How do you go about choosing the right name for your startup? Consider these three tips to help you decide.

If you have ever had to name a newborn child, then you’ll know just how hard it can be to come up with a name for them. This is something that they’re going to be stuck with for their whole lives, a label that’s going to define them and shape the way other people see them, and even an influencing factor in their personality and behavior. When you choose a name, you will be sealing your child’s fate.

The same can be said to a large extent of your business. When you name your company you will be creating a brand that’s going to become indelibly linked to your business and to your products/services from here on in. This will shape the expectations that people have for your company, and it will greatly affect how easy it is for you to get your company noticed.

So with all that in mind, just how do you go about coming up with a name that you can be confident in and get behind? Here we will look at the answers to those questions.

What Does the Name Say?

For some people coming up with a name will be relatively easy – it will be an idea that they’ve had in mind right from the outset. My company name is something that I used to write on the comic books I drew aged five. That’s always been my ‘business’ and as soon as the opportunity arose to make it official I jumped on it. Others might want to name the business after their own surname, or after a parent.

For everyone else though, choosing a name is going to be nigh impossible if you take a ‘top down’ approach. Instead you need to start from the bottom and think about what it is that you want to say about your business. Ask yourself what your ‘mission statement’ is. What’s most important to you? What’s your vision? What are you trying to accomplish?

Once you can answer those questions, you can start to throw around words that capture the essence of that vision.

If you’re an eco-friendly office supplies company then, you might look at combinations of words like ‘eco’, ‘green’, ‘office’, ‘supplies/supply’, ‘utility’, ‘materials’, ‘environmental’, ‘efficient’, ‘energy’, ‘pens’, ‘erasers’, ‘paper’… you get the gist. This might mean you come up with something like ‘Green Supplies LTD’ or ‘Energy Efficient Eraser’. Write down as many as possible to begin with, then you can narrow it down later.

You also need to think about the tone of your business. Do you want to be fun and hip like ‘Energy Efficient Eraser’ or do you want to be serious and corporate like ‘Green Supplies LTD’. To answer that question, ask yourself who your target audience is and who you’re marketing to.

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The Practical Aspects

Once you have some ideas for your name, you can then start to look at the practical elements and how useful those names will be. A shorter name for instance is generally better than a longer one, because it’s easier to turn into a logo or web URL and because it’s more memorable. Likewise names beginning with ‘A’ can sometimes have an advantage because you’ll be placed first in alphabetical listings. Narrow down your ideas more then based on what works and what you can actually use. Some names sound great, but are just impractical for building a brand around. You can even start sketching up some logos to get a concept of how it would all tie in.

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Let the Voting Begin

By this point you should have narrowed your ideas down to a few best options. From here it’s now time to take a step back and to leave it to your customers and your friends and family. Ultimately you are trying to choose a name that will work well for your business and help you to make money – as such your personal opinion isn’t really all that important and what’s much more important is that the market you’re looking at thinks the name is effective and says the right things about your company. Do market research and then see how your suggestions are received by the people who are going to be buying your products or using your services.