Choosing a name for your new business venture or startup is a challenging affair! There are many factors to evaluate. I’ve done it several times over my career and the process is always painful and tedious. I’ve learned a few things along the way and here’s the main points:
Choose a name that is memorable. This goes without saying you want people to remember your name. I won’t go further into this since it’s obvious.
SHORTER IS BETTER
Long names can be a gimmick but a short, to the point name is really the way to go. This is where it gets difficult. How do you encapsulate your company’s identity, service and personality with just a few characters? It takes a lot of brainstorming but it’s possible. You can’t always get a 5 character name but try to limit yourself to a few words. One of our latest finds was “Newpoint Labs”.
HOW DOES IT SOUND?
You’ll want a name that is pronounceable. This might seem obvious but what you think is easily pronounceable may not be for someone else. Let’s say you meet someone and they ask your name. If your company name is difficult to pronounce, they’re not going to be able to find it on the internet much less repeat it to someone else. Some companies advertise the difficulty of spelling their name but do you really want that to be the focus of your ad campaign?
Lets look at a name including the word “Wolf such as “Wolf Gear”. Short and to the point right? But let’s say you’re in a bar and explaining your new business to some friends. Are they going to hear “Wolf” or “Woof”? Sometimes you only have a few seconds to call out your business and move onto more important things like your actual service.
Compare that to Newpoint Labs. Easily pronounced and understood, even with an accent.
HOW IS IT SPELLED?
You might be able to spell your name but will others? This is closely related to how names sound. If you’re running past someone and tell them your company name, how easily will they be able to type it in? Are there any spelling ambiguities? Let’s say your company’s name is “Beenz”. Is someone going home that night going to type in “beans”, “beanz”, “beens” or “beenz”? The best names are easily spelled by anyone hearing the name for the first time without any questions. Look at the big guys: Instagram, Spotify, Facebook. Anyone without much knowledge of those companies could guess the spellings easily.
Taking our example, Newpoint Labs is easily spelled. There are no ambiguities and even a 12 year old could guess the spelling.
IS THE DOMAIN NAME AVAILABLE?
This is usually one of the key questions. It’s important to choose a name that has a matching domain name. And not all domain names are equal. Dot com (.com) names are the best with everything else falling by the wayside. Sure there are many options such as .net, .org, .io etc. But each of those require a little disclaimer each time you explaining your name.
“My company is “beenz.io, b-e-e-n-z dot i-o”.
Think about how many times you’ll have to explain that.
CAN YOU GRAB ALL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS?
Besides worrying about the domain name, you’ll also have to worry about social media. That means checking for your name on as many platforms as you can. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook are the big ones. But don’t forget Tumblr, Pinterest and others as well. It’s best to grab them all.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU CAN’T GET THE PERFECT NAME?
It’s most likely you won’t be able to get the perfect name. There’s so many names parked and taken that finding one that fits all your qualifications is extremely difficult. So are you dead in the water? Not at all! If you can’t get a .com domain name, get one of the others. And if you can’t get those you can always get creative and make your site name more descriptive. Then once you get some traction and earn money, you can go back and buy your name.
Facebook actually started out as “TheFacebook.com”. Once they got big enough they paid the original name owner for the now famous Facebook.com.
Another is to add something to the beginning or end. I’ve seen app developers call their site: getMyApp.com instead of MyApp.com. Similarly, when choosing Newpoint Labs, Newpoint was already taken. Adding the Labs did the trick.
Same goes for Social Media. Quite a few times I’ve found certain names parked by people who never used the accounts. Kind of frustrating but you have to roll with things.
Step by step, how to choose your business name
With all this in mind it seems pretty daunting to find a name. Here’s my procedure.
- Sign up for a new gmail account, ideally with your desired company name.
- Log into a domain name host such as Godaddy, Namecheap etc.
- Think up names and immediately check availability.
- Check if social media accounts are available.
- If not, can you use a variation? We chose IdeaMakerAgency for ours.