6 Simple Tips to Help You Name Your Startup (and Beat the Competition)

By Guest Author | DIY | June 27, 2017

It’s clear that the startup scene in Europe is booming – cities from Krakow to Barcelona are host to new, innovative startups. In fact, in the tech sector alone, investors gave over $13.6 billion to startups across Europe in 2016.  As an entrepreneur, statistics like these likely both excite and frighten you – with so much funding funnelling into the region, competition for your startup will be stiff. How do you distinguish yourself from the thousands of other startups springing up in the region?

By Grant Polachek, Squadhelp

In a competitive startup market, having a productive name will provide huge advantages. A great name has a strategic purpose, and therefore accomplishes strategic goals. A descriptive name like PayPal introduces the company’s services and it’s value proposition. A emotional names like SalesForce grabs attention and drives connection.

If you don’t want your new venture to get lost in the crowd, following these six naming tips from the naming platform Squadhelp will help your startup to stand out:

Focus on being evocative

Online naming resources recommend unique, short and catchy names. However, after helping nearly 8000 individuals find winning names, Squadhelp concluded that being evocative was the most important naming characteristic.

A name should bring up an idea in someone’s mind that’s relevant to brand messaging or elicit an appropriate emotional reaction. Some names are evocative because they convey a powerful idea. For example, the name CoFounder immediately brings to mind a partner that will be by your side when you’re navigating the world of entrepreneurship.

Put your name in context

It’s easier to judge a name’s potential when it’s placed in context. Names with obscure references are not usually recommended; however, for a niche brand, such a name may be appropriate.

No matter your industry, your name should make sense in context to your target market. CoFounder taps into the potential of context, as the name instantly resonates with the startup community.

Embrace naming simplicity

Great names are easy to pronounce, spell, and remember. Being memorable lies at the very heart of naming. Name ideas that are in any way difficult to pronounce or spell must be eliminated from your list at once – they will likely cause referral and branding problems in the future.

CoFounder also serves as a great example of a simple name. It is a common word that is easy to remember, pronounce, and spell. In general, the easier information is to process, the more our brains are drawn to it and the more we tend to like it.

Check name availability

Squadhelp has found that URL availability is the biggest naming roadblock entrepreneurs face while developing the name for their startup. As an entrepreneur, you’re likely aware that the naming process is not only about branding – it also has major legal implications. Trademark battles are devastating, so do your due diligence and make sure your name doesn’t infringe on established trademarks.

Look for linguistic conflicts

In the naming industry, there are many stories of international companies whose name turned out to have an offensive meaning in another language. Even manufacturing giants like Finland’s Nokia have erred in this department – their Lumia cell phone is a term for a “lady of the night” in Spanish. You can see why names must be checked for linguistic conflicts.

Appeal to your target market

Make a name that your target audience will love to use. Name your company for your target audience, not the general public that may or may not be interested in your product. Appealing to your target audience goes far beyond developing a persona before you brainstorm your name, or asking yourself if you believe that the name will resonate with your audience. After running hundreds of Name Testing Surveys, the experts who have helped name nearly 10,000 startups, products, apps, etc., at Squadhelp believe that unbiased feedback is essential to making a confident name choose.

Naming Your New Startup

These tips will help your company stand out in the competitive European startup market. Using CoFounder as an example, it’s clear how choosing an evocative, simple, contextual, and appealing name can help catapult your startup to success. A great name will do some of the heavy lifting for you as you begin your journey into the thrilling world of entrepreneurship.  

Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Squadhelp–transforming the way names, logos, and taglines are developed by combining an affordable agency-level brainstorming process with the unmatched creativity of “the crowd.”

His book How to Develop the Perfect Name for Just About Anything is available to CoFounder readers for free.