Naming a Startup: What Does it Take?
You've got a great business idea. You've got the drive to make it happen. You've even got some cash to set your baby in motion. Only problem: You don't have a business name.
We were recently quoted in a Portfolio.com article on branding and naming where we offered some points on the process startups need to go through to successfully create and launch a new business name. Here are four basic steps entrepreneurs and startups should go through when naming their new business:
1. Introspection: Look inside & around
As an entrepreneur, you must think critically about your business and envision what the brand could stand for in the market once launched. Doing your homework is key. At Tanj, we always take clients through exercises that analyze their businesses, the competitive landscapes and the potential of their brands. This enables us to develop naming strategies that drive the creative process and help clients pick powerful names.
2. Creativity: Let the sparks fly
Some people are good with words; others are not. If you're not, seek outside expertise for naming. We recently wrote about the pros and cons of the different naming resources available. Coupling a solid naming strategy with creative thinking will help generate a healthy list of ideas of options to choose from. But the challenges continue as soon as you try to overcome stringent trademark, linguistic and URL hurdles.
3. Evaluation: Screen till you scream
The worst situation a startup can be in is staring down a simple list of names that were cooked up on the fly and choosing a name based on whether the CEO likes it or not. It’s a recipe for disaster. You have to do your homework. At the beginning of the process, it’s all about the naming strategy. Once you’ve got your list of ideas, it’s all about evaluating names for legal and linguistic conflicts.
You want to make sure you can legally use them in the market, and you want to avoid negative meanings or connotations in languages that are relevant to where you’re doing business. It’s also a good idea to assess the URL situation and do market testing if you have the resources. Once you have all those inputs, you’re in a much better position to make a smart decision about the name.
4. Just Going for It: Confidence is the key
At Tanj, as much as we make a brand name development project an objective process, we understand that deciding on the final name is still a subjective decision for most business and brand owners. When push comes to shove, you have to pick a name to be in business. If you do the due diligence up front, you should feel confident when pulling the trigger on a final name at the end of the process.