The idea looks good, the heat is on, got the team onboard, now is the best time to name. Most people name their startup as soon as the idea hits them, but eventually when it takes the shape and people get involved the name may not be relevant. The best time to name is in this step as you have done basic brainstorming and research and got important people on board.
There are several factors to consider when choosing a name, here are few important ones..
- Must be relevant to your offerings, people must be able to connect to the word and your product/service.
- Should have the feel of newness and something nice (avoid negative words)
- Catchy ( catchy phrases/words are easy to remember )
- Easy to spell (when someone hears about your startup, first thing they do is search on google, what would they type in search bar?)
- Can be a single word or combination of 2 (eg. Ola, Yahoo, Drunken Monkey, Zara, Zoomcar, Lyft, Mailchimp, etc )
- Can be a verb, or combination of verb and noun (Fastcompany)
Have atleast 3 to 4 options figured out and then go ahead with the next step
- is the domain name available?
- can you get the trademark registered for the name?
- is it unique and new, you cannot use an existing brand name (obvious)
Most succesful startups have catchy names and almost all the time they have a story and specific reason for picking that name. Let us look into some of the stories of famous startups, just to give you a gist of how to name yours.
Amazon – Jeff Bezos initially incorporated the company in the name of Cadabra Inc. ( as in Abracadabra, word often used by magicians ) Later one day when his lawyer misheard the name as Cadaver, he thought of changing it to a better and easily understandable. “Relentless “ was the next name that he thought of, but dropped the idea when his friends said it sounded a bit sinister.
Bezos selected the name Amazon by looking through the dictionary; he settled on “Amazon” because it was a place that was “exotic and different”, just as he had envisioned for his Internet enterprise. The Amazon River, he noted, was the biggest river in the world, and he planned to make his store the biggest bookstore in the world.
Alibaba – According to an interview Jack Ma (the founder) gave in 2006 with CNN’s Talk Asia program, Ma was in a San Francisco coffee shop when he came up with the name. He asked the waitress whether it was something she was familiar with.
“I said, ‘What do you know about Alibaba?’ and she said ‘Open Sesame.’ And I said, ‘Yes, this is the name!'” he told the interviewer.
In the story, the phrase “Open Sesame” magically opens the secret door to a treasure trove. Next Ma went into the street and started asking random passers by if they knew the name Alibaba. Everyone, no matter where they were from, was familiar with it. Ma liked the name because “Alibaba is a kind, smart business person, and he helped the village,” he said. “Alibaba opens sesame for small- to medium-sized companies.”
FlipKart – According to Binny Bansal (co founder of FlipKart ) : An attractive neutral name is what we looked for. Good domain names were hard to get. We were looking at names that did not just speak of books alone, but one that could suit any category of products that we may add in future. Also, we wanted to have a catchy name with high recall potential. Flipkart could in simple terms mean ‘Flipping things into your Kart’. [ Courtesy : Yourstory.com]
BIRA91 – Bira91 is an upcoming craft beer brand in India. In just 3 years it has become one of the favourite beer brands in country. Initially, it was to be called “Biru”. Biru is the generic name for beer in Japan. But after a registration problem in Japan, he (the founder, Ankur Jain) decided to call it Bira. His team spent almost nine months in the branding exercise, including picking a name, mascot, colors, and other aspects of the packaging.
Bira means brother in the north of India. 91 is the country code of India and it made it sound more distinctive. The reverse B is, according to them, a spirit of rebellion against the conventional beers available in the market. The mascot is a monkey because most of us have a monkey inside us. Thus the name “Bira91” with a monkey on its label was selected. [courtesy https://www.feedough.com/]
That being said, choose your unique way of naming it, your style, your story, your name. In the next post of Idea to Startup we will look into importance of MVP and how to go about doing it. The fun has just begun..