One of the most important aspects of starting a business is sometimes the least-considered: choosing a catchy name. You can have a brilliant idea and put in the work, but the right or wrong title can ultimately make, or break, your endeavor. Just ask TV producer Shawn Ryan.
In 2010, television veteran Ryan created Terriers, a critically acclaimed FX series about a pair of San Diego private detectives that garnered a small cult following, but it was canceled after 13 episodes. While the name was meant to convey that the duo’s agency was small but tenacious, like a terrier, it ultimately confused viewers who expected a show about cute dogs, not a gritty crime thriller.
“I still haven’t been able to think of a title that works,” Ryan later told Uproxx.¹ “Beach Noir? Dolworth & Pollack, PI? Our Brand Is Competence?”
You don’t have to be as overly clever as Ryan in naming your business—but it won’t hurt to be as tenacious as a terrier in pursuit of the best moniker. (Come to think of it, Teri’s Terrier Terrace would be a great name for a pet-sitting business.) Choose a distinct title for your (eventual) brand, and half the work is done. Here are three guidelines to help with business name ideas.