Starting a business from the ground up can be hard. You must have drive and determination, a desire to succeed and of course, a killer idea. Then there is the knowledge and assistance you will want along the way, as well as capital and perhaps even premises. There is so much to think about, but the most important decision you will be likely to make is the name of your business.
You might think having a strong idea is enough, no matter what you call your business, but you would be wrong. Remember the company Cadabra? No? You perhaps know it better as Amazon. Jeff Bezos originally called the online retailer Cadabra, but was advised to change it as the magic reference was too obscure. He did, and the rest is history.
You can have the best startup idea ever, maybe something suggested in our article 10 Best Business Startup Ideas for 2020, but if the name and branding are wrong, then you will find your idea nothing more than a non-starter. It is vitally important that once you decide to start a business, you settle on a name immediately. A ZenBusiness guide to creating an LLC outlines how choosing the name of your startup is the very first task you need to consider. There are only three legal elements you need to comply with: your name must not match that of another LLC operating in the state, it must include ‘LLC’ or similar within and you must not include certain misleading words such as ‘bank’, or ‘corporation’. Outside of those elements, you are free to be as creative as you want.
How do you settle on a name that encapsulates your business, but stands out from the rest? Many search engines have come and gone, but Google endures; would it have been the same if it had still been called Backrub? Possibly not. However, they opted to go with something short and easy to spell – both fundamentals of naming your startup. In the early days, you need to be recognizable but memorable too. If your name is too hard to spell or too long then you will be lost in the myriad of other startups vying for attention. Be short, be punchy, and be easy to say.
Make sure you check the domain name, too. You certainly do not want to go through the process of naming and registering your LLC, only to find all the suitable domain names have gone. Startups rely heavily on their online presence and if your name becomes popular, you do not want to see traffic suddenly flowing to someone else’s domain. Also, try not to be too specific. You may be involved in one sector right now, but who is to say that your core business will not develop. Think back to Google: they were initially called Backrub as their software scoured for backlinks, but if they had kept that name could they have adapted it for Gmail, for instance? Backrubmail simply does not work.
Ask for feedback, too. Something might sound great to you, but awful to someone else, so do not just try it on a partner or parent. Get constructive feedback from people who are likely to give you an honest response.
These are a few extremely basic tips for naming your startup, which is one of the trickiest but most important choices you will have to make at the birth of your business idea.