How to Name a Startup Business Perfectly (With Expert Tips)

Have you ever thought that the startup you are founding now could become a part of your identity for the rest of your life? People will always associate the name of the startup with your name.

Not only that, the right name can help your business stand out from the competition, while a wrong choice can make the startup journey difficult before it even gets off the ground. Therefore, naming your startup can be one of the most important decisions you make as an entrepreneur.

In this article, we will discuss how to name a startup, what aspects to consider, and some tips to avoid mistakes when naming your startup business.

Importance Of A Good Startup Name

Names have lifelong cultural and psychological effects, so it’s crucial to get them right the first time.

Whether you’re creating your startup’s first name, this will set the manner and culture for your company for years to come.

Here is why your start-up name is important:

  • The name of your company is the very first thing that potential clients and investors will notice
  • A memorable company name sets you out from the competitors and creates a position in the market.
  • A unique name defines your brand, its growth, and its impression.
  • The startup name reflects what products you sell as well as the overall goal of your brand.
  • Serves as the foundation for an influential image of your startup.

How Can You Name Your Tech Startup?

Establish Your Brand And Value Proposition

Before considering new brand names, your team must determine brand values. To develop your brand, identify your main benefit or attribute. You can research and identify as many values as you want as long as you can convey them through your company’s voice, structure, and culture.

Explore Multiple Tech Naming Strategies

The next step is to give your company a memorable name that conveys the essence of your startup and the value of your technology solutions. There are various strategies for brand names. Some of them are shown below with examples. 

Eponymous

These types of names are very representative of the ideals and principles of the founders. For example, the founder Adolf “Adi” Dassler’s name was abbreviated to “adi” to form the name “Adidas.” Or the name “TESLA” was chosen to honor Nikola Tesla, an electrical engineer and inventor.

Descriptive

Company names that accurately describe their services are called descriptive names. It’s evident to everyone what “The Home Depot” and “American Airlines” do.

Acronymic

Acronyms are abbreviations of extensive descriptive or eponymous names. “Slack” is an acronym for  “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge.” “Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation” changed its name to “HSBC” so that it could do business all over the world.

Suggestive

These names are formed of dictionary terms that reflect aspects of the brand or service. “Uber” is taken right out of the dictionary, which means an outstanding example that works really well with a big, ambitious company such as Uber. Composite names, such as “Facebook,” are formed by joining two words, whereas made-up names, such as “Instagram,” are formed by merging the phrases “instant” and “telegram” into a single word.

Arbitrary Name

Arbitrary names have no obvious relationship to the description, category, or meaning behind a brand. Think “Apple,” “Blackberry,” “Camel,” or “Shell”. Such names have the potential to stand out in a market, but they are meaningless until they become well-known. 

Associative 

Words in a brand’s name serve as symbols that consumers will associate with the product. The Amazon River and the “Amazon” Online Marketplace are the two biggest waterways in the world. “Red Bull” is associated with a drink with bull-like qualities such as power and confidence.

Abstract

Abstract names have no inherent meaning; instead, they use the power of phonetics to develop truly memorable brand names. The word “Rolex” was onomatopoeic, resembling the sound of a watch being. “Kodak” was from the letter K, the favorite letter of Gorge Eastman (founder).

Other-Language-Derived Names

Some of these types of names are inspired by the brand’s country of origin; other businesses use words from other languages. Samsung, for instance, translates to “three stars” in Korean. The Mandarin word for “Hulu” has two distinct meanings “the holder of priceless things” and “interactive recording,” both of which are fundamental to the Hulu experience. Play well” translates to “Lego” in Danish.

Misspelled

An attempt to give character to a common term or secure a URL by misspelling One of the best examples is the “Google” misspelling of “googol,” the mathematical term. Brands like Flickr and Tumblr can also be included in this category.

Other Cool Names

It’s worth a shot to rhyme, just like TechDeck and StubHub do. The use of alliteration in modern naming is pretty popular—TikTok and PayPal, for example.

Now that you have a good base of strategies for company naming techniques, it’s time to start brainstorming about your tech startup.

Brainstorm Until You Have A ‘top 5 – 10.’

Start thinking and be imaginative. The name should inspire the company’s literature, design, advertising, and positioning and be associated with the vision. 

Step 1 – Team Up 

Start by teaming up with your co-founders. Also, your CTO, CMO (if hired)

This group of people knows your vision very well, and their suggestions & views will be helpful while selecting your startup name. Get opinions from trustworthy advisers, friends, and family. Inspire everyone to come up with potential names.

Step 2 – Word Research

List brand and industry-related terminology. Check for synonyms and antonyms. You can use naming toolkits – Thesaurus, rhyming dictionary, or Onym naming guide, etc. Also, online company name generators are handy, for example, BusinessNameGenerator, NameMesh, Namelix, Naminum, Wordoid, Shopify Business Name Generator, etc.

Step 3 – Shortlisting

Expanding your list adds choices. Cross out irrelevant names. Ask yourself questions to eliminate names. For example, you can ask questions like – 

  • Is the name appropriate for the company?
  • Is there any significance to the name?
  • What are you trying to avoid while naming?
  • Is this name memorable?
  • Is the name simple to pronounce?
  • Is it visually appealing?
  • Is it supposed to be long or short?
  • Do you want a genuine term or a made-up one?

One more thing, don’t forget to crosscheck with the naming rules from your local business bureau. 

Take it slow and do research. Hopefully, after repeating these processes, you will end up with the final 5-10 names. 

Check For Probable Name Conflicts

With your top 5-10 names in hand, it’s time to do some in-depth research to make sure there won’t be any trademark, copyright, domain name, or cultural misunderstanding issues on the road. The extra effort you put in now might save your brand’s reputation in the future.

Trademark Research

Why It’s Important To Do Trademark Research

If you use a name that belongs to another company without researching the trademark owner may launch a legal action in state or federal court for trademark infringement. Most trademark owners sue in federal court for infringement.

For details, you can visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) 

How To Conduct Trademark Research

Inputting a potential company name into a search engine will reveal whether or not the name is already in use or confusingly similar to that of an existing company. Google each brand naming using industry jargon. If your Google search returns companies that may confuse your consumers (similar industry or solution), you may have a trademark dispute. 

Check USPTO.gov to see whether the name is available as a trademark or service mark. If you want to see if your proposed company name is available or too close to an existing company’s name, just type it into the search engine and see what comes up. Depending on the word’s popularity, this stage might be difficult but have patience.

Check review sites to verify that no one in your field has a similar name. Capterra or G2 are useful sites for B2B SaaS companies to check for similar company names. On each site, choose the product categories and check for contradictory names. This will also verify that you haven’t missed a possible trademark infringement conflict.

Domain Research to Name a Startup

Why It’s Important To Do Domain Research

It’s important to remember that a domain name is more than simply an address for a website. It is a crucial component of every company’s identity. So take your time doing research on selecting the domain name for your startup.

How To Conduct Domain Research

Instant Domain Search, Domain NR, Dan.com, and GoDaddy offer domain research. Combining these sites can help you get accurate information. Gather a list of “available” or “for sale” domains when investigating and highlight the benefits. You can also use this list once you’ve settled on a name to verify that the domains you originally wanted are still available.

Shopify Business Name Generator
You may use Business Name Generator to find out your startup name options.

Cultural Research

Why It’s Important To Do Cultural Research

If your business starts to grow and you become a multinational company but the name you used has bad connotations, this can be a PR disaster and can cause your company a fortune. 

For another scenario, Even if you’re not a worldwide corporation, your customers undoubtedly speak various languages, and you can lose customers for a name that starts cultural conflicts.

So prepare beforehand; cultural research can help you pick a brand name that is suitable when your firm becomes a worldwide brand.

How To Conduct Cultural Research

When undertaking linguistic research, you can use a site like wordsafety.com to make sure the name you choose isn’t offensive in another language.

Conduct A Secretary Of State Search

Why It’s Important To Do A Secretary Of State Search

If you want to register a corporation or LLC, check the Secretary of State’s database to be sure your proposed business name is unique.

If the proposed name is too similar to one that is already in use, the Secretary of State may deny the registration. 

How To Conduct A Secretary Of State Search

The Secretary of State’s website also allows for searches of corporate entity names. Also, your corporation attorney will be able to assist you in this type of investigation.

Put Logos Next To Your Best Choices.

After you research potential naming options, you will have the top 3 names. It’s time to create logos. Logos help you visualize the final three alternatives.

Choose A Name For Your Startup. 

Now it’s time to choose the name for your startup – try to pick the one that translates your big idea into emotion and represents your vision. 

Tips For Naming Your Startup

Here are some tips that will make your name selection journey easier.

  • Don’t pick a name that’s difficult to spell 
  • Make sure it’s easy to remember 
  • Avoid using lengthy names
  • Choose a name that will not be restrictive as your startup grows.
  • Be creative and stand out.
  • Choose a name that is catchy and has psychology’s potential
  • Try to get a well-known domain, such as .com
  • Do not forget your logo
  • Analyze social media profile
  • Check that the name sounds excellent when spoken aloud.
  • Choose a name with a significant story behind it.
  • Visualize universally 
  • Request opinions on the name.
  • Have patience and wait until you are happy. 

I hope you liked our guide on how to name a startup. As a founder, you may need to consider setting up your tech and marketing team and knowing about the fundamentals of equity divisions. Here are some valuable articles that can add positive value to your startup journey.

A Complete Guide to the Ideal Tech Startup Team Structure

A Complete Guide to Ideal Startup Marketing Team Structure

How to Split Equity in a Startup Fairly in 2022

How to Hire Developers for a Startup

A Complete Guide to the Ideal Tech Startup Team Structure

In-house Development vs Outsourcing: Guideline for Founders

If you need help setting up the tech team, you can consult with our co-founder, who has 10+ years in the industry and helps startups build their dream products.

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