The Bootstrapped Founder

What are the factors involved in choosing a solid business name? From securing an available domain to choosing a unique name for SEO reasons, I delve into the linguistic and cultural considerations of choosing a business name, including avoiding potentially offensive or negative connotations in various markets.

I also emphasize the importance of trademarking the business name and domain to protect from infringement and legal disputes. Future-proofing a business name involves securing social media handles and reevaluating and possibly undertaking a rebranding process if the business's direction changes significantly or the target audience's preferences shift over time.

This podcast episode offers practical insights and tips on choosing a fitting business name that represents your brand's identity and promise. : Generates domain name suggestions based on your keywords. Offers a variety of business name ideas based on your input.
 Lean Domain Search: Matches your keyword with thousands of potential domain names.  Namium is great, too.

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This episode is sponsored by Localazy! use the coupon ARVID for 25% off.

Creators & Guests

Arvid Kahl
Empowering founders with kindness. Building in Public. Sold my SaaS FeedbackPanda for life-changing $ in 2019, now sharing my journey & what I learned.

What is The Bootstrapped Founder?

Arvid Kahl talks about starting and bootstrapping businesses, how to build an audience, and how to build in public.

Hello everyone and welcome to The Bootstrap Founder.

My name is Arvid Kahl and I talk about bootstrapping, entrepreneurship and building in public.

Earlier this week, fellow creator and podcaster Jay Klaus renamed his podcast from Creative

Elements to Creator Science.

That podcast isn't a new project.

It's been live for 140 or so episodes already.

But the name change?

That happened.

And it needed to change to align with Jay's other products.

And that must have been quite a band-aid to rip off for Jay.

If there's one challenge that every founder runs into eventually and then after that ever

so often it's naming.

Naming a business, naming a product, coming up with a slogan for your brand.

Names are everywhere.

And finding a good one is hard.

That's because a name is more than just a label.

It represents the identity of you and your business and it will determine its growth

either up or down.

Today we will deep dive into choosing a solid business name, exploring all kinds of factors

to consider there and then find out where you can find helpful resources and make the

journey easier.

And while this guide is primarily focused on small businesses and startups, many of

these principles can also be applied to larger, more established businesses or other things

like, you know, e-commerce or whatever.

Also to make things easier, I will talk about the name of your business here, but this applies

to naming products and websites and services or even something like your blog or newsletter

as well.

Lots of things need names and the principle will apply to all of them.

So let's get started.

If you want to build a business in a digitally enabled world, you'll need to secure a domain

for your online presence.

That makes the name finding process a bit more complicated than just coming up with

a good name.

Even if you come up with this amazing name by brainstorming, you might be unable to grab

a domain that adequately represents it.

So check if your domain is available immediately when you come up with a name by using domain

registrars like Namecheap or GoDaddy.

A good domain has to be easy to spell, pronounce and remember, and you will need to check for

that once you come up with a name.

And here's a word about registrars.

They tend to suck.

People run into issues with these huge companies all the time and their customer service tends

to be slow and inept as well.

That's the unfortunate reality out there, but these companies, they hold and sell the

most important piece of digital real estate that we have, and we have no control over

these processes.

So you will just have to deal with this.

Let's maybe dive into something that is a bit easier to control, something you can control.

For interactions with your registrars, this means turning on notifications when they email


These emails tend to be either very important or completely meaningless marketing, and you

will never know which is which.

So stay alert and your problem surface will shrink.

You need to be able to deal with these emails as they come in because sometimes you might

need to extend something or a payment doesn't go through and you really need to be able

to pick this up because if your domain expires, you're going to have a problem because that

name that you really need to get people to your business will now be available for purchase

and you don't want that.

So make sure that any email you get from your registrar is an email you immediately see.

But let's get back to actually picking a domain here.

There used to be a time when people typed in the domains of websites that they wanted

to visit.

But in a world where Google and now even chatgpt and other tools can link to wherever they

want us to go, the domain name itself becomes less of a social and more of a technical consideration.

Yeah, we're talking about the dreaded search engine optimization here.

Instead of merely appealing to our human customers, we have to now appease the machine overlords

as well because they are the gatekeepers to our work being found by real people.

And then we need that stuff to work with those people as well.

So what do we have to consider here?

Well, I talked to Peter Askew, a domain expert who owns and operates domains like

and a few more awesome domains and projects.

Peter has been in the domain game for a long time and he had one central piece of advice

for me.

When in doubt, get top level domain or TLD for short.

While many domain extensions are available, domain is considered the gold standard

because it's just widely recognized and carries a strong sense of authority.

And this kind of authority quickly turns into unconscious bias on a social level.

You can tell a normal person a hundred times that your domain ends, but when

they're in a hurry, they will by default.

If you want to sell your product to people who use the internet like most regular folks, will reduce confusion and infuse a sense of serious business.

Because that's what people know.

Just by mere affiliation with the other businesses that they interact with, will signal

to them a professional company behind the website.

If you have or, that will alert people to the fact that there's something

off because they just don't really recognize it.

And that's probably not something that you want for your first interaction with your

prospective customer.

However, don't hesitate to explore industry specific domains, especially

if they align with your niche and differentiate your business from your competitors.

Using a newer TLD like this can signal a fresh approach, and that will attract early adopters

to your product and your business.

But remember here, the chasm to market adoption is hard to cross even with domain,

and having a confusing domain won't make that easier.

And the TLD won't really help you much if the name of your business itself has a major

problem, being overly similar to an existing business inside or outside your niche.

Remember the Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference of the Trump era?

That was a disaster, and it came because there was a name conflict.

So it's vital to pick a name that doesn't conflict with similar businesses, because

that will affect your search engine rankings and online visibility.

And as with your TLD, you want to reduce confusion and increase recognizability.

Conduct thorough competitor research when you start picking your name to ensure that

your chosen name is unique and won't be mistaken for another brand.

And I know that all of this is a lot to ask for, for a process as tedious as picking a


You'll find that the first few ideas you come up with will likely result in something

that's already taken.

And that is why I asked my Twitter audience how they came up with their names for their

businesses, and I found a few interesting gems in the 350 plus replies that I got to


One of the most common approaches that I found was mixing a piece of personal information

like your own name or the name of your partner or the middle name of your child or the name

of your pet with a term from the industry.

Some people even play around with numbers like parts of their street address or their

zip code or whatever.

That's a pretty reliable way to create something unique.

And something that people seem to like a lot too is to mix an animal name with an industry


It's quite similar, but not the same.

And I can't blame them.

That's how we named our online teacher SaaS business, Feedback Panda.

We were serving teachers who taught for Asian online schools, and the panda was a sure bet

for that.

And the feedback made it absolutely clear what the product was all about.

Rarely do you find a good single word name for a business that is not taken already.

Composites work just as well, and they will allow you to be both unique and clearly indicative

of the industry that you're serving.

And if you are a non-native English speaker, picking a safe slang term from your language

can also work.

These tend to be only used in the geographical regions that they originate from, and that

gives you a decent chance of grabbing domain that uses that term.

You can also look into other languages than your own for this kind of stuff.

Ultimately, name inspiration can come from anywhere.

Song lyrics or mashing together random words and reorganizing their letters or just using

an industry term with a few numbers added.

A lot of things can work.

What matters is that a good name should represent the industry that you serve and the outcome

you hope to achieve or you want your customers to achieve.

Consider brainstorming ideas and concepts that capture this essence of your business

and at the same time resonate with your target audience.

What works with them already?

What businesses exist and what are their names?

What are the key terms of success and expertise in your field?

I tend to make a big list of the themes and phrases and names used by competitors.

It's like a word cloud of evocative names, and that gets my creative juices flowing.

And a list like this can easily be fed into AI systems that come up with variations and


And since we're already talking about tools here, let's make this absolutely clear.

Conversational AI systems, such as ChatGPT, as annoying as they might be right now, they

are incredibly useful for this process.

They might lack the ability to reliably check if these domains exist or not, but they are

amazing tools for brainstorming.

One thing that I love to use ChatGPT for is to give me alternative versions of things

that already exist.

So take all your name ideas, throw them in ChatGPT and ask it to expand the list with

20 new ideas just like this.

ChatGPT is conversational.

You can, and you should, ask it to rephrase things, change the tone, make names longer

or shorter, whatever you would do with a real team of real people around a whiteboard, these

tools can do for you.

And beyond that, there are several other tools and resources available to help you find the

perfect name for your business.

Let me give you a couple of examples.

There is, something that generates domain name suggestions based on your keywords.

Shopify has this business name generator at slash tools slash business name

generator or something, you'll find that in the show notes.

This offers a variety of business name ideas based on your input.

There's Lean Domain Search that matches your keyword with thousands of potential domain


And Nameium, also linked below, is great for that as well.

One thing that most tools like that don't understand is subtlety.

And you will need to think of a few things that are very specific to your business and

how its name will resonate with the people you choose to serve and empower.

So when choosing a business name, it's imperative to consider how it will be perceived across

different languages and cultures as well.

Some phrases are perfectly acceptable in one language, but they are horribly insulting

in another.

When Coca-Cola moved into China, it was first read as keku kela.

That might be botching this, but that meant bite the wax tadpole or female horse stuffed

with wax, depending on the dialect.

It took them a while to find a pronunciation of coca cola in Chinese that actually worked.

I don't really know what that is because I really can't pronounce it, but select the

name that translates well and avoids potentially offensive or negative connotations in those

markets that you serve.

This will ensure that your brand appeals to a diverse audience and maintains a positive

reputation worldwide.

And this again means extensive research ahead of time or finding help.

And let me thank the sponsor for this episode at this point, because I've been talking about

the importance of getting the language right on a global scale.

Well, you need to think about that from the start with your business, not just the name,

even the product, all these things.

And Localazy will help you with all things language.

It's the continuous localization suite that empowers you and your team to create and then

scale multilingual experiences across any digital channel.

What does this mean?

Well, it means getting the language right for all of your users everywhere.

And for an entrepreneur with a global audience, I think that's who you are, right?

That matters a lot.

And this isn't just any old software tool either.

Localazy is a bootstrap business helping other bootstrappers.

And that's important to me, which is why they are the sponsor for the show.

Big shout out to the team here.

I've been following a lot of you on Twitter and for a while already.

And this team has been great.

They've been sharing their knowledge about localization for other founders to use on

Twitter, their community contributors, their bootstrap, they have an amazing product.

What's not to love about this?

So if you're ambitious and you want to serve a global audience, check out Localazy.

You can use the promo code ARVID, A-R-V-I-D, all in caps for a 25% discount as well.

And you just have to go to, that's to learn more and level

up your multilingual game.

Now, to protect your brand from infringement and potential legal disputes, it's crucial

to trademark your business name and domain.

Depending on, of course, where you operate from.

You will probably want to consult with an attorney or use online resources.

If you're in the States, use the US Patent and Trademark Office or in whatever country

you operate, you will find an institution to help you to ensure that your chosen name

doesn't conflict with existing trademarks and then secure legal protection for your


That's not something you want to deal with two years into building a business.

So once you've set a name into stone, you need to legally protect it.

And one more thing, securing social media handles that match your business name is also

essential for maintaining this constant online presence that we all crave, right?

Check the availability of your desired handles on platforms like Twitter or Instagram and

Facebook and whatnot, and claim them as soon as possible.

Consistent social media handles will make it much easier for potential customers to

find you, follow you and follow your journey and talk to you, which is something you want.

This will be an ongoing process.

When new platforms, social media platform and services come around, you will need to

claim those names.

And the same goes for newly released top level domains.

ICANN announces new TLDs on their website whenever they come out.

So I recommend checking that out every now and then.

Their GTLD program suggests thousands of new TLDs are already in the making.

So you might want to stay tuned here.

All of this serves the name recognition of your business.

It's a long term investment in what is top of mind for people when they think about you

and your service, your domain, your name.

That's why so much research and deliberation goes into finding your name.

Aim for a name that will remain relevant and appealing as your business grows and evolves

over time.

And be prepared to reevaluate and possibly undertake this rebranding process like Jay

Klaus did, if your business's direction changes significantly or your target audience's preferences

shift over time.

Names are kind of set in stone, but they don't have to be.

And naming things, I know this, initially when you start is super hard.

Staying true to your name or changing it when your business direction changes is even harder.

And while choosing a fitting business name and domain is crucial, remember that it's

not everything.

Your brand's overall success relies on you providing the value that you promise, in addition

to having a cool name.

So don't forget that your name is precisely that promise.

And when people hear it, or even better when they speak it to their peers, they will consider

whether that promise in that name has been fulfilled.

So happy naming.

And that's it for today.

Thank you for listening to the Bootstrap Founder.

You can find me on Twitter at arvidkahl, A-R-V-I-D-K-A-H-L.

You can find my books and my Twitter course there as well.

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Thank you so much for listening and have a wonderful day.

Bye bye.