Coming up with a startup name is the first step towards bringing your startup idea to life. A startup name conveys what your line of business is and also has the ability to show your unique characteristics. A great and unique startup name makes it easier for people to find, talk about and possibly trust you in the long run.
Finding the right startup name for your startup can sometimes make or break it. Therefore, choosing just the perfect name is not an easy feat. It can be draining depending on how you and the team go about it. Below are items to keep in mind when picking a name for your startup
An example is that of Phil Knight and his colleagues. Before they came up with Nike, they struggled through lots of uncatchy and not-so-straight-forward names as they looked to move away from the formerly called Blue Ribbon to the now famous Nike Inc.
Below, we have identified some of the things to keep in the back of your mind when coming up with your startup name. By the way, if you also feel like the name you gave to your startup is not the best, it is best to rebrand as early as possible.
1. Keep it simple
Whichever name you opt to use, it must be easy to remember and spell. Don’t get caught up in a scenario where your prospects or current clients often confuse you with someone else. The worst case is when they mis-spell your startup name.
As Africa, we have an advantage of the distinctive languages with words that are unique. Why not dive into them? Not only will it set you apart but also give you an advantage when looking for a website domain as well as being easily found online.
Some of the startups that have taken on African names include JamboPay, M-Pesa, Jumia, Konga, Gebeya etc. So, go ahead
2. Timeless and Un-limiting
Let the name you pick not limit you to a narrow focus. You don’t want to limit your business to a particular product or a specific city or country. At one point in time, in case you never had it in mind, you might want to break out of those boundaries. Pick a name that will stand the test of time.
At one point in time, in case you never had it in mind, you might want to break out of those boundaries. Pick a name that will stand the test of time.
SO, why not pick a name that will stand the test of time no matter where you go or whatever you venture into?
The assumption is that your startup's goal is to grow into a successful business which usually takes several years.
You don’t want to have a startup name that you're kinda embarrassed by 5-10 years down the road. The best examples here are Safaricom, MTN, Alibaba, Amazon etc.
3. Conveys Some Meaning
It is not good if you told someone your startup name and the next question is, "why does it do?". On the contrary, you want to tell someone the name and they make a suggestion of what you do.
But the aim is to pick a business name that is meaningful and relates positively to your startup. If you hear a name like JamboPay or WorldRemit, you're more likely to have a hint on what they do.
This seems to contradict what we mentioned in number one of keeping it simple. But remember, the goal is to put all the points mentioned here at the back of your mind.
Also, abstract names may have some appeal as they are catchy, but your branding efforts could become somewhat costly.
Also read: Top 6 Collaboration Tools for Startups on a Lean Budget
4. Make Sure the Name is Available
You don't want to go to the business names registry authority and they drop that bomb of "we're sorry but the name you're suggesting is too close to an already existing business or already taken".Availability for the name here means being able to register and or acquire “.com” domain name as well as get the legal rights to use it. (trademark)
This point goes back to uniqueness. Making your name unique increases the chances of it being available.Availability for the name here means being able to register and or acquire “.com” domain name as well as get the legal rights to use it. (trademark)
Secondly, visit the registration authority in your country or region. Africa has many countries which mean the procedures may differ. But, make it an effort to inquire at your local registry office.
The same should also apply to the website domain of your preference. It makes no sense to own a business name whose domain is owned by a different person.
5. Brainstorm and Get Feedback
This may work or not. But, give it a try. Sit down with your team members and make suggestions of the names. Make sure you come up with a couple of different names that meet the criteria mentioned above and then run them by some people you think might be your target market.
Make sure you come up with a couple of different names that meet the criteria mentioned above and then run them by some people you think might be your target market.
Let them give you feedback on what they think is the message your startup name conveys. This will help with assessing catchiness and the possibility of unwanted meanings in other contexts.All things said and done, as a
Despite all the things above, as a founder, make sure you're happy with the name. It doesn't make sense to adopt a name you don't believe in. You have to make sure you are happy with it and believe it will resonate with your customers right from the start.