Table of Contents
40 Steps to Name a Startup
Step 1: Understand The Psychology Behind A Name
The name of your startup speaks for you when you are not even there. What people think when they first hear your startup name matters. That first feeling they get, what they fist initially think of your startup when hearing or seeing the company name, and the things they associate with it matter immensely.
With any company or startup, you must understand that no matter what the name, there are going to be people who may think negatively about your startup no matter what. Having a minority of people not liking your company based off your name is nothing to be afraid of.
Don't be afraid of having somewhat of an edgy name if you are a rugged type of company that wants that to be easily identified. Though be sure not cross the line between a little edgy and controversial.
Step 2: Knowing What Not to Do
Before understanding what to do, you must understand what not to do. Here are the 3 main not-to-do:
1) Names that are Difficult to Say
The most vital rule when coming up with a name for your business is that your name must be simple to pronounce, spell, and remember.
If people have a tough time saying your name, then it’s most likely that they will evade saying it altogether. You should avoid using a confusing intentional misspelling in your name as part of an effort to be creative or unique. It’s very common for names with complex intentional misspellings to create more confusion than intrigue.
If you have a name you like, but you’re not sure if it’s the one, try applying the “crowded bar theory” to your name. If you were telling a friend the name of your startup at a crowded bar, is it easily understandable?
An example of a name that does not pass the crowded bar theory would be a hypothetical restaurant called Sam and Ella’s. This name could sound like salmonella when it’s overheard in a crowded bar, and it is equally undesirable and unappealing. Therefore, it’s essential that you double check that your brand name only has to be heard one time to be correctly understood.
The best business names that are simple to pronounce and easy to spell are the names that potential customers are more likely to remember. When your happy customers share your business name with their family and friends, they will act as agents of your brand. Choosing a smooth, clean name makes the sharing process much easier for your customers.
2) Names that Aren’t Unique
While it is always essential to have a descriptive name that informs your audience about what your business offers, names that are too vivid end up being boring.
For example, Certified Office Stationery Items LLC is a very descriptive name. From the name alone, the audience has a complete understanding of the products the business sells. However, the name is not unique. It’s too descriptive, and that makes the name feel bland and ordinary. Titles like this one are outdated and can’t compete in today’s modern market because it will not interest or intrigue customers.
3) Long Names
Long names are problematic for many reasons. The cumbersomeness of a long name will turn-off many potential customers and clients because long names come with long URLs.
You should also think about possible social media handles you may want in the future for your brand. Twitter handles stop at just 15 characters, so make sure your name is short enough to fit or be abbreviated.
Step 3: Which is your Purpose?
If you haven’t already defined the purpose of your startup, you should start by spending a few minutes describing the ambition of your company and the promise to your consumer. It's a great practice to choose a name that's associated with your purpose and values.
If you haven't defined your purpose, maybe these two templates will prove useful to you:
- We help A (Customer) do B (Problem) doing C (Solution). For example: We help email marketers create their newsletter emails by giving them a fully responsive and easy email design tool.
- [Famous Company] for/of [New Domain]. For example: Airbnb for supercars, or, Tinder for dogs.
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