Published 28 June 2017 Category: Compass Tips, Startups

The Charisma of a Good Startup Name

On the way to a meeting a few days ago, we noticed a few company names along the way that got us thinking: Google, Facebook, Apple, Uber… what distinguishes these brand names from the millions of other names we’ve seen and heard of? What makes the difference between a memorable and profitable name and one that is easily forgotten and valueless?

Here’s what it comes down to: the name you select will have a financial impact on your start-up.

Market reactions to business names are indeed real and significant.
Let’s face it, before investors, clients, and others acquire a sound idea of the need for and strength of your actual product, other dynamics such as the name of your start-up  will influence the impressions that people develop of your company. And these initial impressions can indeed affect the confidence that investors, and the market more generally, will have in you.

Here are three integral ways to make sure you choose the right name for your startup. Let’s start with the most obvious:

Keep It Simple
Whilst there are no set rules or a fail-proof formula to choosing a name, a founder needs to recognise that start-up names should be simple. Coming up with an impactful and valuable name for your start-up involves a balance between putting enough time and energy into thinking seriously but not obsessing over the decision to the point where you end up choosing a needlessly complicated or obscure name. A refined and simple but simultaneously striking and impressive name also says something about you as a founder - It shows that you have put a certain degree of professionalism, diligence, and honest thought into the image that you want to present of your company.

Why is this valuable? It's all about charisma; potential investors are likely to have a positive subconscious reaction to what they interpret to be an effective name, thus making them more inclined to associate traits of ingenuity, competence, and dedication with you, the creator.

Keep It Practical
In addition to being simple, the name of your start-up needs to be practical. In other words, there should be some kind of connection between what you call your company and what your company does.

Get the SEO Right
Getting your name right involves more than just speaking it and hearing it spoken aloud. After all, your investors and customers   whether businesses or consumers   will read your name on a screen far more often than not. First of all, it makes no sense to create a business name if you do not attach it to a corresponding domain name. The reason is not just that people can’t find you - the problem with not having the .com of your name is that it signals weakness. A marginal domain suggests you’re a marginal company.

Since Google plays a massive role in driving traffic to your website, enhancing the SEO for your business name is arguably your most important digital asset…and here’s another one - avoid mindlessly piggybacking on popular trends.

But how does all this tie in with profitability?
Often investors care more about growth than profits. They don’t want high burn rates but they will never fund slow growth. Hence, identifying a really great startup name can be difficult and time-consuming work. It requires effort, creativity, and knowledge of the various factors involved in coming up with a valuable name that sticks in the heads of investors and clients.

Remember: you’re going to be living with the name of your company for years or even decades to come. You should spend more than a few minutes trying to come up with a name that’ll work– it’ll be worth the effort.