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Startup Saturday: 5 Tips To Help Name Your Small Business

[ 0 ] Nov. 23, 2013 | SBO Editor

Naming your business is an exciting process. The name you choose not only tells the world who your company is, but it provides information on the attitude of your firm and the tone. Of course, you must follow the basics: such as name the company for today and tomorrow. Here are some additional considerations from Libby Gill, author of “Capture The Mindshare, The Market Share Will Follow” (Palgrave Macmillan, $26):

1. Say who you are:

When possible, it’s a great idea to encapsulate the value proposition of the enterprise into the name. We immediately get the gist, if not the whole picture, of Whole Foods or Boston Consulting Group. Even company names that play with words, like Zappos (a pun on the Spanish word zapatos for shoes) or Italiatour, can say a lot about their business with just their names.

2. Combine clarity and cleverness.

You don’t want your name to be dull or boring. Conveying a sense of energy, enthusiasm, and personality can lay the groundwork for telling your clients how to feel about you, like Krispy Kreme or Charity Buzz.

3. Make it sticky.

Think about how memorable your name is. Can people recall it a day or two after you’ve told them what it is? Can they spell it? Does it make sense both when spoken and written? How about when you add a dotcom or other web extension after it? Once you’ve done some brainstorming, think back to your list of proposed names and see how you feel about them.

4. Short is sweet.

When it comes to naming, size matters and short is better. Short names are generally easier to remember than long ones and often look better on websites and printed materials. Be sure to check BetterWhoIs.com or other domain-buying websites to find out whether the URL of your name is available.

5. Create a word.

Eventually, you’ll be creating a whole brand language, so why not start with your name? The advantage of creating a name from scratch is that it will likely be easier to acquire a URL and trademark.  The disadvantage is that the name may require some ongoing explanation and awareness building before it sticks.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin joked that their online search engine could search for a googol of information, or the equivalent of the number one followed by 100 zeros.

Verizon was combination of the word veritas, Latin for truth, and horizon. Skype was originally dubbed Sky-Peer-To-Peer and eventually shortened to the more sticky Skype.

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Category: Features