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Best ways to find a name for your startup

You wake up one fine day, with a phenomenal business idea, an exceptional product or service to take the world by storm, sipping into your fresh brew, envisioning how you are finally on the path of achieving greatness, a swift mind-numbing thought strikes you out of nowhere; “ but oh, I don’t have a name for my business, do I?” 

Finding a name for your business may sound like an easy-peasy job but it can turn into being stressful, challenging, and a bit of a nightmare. The name you decide will either make you or break you. It will either take your startup to greater heights or in business books as an example. A bad example, of course! 

Yes, I might have exaggerated the above scenario but questions such as, “What name do I choose?”, “Is this the right name?”, “Is this even appropriate?”, “What’s in a name?” do end up being mind-boggling. A few things to ponder if you are feeling impulsive and the naming process appears to be somewhat unchallenging. You need to get it right from the beginning, so you don’t have to deal with the complexities later. Think smart, act smart. 

Here are a few steps that are bound to come in handy while working on your business name ideas. Keep it short and simple 

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak” -Hans Hofmann 

For every business to function, its target market is predetermined. While generating business name ideas, you must make sure that the business name you choose is short and straightforward. You don’t want your consumers facing confusion just because your brand name is way too long and difficult to speak or add in a conversation. It will be awkward for you to see a person taking in a few breaths while simply stating the 

name of your company because for starters, it sounds like a complete sentence- and how unappealing is that? 

Short names are great for consumers to remember and therefore help you in outshining your marketing campaigns. 

Google, Nike, Amazon. Netflix, Zoom are all examples of short and simple words. 

Spell it Right, Spell it Easy, Say it Out Loud, Think Globally! 

“Spelling is the clothing of words, their outward visible sign, and even those who favor sweatpants in everyday life like to make a bella figura, as the Italians say – a good impression – in their prose”. -Mary Norris 

Complicated names sound impressive but complicating simple words with weird spellings are not your safest bet. An intentionally misspelled word can become a major barrier in your marketing campaign. Do

you want your startup to stand out? Just don’t misspell business names to look like the real deal. If you don’t want to dot your i’s and cross your t’s, you will need a lot more than name generation. A dictionary, perhaps? 

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, initially wanted to name it “Cadabra” from “Abracadabra” to give a magical feel. Amazon’s first lawyer, Todd Tarbert, believed that it sounded similar to “Cadaver”. 

Yes, there are businesses that chose to take the path of spelling their brands with a twist and became successful. They simply dropped a letter in order to create a unique but familiar name. For instance, Flickr, Tumblr. Another spelling related example is of Nutella. There was a whole debate all over the internet on the pronunciation when the company revealed that it is pronounced as “new-tella”. 

Similarly, combing two words to create one brand name is a pretty cool move too. Instagram is a great example of that.The idea of instant and telegram is pushed together. The purpose of the company was for users to be able to grasp the concept of the instant photo and message sharing making it an instant telegram. Other famous example: Facebook! 

Additionally, if you are planning to go global, you must find a name that won’t have a different meaning in a foreign language and significantly doesn’t insult a specific ethnic group. Say it out loud. Sounds inappropriate? Carry on the name search mission. 

Say No to Growth Restricting Names 

When finding a name for your startup, don’t choose a name that could limit your business growth. So, your startup is a fashion brand selling artisan bags and you decide to choose “feminine bags”, which clearly indicates that your brand is all about bags and for women. It may feel like a wise choice at that time, but after a few years down the line you may want to jump into making bags for men or shoes and accessories. But since you are known as “feminine bags” in the market, good luck to you in venturing out and completely changing the renowned brand name you once cherished. 

In 2011, the American giant Starbucks dropped the word “coffee” from its logo. Reason? Their expanding menu! 

Getting a Domain Name and Social Media Handle 

Businesses with a .com domain are presumed to be more successful and established than the ones with .net, .biz, .org. Securing a .com domain name is an investment in your business. The first thing to do after selecting your desired name is to check the availability of a domain name on different sites such as GoDaddy.com, bluehost.com, networksolutions.com 

If the domain name is unavailable, the least you can do is track down the owner by using the “Whois” tool at GoDaddy. If the owner is willing to sell the domain name, you are good to go. If not, my suggestion is to find a new name for your venture or if you are crazy creative, tweak it a little! 

These days businesses are more about proving their online existence. You will have to search for social media handles to make sure that your business name isn’t already taken. If it is, get in touch with the handle user and ask if they are inclined to sell it to you.

Brainstorming Tools and Getting Feedback 

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve” -Bill Gates 

When you narrow down a list of prospective names, the next action then will be to ask for feedback from friends, family, target audiences, colleagues, co-founders, or partners. You don’t want to choose a name that could be embarrassing for you or have negative implications in a foreign language. 

Initially, share your story with them. And discuss names later. The questions to ask ought to be pragmatic rather than a simple, “Do you like these names?” To the point questions mean business. Ask them, “How does this sound when I introduce myself?” “How strong does it look in writing?”, “How does this name differentiate us from the competitors?” 

Search the Secretary of State Records 

If you plan to form your business as an L.L.C or a corporation, a search of the Secretary of State’s records must be performed to avoid naming your business similar to an already registered business name. The Secretary of State may not allow you to register your business name if it is exceedingly akin to an existing name. This is where you might call for your Corporate Lawyer to step in and help you conduct this search. 

Trademark Search 

Why trademark? If you want to start making your own accessories and decide to print Chanel’s two bold famous interlockings “c”s (that are both black and stand for Coco Chanel) onto your products, that will be a clear case of trademark infringement. Customers will buy your product presuming it’s the original Chanel, making a profit for you. 

In such situations, a brand could sue the other party for trademark infringement. Do take an attorney’s guidance on registering a specific brand name or a phrase 


When it comes to settling on a brand name, your contentment with it matters the most. Are you pleased with your selection? Keep in mind, the name you select remains with you forever, in writing, in speaking, on papers, and in legal records. You cannot choose a name that does not make you happy and reach for the skies. If it doesn’t feel right to you, drop that name out. Taking additional time is a better choice than living with a name that you will regret afterward.

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