Common Pitfalls in Naming Your Startup

Common Pitfalls in Naming Your Startup

One of the topics for the Founder Institute sessions is naming and branding. Last week we had three Entrepreneurs speak on the topic. The content was great, from brand strategy/framework down to the specific tactical ideas of naming and branding. I know for you “Branding Types” you will say I’m just talking about naming here because startups don’t have enough $$$ to build a brand. And though technically, I’d agree with you about building a brand, today I’m just talking about how to start a brand. For some people it’s the same as the Brand of Dave, everything that makes up your personal brand.

What are the common pitfalls you will face in the process.

  1. Trendy names – we can look back and laugh about some of the “.com era” but the same thing is happening with misSpell3d words used as names today or “web 2.0 or 3.0 names” that all sound like variations of current fast growth companies.
  2. Being too literal in your name – have some imagination. And the odds are your idea will shift or pivot, if that happens, you’ll need to rename anyway.
  3. Names that you can say phonetically, but can’t spell. Founders be aware of how quickly you say the name, and if it’s repeatable.
  4. Names that aren’t memorable – People can use Google to search for you, but they have to remember the name.
  5. Check the Urban Dictionary or web for alternate meaning – I thought Kavation sounded like a good name until I did a quick web search

Should you have the .com, @handle, Facebook Page Name (or Pinterest)? Yes. If you can’t get them now, grow your company big and pay for them later or pick a name you can use now. But that will take more time and research.

I’ve been going through the process myself with a new design an application development company. We started on nautical words using Wikipedia. Then sifted to numeric themes, then if we found words we liked we’d play with them and see if they grew on us…

Naming isn’t an easy process – let me change that. Creating a good name isn’t an easy process.

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