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The Importance of Your Startup Name - And Our Very Own In House Method of Inception

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Jack Verweij

Digital Marketing Executive

Updated 10 October 19

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Sometimes when naming a business, you find the perfect name that rolls off the tongue and perfectly encapsulates the problem you are trying to solve at a very early stage. However, most of the time naming your startup is an arduous process. With this in mind, we created F.RA.N.K.S.

 

The Find Really Awesome Names Kwickly System is our, internally named, naming session for our co-founded startups. The process was developed by our creative team to make naming startups easier. 

 

Why is your name important?

Thousands of startup businesses are founded every day and your name needs to stand out from the crowd. The name of your startup is the first touch point every stakeholder will have with your brand, so it’s essential that it’s memorable, interesting, fun and relevant to your audience. 

 

What are the biggest challenges to overcome? 

We have co-founded over 70 startup businesses in recent years, and we have helped our founders name a large majority of them. Here are some of the challenges we’ve faced when doing so:

  1. Idea paralysis, you begin to hate every idea that comes out instantly. If you get to this stage, we’d suggest pushing it to the side for a day and coming back to it.
  2. Lack of consensus formed by too many different opinions within your team (we suggest a team of no more than 5 to 7 people, remember an odd number leads to a decisive vote.)
  3. An unwillingness to open up to ideas due to the founder's personal bias or experience.
  4. Finding a name that fits both your brand values and the function of your product seamlessly.

 

The F.R.A.N.K.S system is built to alleviate these challenges, so let’s go through each step.

 

Step 1 - Mind Map 

Fill a page with random words relating to the startup. What your startup does, industry terms, what qualities you have and what emotions you express. 

 

Don’t overthink this, by writing down as many words as you can that even just loosely relate to your business, you are able to broaden your horizons and steer away from previous biases. 

 

Step 2 - Word Exploration 

Using a dictionary, thesaurus, idioms, whatever you can, further explore each word. By the end you could have hundreds of words.

 

Try and find bad words as well as good names and words. This gives a perspective on what works and what doesn’t.

 

Step 3 - Word Altering 

Select some of your favourite words and get creative. Add suffixes, prefixes, blend them, join them, swap letters etc.

 

One of our designers, Ollie McAinsh, believes word altering puts you into a state of play, leading to connections you wouldn’t have when consciously trying to think of a new name - drawing inspiration from this great quote:  

 

“The great Leonardo remained like a child for the whole of his life. Even as an adult he continued to play, and this was another reason why he often appeared uncanny and incomprehensible to his contemporaries” - Sigmund Freud (1910)

 

Step 4 - Filter Names 

Narrow down your favourites, search for them to make sure they don’t already exist (or mean something rude)

 

Filtering names down allows you to evaluate what is most suitable in relation to values. We normally run the naming session straight after a brand workshop - where we home in on the intangible assets of each startup that form its own identity. This ensures that the brand values, messaging, tone of voice, etc. are still fresh in the memory for everybody involved. 

 

Before making a decision, you may want to take these factors into mind with the team:

  1. Check if the URL for your startup’s name is available. URL’s can be expensive, especially for smaller names ending in .com or .co.uk. There are plenty of sites you can use to check URL availability, including Google Domains.
  2. Another company may already be trading with some of the names on your list. You can search for trademarks by words, phrases or images on the Intellectual Property Office website.
  3. If you’re planning on going multinational, you might want to check for words that aren’t offensive in another culture. Word Safety is a website that traces 19 different languages to see if a chosen word may cause offence with phonetic matching.



Step 5 - Choose One 

Congratulations! You should now have yourself a catchy, universal and positive brand name to get people talking about. 

 

At this stage you can do one of two things:

 

  1. Stick with the name the team have decided on -you might want to go away and think about it over a couple of evenings before making a final decision.
  2. If you have an easily accessible user panel from your target audience, show them the best couple of options and let them vote. This gives you quick feedback on how your brand name resonates with your most important stakeholder.

 

The last thing to remember is that some of the world’s biggest startups and tech businesses have changed names over the years, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you still have niggly doubts about the decided name for your startup. It’s also important to remember that it’s more important that your customers like the name rather than yourself.

 

 

If you've got a great idea for a business, you're aware of a problem that can be solved through tech innovation, or simply looking for the best startup advice, apply to join our startup mentorship and investment programme.



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