Thinking of a good business name can be fun, but it's an important task, too. A good business name can be one of your most powerful marketing tools.
Ideas for good business names come from many sources. Indeed, friends and family might also have some business name suggestions. Crucially, you need to strike the right chord with potential customers.
Your business name must create the desired impression in their minds of what your business does and what it stands for (i.e. its values). It will be a key part of promoting your new business to your target market.
Some owners go for abstract or deliberately unusual business names. In many cases, this isn't advisable. You could fail to attract customers, if they can't quickly understand what you sell.
Picking something that sticks in people's minds is wise, but your name should be memorable for the right reasons not because it's pretentious, bad or just plain ridiculous. Short names are easier to remember, of course.
A modern name will suit some businesses, while for others it's more important to evoke tradition. Don't pick something that will soon look outdated. Genuinely amusing business names are rare and suit specific types of business. Trying to be funny can backfire, because it can suggest an owner who doesn't take their business seriously enough.
Using your own name for your business can be effective if building close relationships with clients is key. It gives the impression of a small and personable approach to business.
If you use your name, it's important to let people know what you do, either in the name (eg Joe Stone Paving Specialists) or accompanying strapline (eg Joe Stone Ltd High quality pathways and patios).
Giving a sense of place can be effective, too. It suggests local pride and identity and possibly authenticity and quality.