Startup Toolkit: Naming Your Startup
Posted by Joe Garza about 5 hours ago
If you are new to the world of entrepreneurship, launching a startup can seem like a daunting task. Let’s be honest, it is. In fact, countless individuals have abandoned their entrepreneurial dreams to avoid scaling the precipitous path of entrepreneurship.
For those of you who find yourselves hesitant about taking that first bold step, the Startup Toolkit is here to equip you with the knowledge you need to help make your dream company a reality. Each installment consists of expert, up-to-the-minute resources addressing the challenges every fledgling founder must overcome.
This installment focuses on the importance of conceiving an effective name for your startup. While this may seem like an easy step for most, few entrepreneurs realize the substantial impact a name can have on the success — and failure — of a company. Luckily, we’ve gathered a few resources that can help you formulate a name that will make you stand out from the crowd.
In this Serious Startups article, entrepreneurship educator, consultant, and serial founder David Ledgerwood offers a set of simple guidelines any founder can employ when naming a company.
- Let your domain name drive the search. Below are some tools you can utilize:
- Wordoid — Pick a short and catchy name for your business.
- Naminum — The leading startup, company, and website name generator on the web
- Domainr — Fast, free, domain name search, short URLs.
- Keep names short as they are easier to communicate and easier to type and remember.
- Check your social handles and look for something that can be registered without having to change it across all networks so people can find you easily on their network of choice.
- Make it easy to communicate verbally (by phone); if you have to spell a name ten times, it can annoy customers, lead to people misspelling it, and result in loss of business.
- Make it relevant to the benefit you will provide your clients or customers, so don’t get too cute.
“Biggest advice: don’t get emotional. Remember that Amazon used to be a jungle and Verizon isn’t even a real thing. And while we’re at it, what the hell is a Lyft or an Uber? You can make this work.”
This Inc. article by Erik Sherman posits that a bad startup name stems less from a founder’s lack of attention to detail, diligence, and self-awareness, but more from a lack of understanding of what their company does. Below is a list of questions that all founders should ask themselves when naming their company. If you answered yes to any of them, you need to reevaluate the purpose of your company.
- Does the description focus on the products or services you sell?
- Do you mention how you’ll go to market?
- Have you compared the company to your competitors?
- Did include include phrases such as “the leading,” “state-of-the-art,” or “world-class?”
“When you understand what the business really does, you’re closer to developing proper relationships with customers. When you have that relationship set, everything else will begin to fall into order. Until then, you literally don’t know what you’re doing.”
Writing for Entrepreneur, small business strategist and entrepreneur Peter Gasca delineates three easy-to-remember rules every founder should keep in mind when naming a company.
- The 5–10 rule: Many great companies throughout history had 5 to 10 letters in their name, had at least one hard consonant, and many had a repeating letter. This is not a hard and fast rule, but countless successful companies have adhered to this guideline.
- The icon rule: As more and more customers absorb content and make purchase decisions through mobile smart devices, it’s imperative to consider how a name and logo will occupy these diminutive displays.
- The social-media rule: Nowadays, businesses need to secure website domains and accounts with sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and others to improve search engine optimization (SEO) organically and help protect their online reputations.
In this Entrepreneur article by Jodi Helmer, Steve Manning, founder and CEO of Igor, a naming and branding agency, discusses the game behind finding a name. You can save the image below as a quick cheatsheet.
- Why the right name is so important: The right name can set a startup apart from its competitors, help establish the brand, and trigger a lasting emotional connection with customers.
- Some points to consider: Remember, a good name is easy to pronounce, fun to say, and has layers of meaning and association.
- The mistakes startups make when choosing a name: Being quirky for the sake of being quirky can lead to misspellings and can make it difficult for your customers to find you.
“There is a misguided focus on tossing out good names because of their dictionary definitions. But no one cares about the official definition; a name should demonstrate what your business is all about. You’re not naming a company; you’re naming its positioning.”
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Originally published at fi.co.