Naming a Startup – Points to Ponder

By | May 14, 2015

When you just think about naming a company, you may think ‘What big deal?’ But when you are in a position to name your company you would be able to understand why the founders of the company agonize over what to call their dream. But is it worth it to invest so much time and effort for it? Yes, it is very important to have a good catchy name for a business rather than having a string of alphabets put together. Mainly because the company’s brand is so tightly tied to the name of the company and its part of the first impression people get. Not only that, investors are quite particular about the name of the company they have invested in. Obviously, they would not want to announce that they invested in a company with a lame name. There are some interesting factors that have to be considered before naming the company. Before touching on that we will discuss about how to name a company.


1. Related words:

The first step to find the right name is to start with the words that would have some connection with the business – words that are related to the product or the nature of the business. It can be done with a help of thesaurus or websites like Try to find suitable alternatives. The words we look at can give way to other words and may end up with a word that seems to fit in. Paper and pencil can get very handy at these times as scribbling can seem to help a lot. Scribble, strike, rinse and repeat until you find some productive words that be used for the names. If you are looking out for some unique ones, you can even try some idioms.


2. Play around with words:

After you have a good set of words that means something related to the company, the words can be used in place where different names can be suggested. Puns can be used to create good interesting names. The website list very many puns for every term entered, if lucky what you are hunting for can surface from that. Apart from pun, there is something called portmanteau which means combining two words to create a clever and exciting name. From Groupon to Comcast to Temptolicious, portmanteau names are quite catchy. Check the website  to get some interesting portmanteau. It is not the end. There is another website that helps in creating words that rhyme with each other like FitBit, seven-eleven. Though we cannot assure you would find the name of your dreams in this site, the site would sure to give various option which might strike a bell in your heart.

3. Use Commonly Searched Words:

Why not use a bit of brain to the naming efforts? There are a lot of words searched by people every day, why not make use of the often searched word for the name that would help us and others. Finding words on it is quite simple, all one has to do is to type the word into the Keyword Search Tool and wait for the to auto complete the word. But there is also another much faster service which searches and publishes lists of related and popular search term based on the word you enter.

4. Check to be the only company with that name:

Previously, it was enough to check the URL to check if the name exists. But that is not the case now. The name could be used in Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr or anyother social platforms. But to make our task simple, many websites have popped up that could check the name and the domain name if it has been registered already like, Type in the word in the site is all that that is required to check its availability.

5. Test the name:

After confirming the name check with our other friends and relatives how the name sounds and hot they feel about it. Get their genuine suggestions and make changes if needed.  Also check if they would wear a t-shirt with the name of the company on it.


Above, we have looked in the steps or process to name the company. Now let us look into the set of parameters and check if our names fit into them.


A company’s name and its meaning should be clear in one shot. It should not require a customer, investor or employee to expand and convey the meaning of the name. If it requires someone to explain the name, it means the name does not fit into the parameter. For instance, Poiuyt Inc which means the left hand site of the computer keyboard and also means we think differently.


The company name should be meaningful not just a word with a meaning. The name should be meaningful to the products or services it deals with. When meaningful, the company creates a positive emotion. For instance, Analog Widget and Co., has a meaning but is not meaningful. So it is important to fit into this parameter.

*Impart meaning to others:

Just being meaningful would not be enough, to have a strong connection with the company. For the company name to be effective, it should be meaningful to possible clients, also to possible investors  and potential employees. For instance Optimal Industries may mean meaning to people inside the company but does not mean anything to others. Same applies to the name of the companies which has the name of its founder as the name of its company.

*Retro-Ironic Names:

This includes the names that are long and makes sense but may sound usual or give an old-timely feel. Like The Cheesecake Factory, Cookie Man, Bath and Body works etc. It is the consumer companies that have these kind of traditional names. Most of the industries or B2B companies consider it too perky. Recently, it has become a trend to use old common names like Clara or Oscar, Alfred, Lulu etc. These kind of names are more common among the tech startups where try to humanize the software they sell.

*Domain name doesn’t matter:

There many who limit themselves with the domain name. But it has to be noted that domain name is not all that matters. If one could not get the exact parameters, it can be slightly tweaked to have a different domain name. Even Facebook during its initial days was and not as it is now. Also DropBox’s domain names is

*Fit into Bi-Syllable words:

Sticking into bi-syllables is not mandatory but if its two syllables it would be easier to pronounce and use for all. Research also says this rule can result in great name for the company. Examples, Google, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr etc.,

*Easy on all (esp you):

Combining words is a good idea but the best combination does not strike everyone all the time. During such situations it is better to make the name simple and crisp or a real word that is directly associated with the product or the service the company deals with.

*Avoid Acronyms:

Acronyms may sound to be simple task to name a firm. But it is always better to avoid the acronyms as it may lead to confusion. You might have name is KLR but others may confuse it with KRL or PLR, where the essence of the name is lost.

Kindly note these parameters are not mandatory and but if its fits into these, it would be simple for you and also for others who use it. But ultimately, it is your company, your dream!

  • Annabell Caputo

    Just awesome topic! I had a good experience filling forms online and happy to share it with you. By the way, if anyone is facing a problem of filling IRS W-4, I’ve found a template here You also can esign the form and fax it.