How to pick a name for your new startup?

How to choose the right name for your brand new company, product or one person freelance business? Here is now to NOT do it: organize a brainstorm sessions with 10 friends, putting 100 proposals in an excel file, talking with lots of people and asking lots of feedback to everyone. That’s just a big waste of time. Since…your company name doesn’t matter at all!

You did read this right. I’ll write it once more.

Your company name does not really matter!

Whether you call your brand new startup Foo, Bar, Banana, Apple or Google, at this moment you are just a startup and nobody cares about you! PEOPLE CARE EVEN LESS ABOUT YOUR HOW YOU CALL YOUR STARTUP.

Now it’s easy to say that “Apple” and “Google” are genius names. But do you think there was one single person on this earth who did care about the name “Google” when they were just a startup? “Woooow…Google, a startup with such a name will become huuuuge!” Nope. People started caring when “Google” was more than just a startup. “Apple” was just a piece of fruit before people knew about the company. “37 Signals” still sounds weird for me today.

People care about you solving their problems, not about your company name.

When choosing a name, the actual name you pick does not matter, as long as it follows this simple rule:

Your name shall be simple & easy to remember.

The name you pick must be simple, easy to spell, easy to remember, write and pronounce. If people hear your startup name for the first time, they shouldn’t look like eating a lemon because they are trying to figure out how the hell they should write it. “Anderungsschneiderei” is rather difficult to remember, to write and to pronounce. (Did you try it?!)

And nothing else matters!

(Uh, did I just quote Metallica?!)

Here some names I came up with in the past:

  • Zorros (http://zorros.be – our Ruby on Rails development company) – lots of people laugh at this name, but no one forgets it or has difficulties typing it.
  • Fikket (http://fikket.com – a SaaS product that is actually making 0$ MRR since it’s free, but soon or late we’ll monetize it, meanwhile it’s just growing and growing) – easy to remember the name, but a pity about the “kk” instead of “ck” in the name. The “ck” domain (from ficket) was not free anymore.
  • ArchiSnapper (http://archisnapper.com – the SaaS product that I’m bootstrapping right now, in the range of 1K – 10K MRR per month right now) – a bit more difficult to remember than the other 2 names, but still easy enough, simple enough, easy to spell and write and so on.

That’s it folks!

Short blogpost this time, as bootstrapping ArchiSnapper needs my time.

Author: Pieter Eerlings

http://www.linkedin.com/in/pietere http://www.last.fm/user/pietereerlings

4 thoughts on “How to pick a name for your new startup?”

  1. I agree – it’s best to keep it simple, easy to spell, and easy to pronounce. So many companies miss that, and I think it hurts them when their name isn’t memorable or when customers can’t find the web site because they can’t spell it. The one thing I would add is that before using a name, it’s probably a good idea to do a quick search and make sure it isn’t already in use and/or trademarked. I like Archisnapper :)

  2. Pieter, this is a terrific post, thank you! You just saved me from further thinking about the name for my project.
    I’m not a native English speaker, so sometimes I’m not sure if the words I pick resonate as I think they do – that was our biggest reason to rethink the name (TalkBook), as some people said it sounded too generic.

    Love your blog!

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