Multiply Method: How to Name A Business Creatively

Creative Business Name Generator. A group of marketing professionals brainstorming business names.

Turn a spreadsheet into a creative business name generator, and find the perfect catchy company name.

Struggling with how to name a business? Frustrated with online company name generators?

We all understand the need for a short, catchy, original name that conveys a sense of the brand. But we don’t know how to find that perfect name for your store, consultancy, or non-profit.

There are automated name generators available which you might have tried. But you only need to do one search to realize that naming a company not a task suited to a robot or computer program. A human needs to name a company because the company name is for other humans. Only a person can recognize a catchy business name.

The multiply method can generate hundreds of business names that fit your industry, and you can choose the best fit. The only thing you need is a brain and Excel or Google Docs or even just a sheet of paper.

The Multiply Method for naming companies

The multiply method takes two lists of words and combines each pair into a catchy business name. The result is dozens of unique words some of which are excellent options. The list of names can then be paired down based on personal preference, availability of domain names / social media handles, and availability of the copyright.

This option creates unique and short business names better than any other brainstorming method. In a world of global commerce, there is an increasing need for a unique business name. A short name is even more valuable because of domains and social media.

Step 1: Create 2 lists of relevant words.

A good name conveys a sense of the industry, product, and/or attributes. The name ‘Tesla’ conveys electricity and innovation. Fabreze makes you think of a fresh breeze. Neutrogena is a scientific-sounding word that highlights the ph neutral feature of the products.

Start by making one list of four to eight words that are associated with the industry, lifestyle or adjectives that you would like the company or product to be described as.

Now, create a second list four to eight words. Consider taking a different angle for the second list than you did the first. For example, if your company is applying existing technology in a new market sector, consider putting technology words in one list and words associated with your customers in another.


Hypothetically, let’s say that we have been commissioned a couple, Clay and Summer, who are using high tech sports fabrics to create clothes for skateboarders. We have to create a list of words associated with sportswear and a second list of words related to skateboarding.

Sports Skateboarding
Athletic Skate
Activewear Ollie
Technical Grind
Wicking Burly

Step 2: Set up a table.

You can either use a pen and paper, whiteboard, Excel, or Google Sheets to do the next step.

Start a table with the number of rows one more than the number of words in your first list, and the number of columns one more than your second list. For example, if your lists had 6 words and 4 words respectively than you need a 7-row x 5-column table.

Place all the words from your first list in the first column, leaving the first cell blank. Next, write all of the words from your second list into the top row, again leaving the first cell blank.

If you are doing this with pen and paper or a whiteboard, make the table as large as possible, so there is plenty of room to write into the remaining cells.


We have four words in each of our lists for our skateboard technical clothing company. This means we need to create a 5 x 5 table. We are using Excel.

We place the sports words in the first column and the skateboarding words in the first row.

Skate Olie Grind Burly

Step 3: Write the full word combinations.

Now that you have your table, you need to fill it with the combinations of list one words and the list two words. We are going to start with both the full words together.

Write in each of the blank cells the word in the top of the column followed by the word in the left end of the row. On a new line in the cell, write the combination in the reverse order.

You may see business names you like already but keep with the process. They will get even better.


We filled our table from step 2 with all of the full word combinations.

Skate Olie Grind Burly
Athletic Skate Athletic

Athletic Skate

Olie Athletic

Athletic Ollie

Grind Athletic

Athletic Grind

Burly Athletic

Athletic Burly

Activewear Skate Activewear

Activewear Skate

Olie Activewear

Activewear Olie

Grind Activewear

Activewear Grind

Burly Activewear

Activewear Burly

Technical Skate Technical

Technical Skate

Olie Technical

Technical Olie

Grind Technical

Technical Grind

Burly Technical

Technical Burly

Wicking Skate Wicking

Wicking Skate

Olie Wicking

Wicking Olie

Grind Wicking

Wicking Grind

Burly Wicking

Wicking Burly

Step 4: Combine the words together.

This is where the magic happens. You are going to make unique combinations of all the word sets in all of the cells.

For example, you could combine “Snappy” and “Apple” into “Snapple.” Another example is the combination of “Quality” and “Communications” into “Qualcom.”

Those examples make it seem easy, but it can be challenging. And some words just don’t go together in any reasonable way. Some collumns or rows may feel like pure duds, but try to work through them because you do not know where the perfect name will emmerge from.

We have a few tips from our experience:
Tip 1: Go for quantity over quality. If a name sounds like garbage, write it down anyway.
Tip 2: Take breaks. Even the smallest table can be challenging to do in one sitting.
Tip 3: Don’t fall in love. A cool name might emerge early but commit to filling our the entire table.
Tip 4: Fill out the table in any order. We tend to jump around as doing it row by row or column by column can be exhausting. Go where the inspiration takes you but fill out all the cells.


We worked through the table with this result.

Skate Olie Grind Burly
Athletic Skate Athletic
SkathleteAthletic Skate
Olie Athletic
OliathAthletic Ollie
Grind Athletic
GrindleticAthletic Grind
Burly Athletic
BurleticAthletic Burly
Activewear Skate Activewear
SkactiveActivewear Skate
Active-Skate Wear
Olie Activewear
OlieactiveActivewear Olie
Grind Activewear
GrindwearActivewear Grind
Active Grind
Burly Activewear
BurlywearActivewear Burly
Technical Skate Technical
SkatnicalTechnical Skate
Tech Skate
Olie Technical
OlitechTechnical Olie
Grind Technical
GrindtechTechnical Grind
Burly Technical
BurtechTechnical Burly
Wicking Skate Wicking
SkatickWicking Skate
Olie Wicking
OliwickWicking Olie
Grind Wicking
GrickWicking Grind
Burly Wicking
BurlickWicking Burly
Wicked Burly

Step 5: Pick the potential names.

You probably got excited about a bunch of the names as you were generating. Now is the time to make a list of those.

Highlight all of the names with potential on the table. The full word combinations are open to choose as well. Take all of the highlighted words and make a list of them. Making this list in Excel or Google Docs will be helpful for step six, but you can do this step on paper or on a whiteboard as well.


We pulled these names out of our table:

Active Skate Wear
Active Grind
Burly Technical

Step 6: Eliminate the unusable names.

You should have a pretty solid list of names going. Unfortunately, not all of them are going to be usable. Some may be taken by other companies in your industry and would be a violation of copyright to use. Domain names and social media handles may not be available


We are really excited about our list of names for our line of activewear for skateboarders. We cannot show the list to Clay and Summer, or client entrepreneurs, and get their hopes up over names that are already being used.

We knew that we wanted a .com domain and do not have the budget to buy one from a reseller or squatter. We knew the next most important thing to check is Instagram, as it has a thriving skateboarder community and is the hangout spot for our target audience. Twitter is also important.

I, personally, was sad to see Oliwick get eliminated at this stage, but such is life!

Lastly, we check with our team to eliminate names that may have unintended connotations; many of the words derived from “burly” were removed because it is associated with broad body types.

In the end, we shared four names with Clay and Summer. The potential names were Wickolie, Burliwick, Grindwick, and Skatewick. The entrepreneurs chose “Skatewick” as their final choice.

Unused? Domain? Instagram? Twitter? Team approve? CEO approve?
Oliwear No
Grindwear No
Burtech No
Oliath Yes No
Skactive Yes No
Active Skate Wear Yes No
Active Grind Yes No
Wrind Yes No
Skatick Yes Yes No
Burletic Yes Yes Yes No
Oliwick Yes Yes Yes No
Skathletic Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Burlactive Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Burly Technical Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Wickolie Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Grindwick Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Burliwick Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Skatewick Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Colin Finkle

Colin Finkle is a brand marketer and designer with 14 years of experience helping Fortune 500 companies, and now passionately helps Canadian entrepreneurs and public figures at the brand marketing agency, Nordeau. You can see his work at

5 thoughts on “Multiply Method: How to Name A Business Creatively”

  1. So much useful technique. Recently i search for my craft work domain name and about branding and other stuff and this article is very useful for me to choose name. Thank you so much

    1. Go for it, Murkesh! Feel free to use the Multiply Method in your commercial endeavors. My experience has been that it is hard to convince people to pay for brand name suggestions. But it is a pain point for people who feel that “all the good names are taken.”

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