have clicked on “Buy”? Make sure you understand what makes you and your offer so special and how you stand out from your competition.
  • What target group do you sell to?
    Are your self-knitted woolen hats intended as an accessory for the hip vegan Finn, or rather so that Grandma Schmitz's head doesn't freeze in winter? Your target group defines your customer approach and thus your name.
  • What are your values ​​as a company?
    Quality, sustainability, tradition - these are just a few examples of corporate values. Which do you stand up for?

If you have thought about these questions, you can already assess what your company stands for. Of course, your name doesn't have to reflect all of these things one-to-one. “Traditional, handmade wool hats for Grandma Schmitz and a clear conscience Rainer Müller GmbH” is rather bulky as a company name.

Rather, it's about your name reflecting the essence of your business. It should convey the same feeling that your customers get when they hold your product in their hand for the first time.

If you are not quite sure what your business stands for after this step, it can help you to create your own elevator pitch.

3. Find the right words for your company name

Now you know what the law says and what makes your business special. And that means: it's time for creativity!

Switch your brain to brainstorm mode and look for words that describe you and your offer. In the case of self-knitted hats, this can be “handmade”, “wool”, “warm”, “unique”, “with love” or one of many other terms. Just write everything you can think of in a list.

If you are satisfied with your result, go to the second list. It contains words that at first glance have nothing to do with your business, but arouse positive feelings. You remember: “Apple” has nothing to do with the product, but it is well received.

How you conduct your brainstorm session is entirely up to you. Do you tend to be creative on your own? Then slip into your feel-good clothes, sit down in your thinker corner and think about it lively. Or you put your heads together with family, friends or business partners. Inside or outside, just as you like.

But not only free thinking leads to the goal - research will also help you. Use every source you can get: Look at the names of competitors on the Internet or websites that you particularly like. Take a look at dictionaries, get involved in your social environment and, and, and. There are many options.

You can even find free tools online that you can use to generate your business name. For the most part, these are not very useful, as they usually only arbitrarily combine the term you entered with other terms. In the rarest of cases, something useful comes out of it.

4. Play with your favorite words

Hopefully after brainstorming and researching you have a little creativity left. Because now the part begins where your imagination has (almost) no limits. Now you take the collected terms and play with them a little. Combine them with each other, add invented endings à la “Spotify”, translate them into other languages ​​and let your imagination run wild.

Exciting company names can even emerge from your own name. “Adidas” is nothing more than an abbreviation of Adolf “Adi” Dassler. And “Audi” just the Latin version of the surname of founder August Horch.

Pay attention to the following when creating your words:

  • The name should be easy to pronounce. “Fanmützastic” suggests that you sell fantastic hats, but it doesn't come off your lips that easily. Therefore the name is rather unsuitable.
  • It should be catchy. “Mützen-Traumshop” is easy to pronounce, but not really catchy. In the case of names that are easy to remember, brevity often plays a decisive role. Therefore “Mützentraum” would be a more catchy choice.
  • Ideally, it conveys a meaning / benefit / image. This can be more abstract like with “Apple” or very specific like with “Sparkasse”.
  • Do not limit yourselves. Do not use city names, gender or other terms that can unnecessarily restrict your customer base. “Kleidwerkstatt Hamburg”, for example, gives the impression that you only work in Hamburg. And if your products for men and Selling women, “men of honor” is not the appropriate name.

5. Test your company name

Now you should have a few favorites for your business name. But what does the rest of the world say about it? Does he think your ideas are so great too?

Well, you can't ask the rest of the world directly, but friends and family can give feedback. Be honest and direct and tell them that you also expect honest and direct opinions. Because if your test subjects tell you, out of a false politeness, that they think your ideas are great, even though they all consider them fruitful, then the whole attempt was ruined.

6. Check the availability of your name

Once two or three of your favorites have passed the Friends & Family test, it's time to get down to business. Because now it shows whether your desired name is already occupied by another company. Then it is decided whether you should or are allowed to use a name.

Basically, that several companies may have the same name, provided they are registered with a different register court or trade register are. Nevertheless, there is of course a risk of confusion, which you should be aware of. An initial search via Google already provides clarity.

The case is different if the other company has registered its name as a trademark. Then it works Trademark lawwhich is much more complicated. For example, brand awareness and age also play a role. Without wanting to go into too much detail: The chances that you will be allowed to call your business “Apple” or “Adidas” are pretty much zero.

It is therefore particularly important to carry out a trademark search for your favorite names. Two databases are available for this.

If you have not found a trademark in one of these databases that corresponds to your favorite or at least closely resembles it, you are on the safe side when it comes to trademark law.

If you've found what you're looking for, it doesn't have to be over yet. Then you can always ask a trademark law expert for advice. This assesses for you whether your brands can coexist - and that's not all that unusual. For example, a search for “rainbow” reveals over 50 trademarks registered in Germany that don't get in each other's way.

Checks the appropriate domain

Is your name available? Excellent! The next step is to search for the right domain. After all, your company also needs its own website. And if your ideal domain is not available, don't worry: You can certainly use a variation of your desired domain or use a different domain extension.

Don't forget your logo

Now you have a name for your business and the matching domain. Now all that's missing is your logo to present your company in a visually appealing way. Because with a professional logo you appear trustworthy and people will remember you, even if they don't remember your name at the moment.

You can read more about logo in our article The right logo design for your business.

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Should I use my own name for my company?

Similar considerations apply to your own name as to an imaginary one. Is it easy to remember and easy to spell? Is there a direct competitor with the same name?

You should also keep the following advantages and disadvantages in mind:

  • Personal connection. Companies named after their founders usually appear friendlier, more accessible and cheaper. Of course, that's not always true. But many customers prefer to work with smaller companies because they feel more valued there. Your name and your story support this personal touch. Because you literally stand up for your business with your name.
  • Search engine results. With a unique name you are already one step ahead when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). But if your name is “Michael Müller”, you will most likely not be on the first page of Google - regardless of how successful your business is.
  • Long-term growth. Are you planning to have several employees and do you intend to work with large companies one day? Then it can be a disadvantage if you have named your business after you. Especially in relation to large corporations, it can have the effect that your company named after you is too small to handle large projects. Your name may also put off potential business partners and employees. And if you want to sell your business one day, its value is inextricably linked to your name.
  • Privacy. If you don't name your company after you, you can more easily separate your professional and private online presence. This looks professional and avoids confusion if one of your customers should get lost on your private Facebook page.

Tips for freelancers

Freelancers in particular often name their company after themselves. Many believe that the effort to come up with a unique name is simply not worth it. In addition, the own name allows a lot of flexibility, especially for founders. If the business grows, you can still rename yourself.

However, your company name also has an impact on the type of customers who are interested in you. Because under certain circumstances it allows conclusions to be drawn about the possible size of your company.

If you would rather work with start-ups or small companies, then your own name may be exactly the right choice. But if you want to attract the big corporate fish, then a unique company name ensures that your small freelance business looks a lot bigger. It may well be that larger companies avoid working with solo freelancers and look for agencies instead. So your name actually helps you find the right ones for you.

Finding your own company or company name is not difficult, but it takes a little brainpower and good research skills. If you bring both with you - or at least know someone with them - nothing stands in the way of the perfect name for your business.

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