Eight Terrible Small Business Names

Small businesses have the great advantage of being unique and full of personality. Your small business’ name should highlight what makes your brand special. But some business owners go too far, try too hard or don’t think about alternate interpretations customers might have. From made-up words to edible children, here are eight examples of terrible small business names:

Swampwater Grill – If I found a grill in a swamp, I would not be inspired to cook on it. Restaurant names should at least attempt to sound appetizing.

Tender Tots Daycare – If restaurant names should sound appetizing, childcare center names should not.

ABC Systems, Inc. – Do they manufacture alphabets? This business name is so obscure, perhaps it’s a CIA cover organization.

Bleux Water Spa – “Bleux” is not a real word in any language (that I could find, anyway). I suspect the URL for Bleu Water Spa must have already been taken.

Scarlett O’Hair – Salons have a long and storied history of employing puns, and I do love a good pun. But something about this name is simply off-putting.

Mario’s Lord of the Wings – OK, I admit it. The pun for this wings’ restaurant is so terrible that I really, really like it. But can you imagine seriously recommending this place by name? Out loud?

Dress Barn – Not technically a small business, but this chain should have remembered the phrase, “big as a barn.” Alternately, the name implies that its customers might be cattle.

AAAA International Driving School – The days of racing to the top of the phone book’s alphabetical listings are over. It’s time to develop a more compelling name. Also, because this company operates in southwest Ohio, the designation of “International” is mysterious.

For entrepreneurs thinking about starting a new small business or rebranding an existing one, these eight examples give insight into what to avoid. Choose your business name carefully, because it’s the first impression customers have of your brand.


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