What’s in a Name?

Hello sticker

Coming up with a name for your new company is difficult. If you ever want to spend significant portions of your day, evening, sleep time on something that feels like a waste of time, try naming a business. Over the course of about three weeks, and probably 15 phone conversations, 25 emails, and 50 “phone a friends,” we have completed the process. We’ll cover the new name in a future post. Today’s post is to help those who are interested in the process of naming a company, or are in the process of naming one right now.

Approach

While it had been in the back of our minds for quite some time, company naming got pretty important about 3 minutes after I put in my notice at LeanCor. We spent the next few days doing general research, listening to the Spirit, and creating a list of naming criteria. Then, we dug into the naming process using name search tools. Finally, we created a top 10 list of names and asked friends and family to fill out a brief survey.

Research

Some helpful sites/articles we found while researching theory and approach for company name creation:

Name Inspector

Entrepreneur-Business Name

Inc.com search = Name

Mashable – 16 Tips 

Naming Criteria

We ended the process with this list of criteria:

  • Be meaningful, related to company vision
  • Easy to pronounce & spell
  • Something you wouldn’t be embarrassed to say on a sales call
  • Reveal what the business will do
  • “.com” domain available (**bonus points for a short domain**)

Easy, right?

Name Search Tools

A few links to tools that we found especially helpful in selecting a name were:

  • Name Mesh, Panabee, & Name Boy-input list of starting and ending keywords, and these sites attempt to “mesh” those into meaningful words; they also compare the new name against available domains
  • Thesaurus.com-endless lists of synonyms, that link to endless lists of synonyms, that link to . . .
  • Latin Word List-helpful in uncovering root word meanings-especially useful for prefixes and suffixes
  • Idioms-for those who enjoy a clever pun, but aren’t clever enough to create on their own; input words, and all known (and I think some made up) idioms appear
  • Scrabble Dictionary-looking for a ten letter word that starts/contains/ends with the root “veri?”  Great place to find all that exist (and, again, a few that I’m pretty sure don’t)

At some point in your search, you’ll get good at executing this loop between several sites, and by the point you come across your name, you’re ready to name three more companies, your next six kids, and start a company-naming venture on the side.  But, just like painting a room, by the time you’ve settled into a nice rhythm, the work is done.

collage-2014-04-23 (1)

Survey

We created an online survey based on our top 10 list, and sent it out to around 20 friends and family members to collect feedback.  We asked folks to rank their top three favorites, and provide feedback on any names they hated, as well as any additional suggestions.  The feedback portion in particular was especially valuable (who knew “Labs” wasn’t considered as good as “Solutions” for a software company?) and the survey definitely aided our process.  Here are the survey results, listed in order from most popular (left) to least (right):

survey results

Check back later this week to find out which name we chose, and why. Here’s a hint-It was tweaked from one of the entries in the survey – the very far right one 🙂

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  1. Name Dropping | A Fork in the Road Startup - April 25, 2014

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