The Great Startup Naming Debate

August 11, 2017

What’s in a name? When you think of Google, Apple or Facebook, tech leadership and amazing products immediately come to mind. These brands have names that are so powerful, they need no introduction.

In the world of startups, coming up with a unique, easily branded name is crucial – so crucial that there are startups dedicated to naming other startups. A name can be a huge investment, so it’s important to get it right, and there are a lot of factors to consider. Offering extensive coworking space, thriving professional networks and state-of-the-art resources, you can find that much-needed spark of inspiration at The Vine. As a premiere workplace community, we provide expertise in a variety of fields to propel seed-stage companies forward, from branding to strategy and beyond. See below for our tips on discovering the perfect name for your startup.

1.       Always Have a Backup Plan
With millions of patents and trademarks to compete with, your perfect name will probably be taken. The most successful startups boast names that are short, sweet and memorable, whittling down the list of possibilities. As you enter this process with your list of keywords, be prepared to compromise. To come up with something fresh and original, yet relevant, many brands have started thinking out-of-the-box to access their dream name. For example, photo storage service Mylestone, e-commerce company Unbxd and job board Werk all incorporate intentional typos into their trademarks. It’s a safe bet that you’ll have to get creative, so be sure to arrive at your brainstorming session with plenty of ideas.

2.       Check for Trademarks
So you discovered your brand’s dream name, but before you start pitching to investors, you need to know if it’s trademarked. Failing to check a trademark will not only send you back to the drawing board, it could also lead to some major legal issues for your fledgling company. Luckily, there are services like Naming Matters that use algorithms, phonetic similarity and other search techniques to ensure your brand’s name is available. In addition, make sure to check if your name is available on Secretary of State records, web domains and social media sites, so you can keep your brand name consistent across multiple platforms.

3.       Expect the Unexpected
Did you know that Google got its name from the word “googol,” that is, 10 to the 100th power? Or that Spotify was the product of a misheard phrase? Even the biggest brand names can come from unexpected places. When you’re considering names understand that there is no such thing as a “bad idea.” Consider your company from every angle – What goods and services do you provide? What is the larger impact of your brand’s offerings? If you still run into problems, check out one of the many business name generators specifically geared toward startups, like BrandBucket, which not only generates an available name, but also provides access to a web domain and logo.

4.       Avoid Getting Too Specific
The beauty of founding a startup is that nothing is set in stone. As your startup concept grows and develops, you may discover an entirely new set of offerings that could shape your brand. This freedom to experiment and redefine core services is why a more open-ended name could serve you well in the long run. For example, if your startup currently focuses on CRM tools, you’re going to want to avoid naming your startup “CRM Data Entry” if you plan on expanding your list of capabilities in the future.

5.       Get a Second Opinion
During the startup creation process, never underestimate the importance of constructive criticism, especially when it comes to naming your company. Bouncing ideas off other professionals in your industry will ensure that the name resonates with a larger audience. Supporting an expansive network of entrepreneurs with coworking environments and state-of-the-art resources, The Vine is where seed-stage entrepreneurs can find that much-needed source of feedback.  

If you’re ready to bring your brilliant startup concept to life, come to The Vine. Here you will discover a supportive, dynamic environment that accelerates success with mentorship opportunities, innovative layouts and more.  

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