Choosing the right name for your startup is crucial. It’s just as important as naming a baby — maybe more, because you hope that your business’ name will be seen by millions. You need a name that will ensure that your company is memorable and easy to find. These tips can help you find the best options.
- Choose a brandable name. It’s tempting to choose a name that will tell a prospective buyer what you’re offering right off the bat. The problem with that approach is that you can wind up with a generic name. You can include elements of what you do in choosing your name, but you still need to wind up with something unique and brandable. Think about companies like Google or Flickr — the names have certain connotations, but they’re unique.
- Test potential names to make sure that they’re easy to spell, as well as pronounce. If a customer can’t figure out how to spell your company’s name after hearing it once, you’re going to lose out on both sales and search traffic.
- Research competition for the name you like. Before finalizing your choice, you need to look into who is using a similar company name, both inside and out of your industry. I’ve actually seen cases where one business successfully sued another for using a similar name, despite being in a very different industry without a high likelihood of anyone mistaking one company for the other.
- Think about design as you choose the name. You’re going to need plaster your name all over a website and other branding materials. You don’t need a logo right off the bat, but start testing out your name in different fonts and colors. Look for anything that could cause a problem later on.
- Look at the domain name. You don’t just need a domain to be available (preferably a .com) for any name you choose. You need it to make sense and not have any hidden meanings. Nathalie Lussier, the Raw Foods Witch found such a hidden meaning in her domain name, RawFoodSwitch.com. Luckily, she was able to make use of a small change to improve her branding — RawFoodsWitch.com. But there are other hidden meanings that can be far less pleasant.
It’s important to make sure that you get your company’s name right the first time around. It isn’t impossible to completely rebrand a company after it’s been in operation for a while — but it isn’t easy, either. The better the name you choose the first go-around, the better.
Image by Flickr user Grey Hargreaves