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Great Names Don’t Come Easy


When we were coming up with our name for ChoicePass, a soon to be launched platform for small/medium sized merchants (still in private alpha testing) to create customized membership programs for their customers, it was surprisingly difficult.

Here are my tips on finding a great name.

#1. Brainstorm on the “essence” of the product or service that you are offering.

– Especially if you are the business co-founder, you are expected to take a lead on all things non-technical and coming up with the name falls squarely in that camp.

#2. Look up whether or not the domain name is taken.

– This also includes looking up whether or not the name has been incorporated, twitter name, facebook name, etc.

– Many, many domain names are taken – some of them by “squatters” looking to make $$ from your unassuming start-up.

#3. Google-it

– Even if it is available, make sure there are no negative connotations!

#4. Does it make sense?

– A name like Google is great now that they’ve built brand equity and is now part of the Webster dictionary. For most start-ups though, coming up with your own name may not be such a good idea because people may not know how to spell it.

#5 Say it out loud.

– We came up with a number of names that, in theory, seemed cool but were just plain hard to say. Or could be easily spelled incorrectly. Or reminded us of not-so-cool things when we actually said it out loud

Alot of co-founders think that the name is secondary to the product and execution. I completely agree. But a name – and building brand equity and an identity – around that name is also very important. Particularly if you are in the consumer internet space. Everyone knows what Groupon is. It just makes sense. Buywithme on the other hand…not exactly original.

Guy Kawasaki’s book, Art of the Start, has some great tips on naming start-ups!

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