January 2022

How Important Is a Startup’s Name?

Martin Sandhu
Martin Sandhu
Founder of nuom

Choosing a name for your startup can feel like the most stressful step. But how important is it really? How many businesses stick with their initial name, and how can you be certain that you won’t want to edit it down the line? This article will help you decide.

Think of your business name as an opportunity to make a first good impression. It’s often the first thing people hear when you tell them what your company does. That’s why good company names are carefully curated to capture your vision, tone, and values. It’s a brand ambassador that’s going to help you establish an emotional connection with your customers and differentiate your business from your competitors.

It’s easy to understand why so many founders obsess over what name to pick for their startup. After all, if your company becomes a major success, it would be increasingly more difficult to change that name as it is so intertwined with your brand. How many startups have you heard of opting for a new name after they’ve hit it big? The initial name you pick for your business would most likely stick. Here are a few tips to help you pick the perfect name for your startup.

1. Keep it short and simple

A good rule of thumb to follow is to use a name that’s short and up to two syllables in length like Twitch, Google, eBay etc. Although, the emotional connection your customers have towards your brand is what’s going to make it memorable, picking a short and catchy name would certainly aid your marketing efforts.

2. Don’t be too descriptive

Many founders, especially those of high-tech companies, opt for functional names for their businesses - think of PayPal or General Motors. If your startup is truly the first on the market to bring a particular type of service, such naming conventions have their merits. However, descriptive and generic names tend to be unremarkable, hard to remember, and more importantly - difficult to trademark.

3. Think long term

If you stick with a name that’s too specific to the type of services you offer, you’ll find yourself in a tough spot once you’ve hit certain growth margins. It’s why you would see companies with descriptive names  rebrand after entering new markets. You’ve guest it - their name no longer fitted with their service offering and was in dire need of an overhaul.  

4. Don’t copy your rivals

Perhaps, the worst thing you could do during the naming process is to copy your competitors. After all, if their name is successful, why not create something similar, right? Wrong! Your customer acquisition costs would skyrocket as you’d need twice the marketing effort to differentiate yourself from the crowd. As an early-stage startup, that’s a resource you can’t afford to waste.

5. Always check domain availability

Coming up with the perfect name for your company only to find out the domain name has already been taken can be a costly and soul-crushing experience. That’s why you should always consider domain availability during your naming process. To improve your chances, you could use alternative domain extensions like .tech or even country codes like .fr for example. It’s also going to help you be more creative with the name you pick.

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