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Combining Real Names

Create a Business Name by Combining Two Names

Discover how to combine multiple names to make the perfect business name for your new company.

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Discover how to combine multiple names to make the perfect business name for your new company.

One of the most important tasks you’ll tackle when you’re starting a business is coming up with a business name. And if you’re starting a business with someone else, you might be wondering if you can mix names to create a unique business name. 

But how do you make that work? How can you take two (or more) names, mix them together, and come up with the perfect name? As long as you get it right, combining two personal names can find a brand name that’s personalized and resonates with your customers. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the best techniques to combine names for business, including coming up with your own name or using a name combiner tool or business name generator. Before long you’ll have the perfect name for your business.

Appeal of Personal Names in a Business Name

A lot of business owners like the idea of using their personal name in their business name. And it can be a great option. After all, using your personal name gives your brand a personal touch and humanizes your company. It can also become a vital part of your brand’s future storytelling, alluding to your roots as a small business that’s grown into a strong, successful company. 

There are hundreds of examples of companies that have successfully used personal names in their business name to build powerful brands in a wide variety of industries. Ben & Jerry’s, Hewlett-Packard, Johnson & Johnson, J.P. Morgan, Chanel, and even Disney all use personal names. 

Whether you’re starting out solo or working with business partners, you can build a powerful brand with a personal name in your company name. So let’s talk about how to make that happen.

Tips to Combine Names for Business

Integrating a personal name into your company name actually follows a lot of the general rules for a good business name. It should sound professional, memorable, and fit your industry. It shouldn’t be too complex or have any unintended negative or offensive connotations.

Of course, your name also needs to be unique. If you have a common surname like Smith or Jones, you may need to add in (or blend with) other words related to your industry to stay distinct.

Let’s discuss some of our favorite ways to integrate personal names into company names.

Combine full last or first names

The simplest way to integrate your personal name is simply to combine two names into a single title. For example, Johnson & Johnson accomplishes this by adding an ampersand in between the two surnames. You can blend two first names or last names if you wish. You might also integrate words related to your industry, and make a name like “Joe and Charlie’s BBQ Rib Shack.” 

This is an especially useful method for partnerships who can’t agree on another business name or just want both partners’ names included in the company moniker. 

Blend parts of personal names together

If you’re feeling a little more creative than just stringing two names together with an ampersand, you can also consider blending parts of your names. For example, if Billy and Bob wanted to start a seafood restaurant, they might not like “Billy and Bob’s Crab Shack” over “BillyBob’s Crab Shack.” The second sounds more playful, which might better suit their restaurant’s vibes. 

Similarly, two friends named Jessica and Jenna might choose a lovely name like “JJ’s Boutique” for their shop instead of combining their full first names. 

Any time you combine portions of a name or mix words, be sure to double-check that you haven’t accidentally introduced any unintended meanings or issues. 

Compound words and add them to your name

You can even combine part of your name with other industry words to create a truly unique business name. For example, you might take your last name, “Mills” and combine it with “nail” to make the name “Nail-Mill” for your nail salon business. 

The appeal of making a compound word that contains part of your name is that the name you create will probably be very distinct, standing out from other business names. Unique names tend to be memorable and stick in the minds of potential customers. 

Create a portmanteau: Two-word sounds and meanings

In French, “Portmanteau” stands for a word that combines the sounds and meanings of two different words. These words can be tricky to combine, but truly impactful if you get them right. 

The most famous example of a portmanteau is Verizon, which combines the English word “horizon” with the Latin word “veritas,” which means “truth.” 

Steps for Naming a Business with Two Personal Names

If you’re set on including your personal name in your business name, you’ll need to follow a few crucial steps to ensure that your name is both practical and legally compliant. 

Step 1: Selecting the Names to Combine

First, you’ll need to select which personal names you’re going to integrate. Kind of like new parents may have to work together for months to decide on their favorite baby names, business partners may need to compromise a little or collaborate to find the perfect way for combining names. 

Either way, you’ll want to carefully consider which names to use and how to use them. Here are some of the criteria you should evaluate: 

  • What is the significance of the name in question? Some business owners opt to honor a family member with family names, and others choose their own for a touch of personal ownership. There isn’t a wrong answer here, but it’s worth considering.
  • Is the name (or portion of the name) easy to pronounce? You want customers to be able to spell your name and say it aloud — that way, they can recommend you to their friends and family. Sometimes personal names from other languages or unique nicknames can be tricky to pronounce, so you might consider changing spellings to be clearer or using a different part of your name.
  • Does it matter which name comes first? For businesses combining multiple personal names, it’s important to discuss which name will come first. Ideally, business partners shouldn’t put much importance on sequencing, favoring how the name sounds and looks. But if your partners do care, it’s an important discussion to have.

Step 2: Creative Ways to Merge Two Names

Now it’s time to decide how you’re going to merge your names to create unique names. There are lots of methods to do this, including those we discussed above. You can blend two names into one word (or three names into two words), use a hyphen or ampersand to make your new name combination, or even integrate your initials into your name. You can play around with different sequences, finding the order that sounds the best. 

Your priority when merging names should be to make a memorable final name that looks good on paper and sounds good when you say it out loud. You don’t want to end up with a name that’s too odd or “out there” to be viable. Quirky combinations and new words can be viable, but there is such a thing as too quirky.

Step 3: Checking the Name’s Availability

Combining two names into one business name increases the likelihood of having a unique name, but it doesn’t guarantee it’s unique. And it’s always your responsibility to ensure that your desired business name doesn’t infringe on any protected business names. 

At the state level, you need to run a business name search to see if there are any businesses in your state that already hold the name. You’ll also need to check against the state trademark database as well. The specifics vary from state to state, but you can typically find these searches on your state’s Secretary of State or business website. 

At the federal level, you should also conduct a trademark search with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Your name cannot infringe on a trademark, and it’s your responsibility to use this tool and check. Failing to check could have serious legal consequences down the line.

Generally, with these searches, if you type in your desired name and no matches pop up, it’s probably available for you to use. This search is especially important if you used an online name generator tool.

Finalizing Your Business Name

After you’ve worked so hard to create a new name that’s unique, available, and viable for your business, it’s time to secure it and make it yours. 

First off, if your business will be a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, you’ll want to register your business under that name by filing Articles of Organization (for LLCs) or Articles of Incorporation (for corporations) with your state. When you register in this way, your name becomes protected in your state, meaning no one else in your state can use the same name. 

If you’re looking for more protections, you can also consider filing for a state or federal trademark. Federal trademarks are the most robust protection you can get for your name, but keep in mind that the application is detailed, time-consuming, and expensive. If you decide to go this route, we recommend consulting with a trademark attorney.

Setting Up Your Online Presence

A strong web presence is essential in today’s digitally centered environment. That means you’ll need a domain name and social media accounts. And ideally, your social media handles and domain name should match your business name. That makes it easier for customers to find you online. 

If you need help searching domain availability and registering one, ZenBusiness can help. 

What if I don’t want to register as an LLC or corporation?

Getting state protection by registering as an LLC or corporation isn’t a viable option if you’d rather operate as a general partnership or sole proprietorship. If that’s your preference, you do have the option to register your name as a DBA, or “doing business as” name. 

Most states don’t protect DBAs for exclusive use, but even if that’s true, registering one can be helpful. The registration adds your name to the state records, which might discourage someone else from using it.

Using Business Naming Tools for Inspiration

If you’re not sure of the best way to blend names to create a business name, you can use some business naming tools. One of our favorites is a business name generator or a two-name combiner tool. Basically, these tools will take the keywords you type in and suggest business name ideas. 

Tools like this aren’t perfect, of course. They’re limited to the keywords and variations you put in. So it’s best to pick strategic keywords and be creative with the combinations you type in. With each different combination you input, the name generator tool or name mixer will suggest new ideas.

Naming tools don’t guarantee that a suggested name is available, though, so please be sure to double-check any names you’re thinking about using. 

Try ZenBusiness

Starting a business can feel like an overwhelming process, but you don’t have to go it alone. Whether you need help registering your LLC or corporation, registering a domain name, or even managing your business with a streamlined app, ZenBusiness has your back. We’ll handle the red tape so you can focus on your passion: your new business.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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