Naming a Startup – How to Name One & Why It Matters

Naming a startup is an important process and it often does not change after its name has been used, so you’ll want to get it right the first time. That’s why it’s a very critical step for new founders creating a startup. Names both matter and don’t matter and I’ll explain why. Then, you’ll be able to read about how you can make a great startup name as you learn how start a startup.

Why Naming a Startup Matters

It matters because if a name is relevant, it can instantly help people remember your startup’s name and can give them a queue them into understanding what your startup does.

For every single startup I ever started, I used associative words to help describe the vision of the startup with just the name.

I believe that, when marketing, having a simplistic and descriptive name goes a long way in name recognition and stickiness in people’s minds. And that’s a very good thing because you want your startup’s name to stick in people’s minds. You want them to remember you.

However, an associative name is usually only good for the first few impressions a startup has on the new visitor. After that, the onus is on the founders and their teammates to create a lasting memory of their startup. So while a good name does not guarantee startup success, it does help.

Why a Startup Name Doesn’t Always Matter

Naming a startup doesn’t matter because startup companies can still do well with names that have no association to its product, service, or mission.

More often than not, people’s goal is to make it sound catchy or exotic. This can appeal to people as being mysterious and their curiosity will prompt them to see what the startup is about.

The bad thing about these types of names is that they are easily forgettable without constant external triggers from their company pounding their name into your mind.

However, an exotic startup name is usually the least important reason why startups with seemingly odd-sounding names succeed. Rather, they succeed because of their tenacious efforts to make their success happen. Those founders are generally remarkable in what they do, so the name may be the least remarkable thing they create. Their hard work speaks for itself.

How to Create an Relevant Startup Name

The Process for Naming a Startup with Relevance

The process is pretty simple.

1) Keep it Short but Sweet

It’s best to keep startup names short, as they also represent your domain name. They should be no more than three words and are ideally one to two words.

2) Use Synonyms, Metaphors, and Similes

Find words that describe what your startup does. Look up synonyms to those words. Look for metaphors and similes to those words and to your startup’s description.

3) Mix and Match

Mix and match the words to create a short, yet catchy name. You can split words up and use abbreviated words that people will understand. Ideally, you should be creating numerous different names so you have choices to pick from.

4) Make a List and Find Out if They’re Available

You also want that list of names with multiple choices because it’s in your best interest to get a strong domain name that is available. To find out if they are available, go on http://GoDaddy.com and enter them into the domain name search bar.

You can also go to https://Get.Tech, and get your pick of domains with a .tech domain extension rather than .com, .co, and others. They are the primary company that sells .tech domain names and they are StartupDevKit’s partner as well. While .tech domains are good for startups in general, it’s even better for naming a tech startup.

5) Pick a Name

Pick a name with an available domain name. You can pair it down to a few options and choose one or ask people in a poll to help you decide. You can go into several Facebook groups and create a poll or go on Twitter and create a poll.

How Others Have Done It

Sometimes it helps to hear other people’s explanations of how they have named their startup. I got to share how I picked StartupDevKit in a story by Hearpreneur of CEO Blog Nation as one of 20 entrepreneurs explaining how they came up with their business names. In that article, you can read the 19 other CEO’s responses of how they went about naming their startup company.

How I Named StartupDevKit

Inspired by the term, software development kit. I wanted to create a company name that was memorable and relevant to the value proposition of my startup. I brainstormed for keywords, synonyms, and analogies. Then I went on to GoDaddy and I mixed and matched words until I found the right fit for my startup. That name was and is, StartupDevKit. The name was inspired by the term software development kit which programmers use to more quickly create software through pre-written code functions. Similarly, StartupDevKit helps startups develop and grow quicker, easier, and smarter with templates, guides, videos, articles, lists, training, and mentoring. StartupDevKit is a new type of online startup incubator and accelerator but also helps startup-related companies, as well.

20 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Came Up With Their Business Names – Carl Potak’s Feature on how he named StartupDevKit

Conclusion

Startup names are often representative of the style of the founders’ approach to how they will start a startup. However, I’ve found that relevant names are the most helpful for startups who are in their early stages and less helpful after a startup has reached a critical mass of the market share. Success does not happen overnight, so name recognition is important as an early-stage startup and that’s why I suggest you do your best to pick something that fits nicely with your startup’s description and the market it serves.

Carl Potak

About Carl Potak

Carl is the Founder and CEO of StartupDevKit, a membership-based online startup incubator and accelerator.

Biography

Carl is a serial founder and has been building and growing startups since 2007. He’s been a founder, marketer, political campaign manager and consultant, startup consultant, marketing director, WordPress website creator, and a senior technical technical recruiter for a Fortune 500 recruiting firm.

In 2007, Carl started his first startup, EduDating, a dating website for students and alumni, but it unfortunately failed because the technical requirements were too great to get it off the ground then. This experience gave way to his next startup called HireTicket, a video interviewing platform, but he could not continue after his co-founder stole all of their seed money. He then went to work as a technical recruiter and shattered the firm's growth records. He wanted to continue working on startups and simultaneously started working with CoFoundersLab, the leading platform for startup founders to find other startup founders. There, he was doing social media marketing, strategy, and sales part time. After CoFoundersLab was acquired for the first time, he and the founding team left. Carl went on to become the director of marketing for the fintech startup OnTrajectory, a retirement and life planning tool. Carl consulted for other various startups and and then left OnTrajectory to start StartupDevKit.

Carl has a certification in Inbound Marketing from HubSpot Academy, a certification in Google Analytics from Google, and earned his Bachelor's Degree from Binghamton University (SUNY) in Political Science with a minor in sociology.

As a young adult, Carl achieved Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts and went to college for political science and graduated from Binghamton University for his major. He worked on several high-profile campaigns in New York throughout college and after he graduated in 2008. In addition, he created and led a top-ranked tournament-winning Counter-Strike team throughout college called Performance. Carl left it once he began his last semester of college in 2008 when he decided to start his first startup, EduDating.

Interests

Aside from his passion for business, Carl enjoys hiking mountains, playing drums with his band of talented friends and family, hanging with friends and family, listening to music, politics, Magic: The Gathering, watching and following the Yankees, Marvel and DC movies and shows, and going to museums among other things.

Carl's Role in Building StartupDevKit

Most recently, Carl built StartupDevKit's Startup Incubator Platform almost entirely on his own -- with hundreds (growing to thousands) of awesome curated and original startup resources that empower founders worldwide. The platform helps people anywhere from the idea-validation stage to recently funded startups in the growth-stage. In addition, the platform currently consists of 19 verticals and about 100 subcategories.

Carl has written all of the site's blog content thus far (over 30 mostly long-form articles on startups and marketing) which has helped over 15,000 startups. StartupDevKit ranks highly among some of the other most regarded accelerators and startup blogs on Google and has several #1 listings on Google. The content he's written is used by university entrepreneurship programs, cited all over the startup industry, and even other accelerators.

Startup Survival Secrets, the book

Carl is the author of the book Startup Survival Secrets, a book he's been writing which is about the top 20 reasons why startups fail, the root causes for each of those reasons, how to prevent them, and what to do instead. He started the writing process for the book in late 2016 and aims to have it done in the first quarter of 2020.

Being that 95-99% of startup accelerator applicants don’t get accepted and 90% of startups fail overall, Carl developed both the platform and wrote the book to help the worldwide startup community so that people have greater access to resources and wisdom for startups.

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