One of the most critical decisions when developing a startup is picking a name. The name is the first exposure many people have to your startup. It also helps shape your brand and online presence. Because picking the perfect name can feel overwhelming, it is the first major hurdle many entrepreneurs face. Your startup’s success may depend on having the best name. Having help from experts like BrandBucket is one way to go. But if you are tackling it on your own the process can be much smoother once you consider a few effective and tested steps.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Keeping things simple is a good mantra in business, and it’s a good philosophy for choosing a startup name. While it is tempting to craft a long name to cover all of your products, going for a short approach has a lot of advantages. First, it makes it easier to type; especially on mobile devices or in social media posts. It also makes it easier to spell, and less likely to be shortened by others. The easier your startup’s name is to share, the more likely it will be.
Make Sure it Has Meaning
Your startup’s name should convey the meaning of your brand. Doing so will help customers easily understand what your business is about and be more memorable. Memorable startup names that are distinctive from competitors generate more customers. Think about how it will look online as well as in print advertisements. If it looks bold in various contexts and is easy for people to recall then you are off to a good start.
Double Check for Online Availability
Before you settle on a name, make sure it is available. It can be frustrating to narrow down a name only to find out it has already been trademarked or in use online. For a successful startup you need more than just a dedicated website. Research all possible brand domain names and social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Even if you’re chosen name is available, other businesses with similar sounding or spelled names can encourage you to go back and refine the name.
Once you have a memorable name, make sure it’s not limited to your business in the moment. Technology and trends are constantly reshaping the business world. Just because you offer one kind of service today doesn’t mean that will be the same five, 10, or even 20 years later. Having a name with a broader appeal is a great approach so it can act as an umbrella and cover potential directions you may take your business in later.
Go Against the Trends
Entrepreneurs often think their business needs a trendy name. That’s not always a good avenue. If you are sticking to a trend, odds are there are hundreds of others out there following that same trend; causing your startup to get lost in the crowd. Trends in the business world also are short-lived. Picking a name that sounds great in the moment may not have the longevity you are looking for. Instead, go with something more timeless so you won’t have to spend more time (and money) repeating the naming process later on.
Carolyn Clarke is a serial entrepreneur turned business consultant who’s spent the past decade helping new businesses move from startups to successful operations. When she’s not in her startup sandbox, she enjoys hiking around Lake Tahoe, where she lives with her two kids, husband, and golden retriever, Scout.