9 Steps to Creating the Perfect Name for Your Startup

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You’ve had a stroke of genius, and created a startup that will be the biggest thing since Facebook. Your business proposal is drafted, your coworking space is booked, and your investor meetings are lined up – now, all you need to do is create the perfect name for your new startup. How do you begin the process of encapsulating your company in a few words?
The experts from Squadhelp have helped over 8,000 businesses come up with a name, and have created a comprehensive nine-step naming process. Follow the steps below to overcome naming obstacles and help you find a great name for your startup.

Step 1. Define your purpose

Put some time and effort into creating a clear and succinct statement of purpose. Start by writing down short sentences that sum up your idea in simple words. While there are many formulas and strategies for creating your value proposition, here is a simple formula to get you started:
[Your Business Name] helps [audience] [core benefits].

Step 2. Craft your ideal customer persona

Envision the types of people who will benefit most from your idea and be most interested in it. Creating this persona is an essential part of the naming process. Ask yourself questions like, “Who am I naming this for?” and “Who should this name appeal to?” Think about demographics including age, gender, location, and income. Define characteristics of your customer – are they budget conscious? Trendy? Are they a technophile? Finally, jot down customer wants or desires that may drive them to purchase your product or use your service.

Step 3. Test out your statement of purpose

After defining your customer persona in step 2, find and interview people who fit in that target audience. Ask them about their opinions when it comes to your ideas. After undertaking market research, make any adjustments required to your statement of purpose.

Step 4. Get into the mindset of your customers

Choosing a name is a decision that can make or break your startup. To ensure you end up with high-quality, evocative names on your shortlist, consider the following points:

  • Benefits: Create a list of selling highlights about why your ideal persona will buy from you. Spend some time really thinking through these benefits. You’ll likely end up with some strong benefits that will help drive your naming process and business proposition.
  • Feelings: Decide how you want people to feel when they hear your startup’s name. Do you want to appear professional, hip, modern, or quirky? Whichever emotion you choose, your name should convey that to your customer. 
  • Models: Do some research, and find names and brands that you love and even some that you dislike. While you never want to copy a name, modeling can provide much-needed inspiration.
  • Story: Take a stab at writing your company story. While perfecting your company story should be an ongoing process, starting it early will help drive your naming process.
Step 5. Get help from a naming team

When you consult others, you are much more likely to find the perfect name and feel confident in your decision. Getting feedback from your peers is an essential step in naming your startup. Ensure you do the following:

  • Find your team: Recruit your naming team and decide how you will communicate (e.g. email, messaging apps, or project management tools)
  •  Share key information: Create a naming brief with important information about your startup, as well as the work you’ve undertaken in the first four steps, and share it with your team.
  • Write down every idea: Make a list of all name suggestions with notes about each.
  •  Weigh each idea: One by one, go through every name submitted carefully.
  • Offer feedback: Respond to ideas with your opinion and any ideas of your own about how the focus or style of the name could be modified to fit your aims. Doing so will help guide your naming team as they brainstorm more ideas.
    Not only is the working with others great for the creative process, but you will also learn a lot about your business as you describe it to your naming team.
Step 6. Create a shortlist

After brainstorming with others and by yourself, look through your ideas and whittle the names down until you have a workable shortlist.

Step 7. Look at linguistics

Don’t wait until you take your startup international to discover that your name means something offensive in another language. Be sure to analyze the shortlist of names for any linguistic issues. You can do this yourself by using online tools or hiring experts to review your potential names for you.

Step 8. Check the validity

It’s necessary to consult a professional when it comes to examining the legality of your startup’s new name. Due diligence is imperative when it comes to trademark issues. You can check for any obvious trademark conflicts on ipindia.nic.in website; however, a comprehensive trademark check also requires checking for similar sounding names and spelling variations.

Step 9. Ask your audience

Audience validation of your startup’s name will help you feel confident in your naming decision. Poll some members of your target audience, or run a quick online survey – the feedback will help you understand which name connects best with your target market.
While finding the perfect name for your startup might seem like a daunting process, using this methodology will help you craft the perfect evocative and memorable name. Don’t forget to have fun with it – it’s not every day you get to name your own business!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Squadhelp–transforming the way names, logos, and taglines are developed by combining an affordable agency-level brainstorming process with the unmatched creativity of “the crowd.” His book How to Develop the Perfect Name for Just About Anything is available to 91springboard readers for free.

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