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How to choose a name for your startup business

New company brand name

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Things to consider when choosing a name for your business

How important is what name I choose for my business?

The quick answer is: not very important, as long as you don’t do anything silly. Paying too much attention to finding a name for your business is one of the common startup mistakes. Yes, a catchy name helps, but we also have many examples of extremely successful companies with boring names. Let’s take General Electric or  International Business Machines (IBM) as an example. Both are generic and not very exciting names which didn’t jeopardise the business outcomes. On the other hand, Amazon, Nike or Tesla don’t have a winning product or service just because they have great names. 

The brand name is not going to make or break your startup, so just try to avoid major pitfalls and focus on building your business.  

How to choose a name for your startup

So how do I name my business? What should I consider when choosing a brend name for my company?

Tips for choosing a name for your startup

1. Simple and easy to remember

Don’t try too hard to be unique, don’t go for long phrases. Keep it sweet and short. The name should be easy to remember, and if it’s memorable that’s great. Remember that simple is more powerful. 

Simple is more powerful

2. Customers’ expectations

Again, don’t try to be very original if it doesn’t come naturally. Focus on what your customers expect, not what your personal taste. 

3. Outcomes and benefits

A great name should communicate the benefits for customers or results you produce for them. Your brand should say what it does. Not only it sends a clear message to your customers, but also helps Google search. 

4. Meaning 

Your brand should have a name which means something. It should be easy to understand and to remember. Check the meaning of your name in other languages as well, especially if you operate internationally. It happens that something that sounds very appealing in your language means something offensive or negative in another language. 

5. Don’t pigeonhole your business

If you start as a niche business, but may diversify your activity in the future, choose a name that will last when you expand. On the other hand, changing a name in the future is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be a good way to create some buzz around your brand and show that you’re growing. So again, don’t overthink it and take action. 

6. Check domain availability

Once you’ve come up with a name for your business, check if a relevant domain is available. Do it before you start investing in anything related to branding, as it may happen that the domain name you want is not available. Depending on the domain availability you may choose to modify or change your brand name. 

7. Check trademark registrations

And finally, a hugely important point, check the existing trademark registrations to avoid legal issues. You don’t want to use a name which someone already uses in the same category. 

What to avoid when choosing a company name

1. Buying expensive domains

Don’t pay thousands for a .com domain or a URL to match exactly what you have dreamt of as the ideal name for your business. It’s not worth it and it’s a waste of money. Big brands sometimes pay hundreds of thousands for vanity domain names but you really shouldn’t do this as a startup. 

2. Easily misspelled words

Avoid easily misspelled words or commonly confused words.

3. Using your name as the brand name

Naming the business after the owner is a common mistake of choosing a band name. Although it makes the company name unique, it may create issues when you decide to sell the business, or when you build a team and want to step back from the front line. 

Final note

To summarise, business is not really about the name, just keep it simple and meaningful and avoid basic mistakes. 

How to come up with a business name?

Some of us invent new names easily, others are not that creative. If you need some inspiration for finding a good company name, you can use a business name generator.

Business name generators

Here are two examples of business name generators:

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