What’s in a name?
Wouldn’t that startup we call [x] be as sweetly successful by any other name?
Probably — but maybe not. And, why risk it?
I know, I know, you’re an entrepreneur and so you’re intrinsically impatient.
Besides, you have future customers to talk to, product to build, and a thousand other things on your plate.
Who has time to spend trying to come up a great name?
Do company names really matter?
Although a great name will not save a terrible startup — and a terrible name probably won’t keep a great startup from succeeding, on the margin, names matter.
A great name reduces the friction between your company and the market.
It makes it easier for people to find you. Easier for people to talk about you. Sometimes, even easier for people to trust you.
I don’t advise spending hundreds of hours or thousands of dollars to hire a “branding expert” to help you come up with a name, but I would advise you to spend a few hours and get some external feedback.
It’s time well spent, because it will save you heartache later.
A lot of heartache.
OK, so what constitutes a great startup name?
What makes one name better than another?
I’ve been asking myself that question for 20+ years.
Though naming/branding is more art than science, I thought it might help to take a look at some data
I started with a custom list of 4,000+ tech startups from MatterMark (disclosure: I’m an investor, but pay for the product). I ran some numbers on things like length of name, starting letter, TLDs (.com, .ly, .io, etc.). I compared some of the fastest growing startups with those on the other end of the spectrum. (Note to self: If there’s interest, write a separate post with the results of some of the data analysis).
I also did some qualitative analysis. Dug through the list of startups to see which names I “liked” (Note: I’m not a branding consultant, and don’t play one on TV). I looked for patterns.
Based on this, I came up with what I call the S.M.A.R.T. checklist. It identifies some of the key attributes of what I think makes for an effective startup name.