Tactical Advice

What's in a Startup Name?

Google, Twitter and Apple are worth millions today, but they all started out as scrappy startups with quirky names.
What's in a Startup Name?

When people set out to build a business, one of the hardest tasks they encounter is settling on the company name.

One common tendency is to create a company name out of two words. Take Microsoft, for example, which is a portmanteau of the words “microcomputer” and “software.”

But be careful what you decide to put together. The story of Analtech is a lesson for all companies, as the origin of the company’s eyebrow-raising name has been the result of endless queries for the chromatography company, as they stated in a blog post in 2009. Here’s how it happened:

The company was founded in 1961 as Custom Service Chemicals. In 1964, the company paid a marketing firm (that shall remain nameless) to come up with a different name. They said, "Well, you guys do Analytical Technology - why don't you put the two words together and call it 'Analtech'!"

And, here we are, nearly 50 years later — with the same name.

Yikes.

The company ended up with a bit of a compromise. Since they’d been in business for 50 years, the brand had built a following that they didn’t want to lose. But they did decide to change their domain name to ichromatography.com.

The Young Entrepreneur Council asked its members how they went about deciding on their company names. The advice was pretty mixed. Some thought quirk was great, while others didn’t.

Laura Roeder, founder of social media agency LKR, advises startups to go for phonetic, so people can quickly search for it after hearing it.

"Crazy startup names and quirky misspellings have become quite a trend, but it's frustrating for consumers. No one wants to have to spell out the name of a business every time they talk about it. Make your business name phonetic so that people will be able to Google it from hearing it out loud."

Steven Le Vine, CEO of grapevine pr, is not a fan of witty company names.

"Although you'll see lots of stores and brands with cheeky, pun-ny names, it is important to stay away from that. This is like getting a tattoo that seems good at the time, but you'll later regret. Think about some of the leading brands; some of these are simply names or just one bold word. Keep it simple by boiling it down to its essence. Brevity is appealing, profound and confident."

Logan Lenz, founder of music marketing agency Endagon, offers a useful tip: Start with a good dot-com domain first.

"In the case that you are struggling to come up with a memorable branding identifier, work backwards and start researching domains that may or may not be available. Use a domain suggestion tool like Nameboy to come up with ideas. From there, pick a strong .com that makes the most sense. Then, brand accordingly."

What was the naming process like for your company? Painful or pleasant? Let us know in the Comments section.

Sign up for our e-newsletter

About the Author

Ricky Ribeiro

Online Content Manager

Ricky publishes and manages the content on BizTech magazine's web site. He's a writer, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all-around digital guy. You can learn more by following him on Google+ or Twitter:

Security

Heartbleed: What Should Your... |
One of the biggest security vulnerabilities has almost every user and every industry...
Why Businesses Need a Next-G... |
Devices investigate patterns that could indicate malicious activity.
Review: HP TippingPoint S105... |
Next-generation firewall can easily replace a stand-alone intrusion prevention system....

Storage

The New Backup Utility Proce... |
Just getting used to the Windows 8 workflow? Prepare for a change.
How to Perform Traditional W... |
With previous versions going unused, Microsoft radically reimagined the backup utility in...
5 Easy Ways to Build a Bette... |
While large enterprises have the resources of an entire IT department behind them, these...

Infrastructure Optimization

Businesses Must Step Careful... |
Slow and steady wins the race as businesses migrate IT operations to service providers,...
Why Cloud Security Is More E... |
Cloud protection services enable companies to keep up with security threats while...
Ensure Uptime Is in Your Dat... |
Power and cooling solutions support disaster recovery and create cost savings and...

Networking

Securing the Internet of Thi... |
As excitement around the connected-device future grows, technology vendors seek ways to...
How to Maximize WAN Bandwidt... |
Understand six common problems that plague wide area networks — and how to address them.
Linksys Makes a Comeback in... |
The networking vendor introduced several new Smart Switch products at Interop this week.

Mobile & Wireless

Mobility: A Foundational Pie... |
Other technologies rely on mobile computing, which has the power to change lives, Lextech...
Now that Office for iPad Is... |
After waiting awhile for Microsoft’s productivity suite to arrive, professionals who use...
Visualization Can Help Busin... |
Companies need to put their data in formats that make it consumable anytime, anywhere.

Hardware & Software

Review: HP TippingPoint S105... |
Next-generation firewall can easily replace a stand-alone intrusion prevention system....
New Challenges in Software M... |
IT trends such as cloud, virtualization and BYOD pose serious hurdles for software...
Visualization Can Help Busin... |
Companies need to put their data in formats that make it consumable anytime, anywhere.