What’s in a company name? You’d be surprised to know!
Here are 7 useful tips for naming your SaaS startup, based on a true story
Illustration: Karthikeyan Ganesh
Naming your company is an overwhelming and exhausting exercise. It starts off as a fun activity, and then, you are trapped in the mind-numbing list of random names. It’s kind of like trying perfumes at a store, your nose becomes numb, and after a point, everything smells the same.
We initially spent several hours browsing through random names and the standard goes lower and lower. This is when you feel the need for external validation, so we involved a few of our friends in this never-ending hunt for a company name.
You might think involving many people will help you decide a name faster. But, trust me, it's not a good idea! Ask only yourself and your team who know your product/domain well, who feel your vision, and understand your business. Once you involve other people, you will end up convincing and explaining to them your business and thought process.
This is the second time this is happening to me, in my Zarget days I remember we spent months thinking of the perfect name.
4 years ago, I went through the same process when I was naming my first startup Zarget. Every founder goes through this. Shouldn’t there be a more focussed and efficient approach? So like every CEO/marketer, I thought I’ll share all the feedback I received in this process and the rationale behind choosing a good name.
Let’s get started.
Your name should have a brand recall & story
As a marketer, I think this is very important feedback when it comes to choosing the name of your business. The human brain only recalls the top brands - Coca Cola or Pepsi, Apple or Samsung, Bose or Beats, Hubspot or Marketo (Marketing SaaS). Imagine you are attending a conference, you want people to be able to remember you among the sea of vendors selling similar products. So, always pick a name that can be easily remembered and tells your story.
It sounds like an e-commerce website
A lot of the names we picked right from FabITup.com to Zopics.com were really nice and chirpy but sounded like an e-commerce site, and were not suitable for our business. Also, good feedback to know your audience persona and pick names accordingly.
Check for chances of a spelling error
It’s very important to have a name that is easy to spell. Imagine your support reps on every call, going A as in alpha, B as in bravo, or imagine people searching for your company with the wrong spelling on Google.
It’s very "enterprisey" and boring
Sometimes, we try to tick all the points in the checklist and end up with a very safe name. Of course, it will sound professional/ordinary/lackluster. We’d shortlisted a few such names like StableOps.com as well. As a founder, it is very important for you to go with your gut and take a strong stance. At the end of the day, it’s the name of your company, and you want it to be WOWsome, not just good.
Make a new word like how Google did
IMO, it is not a bad idea. Yes, you will need a decent brand budget to promote this new word and your brand. But if you feel like coining your own term, and that it would create the recall value you need, I’d highly recommend doing it.
Why .ai or .co? .com is safer
There are thousands of domains being bought every day and most of the good names would have been gone by now. Hence, .io and .ai are trending off late in the tech space. However, is there a disadvantage in choosing .ai name? We did our part in researching, and found that Google treats all names in the same lens, so there’s no need to worry about ranking. Yes, .com has a physiological safety, but that trend is changing, and it’s just a matter of time.
Don’t limit your name to your domain
From my past experiences , I have spent millions of dollars in rebranding the company just so it can be positioned as a multi-product brand. It's always recommended to choose a name that has the possibility to be close to the domain but not limit you to one product.
These are the top points to consider, based on the feedback I received. So here’s a quick checklist:
- Keep it short and use simple words
- Use memorable words
- Keyword analysis for SEO
- Relevant to the target audience
- Brand recallRelevant extension
- Clear spelling
- Phonetically pronounceable
Now, back to our story. We did a quick poll with our shortlisted names and surprisingly, the name that had the highest number of votes was OpsGator.com. It was a decent name and we couldn’t find anything wrong with this name. However, we were not completely convinced with the name, we just didn’t feel it. Sometimes, it’s ok to not go with data or polls.
A good name is always close to your heart and you will know when it is the right one. We knew the name of our company the moment we heard it, I am glad to announce our company name here in this blog.
Naming your company is an activity that is very close to your heart. It is a very subjective and opinionated exercise. So it is tough to make a decision by listening to everyone around and making everyone happy. So go with what you feel is best, what brings that spark when you listen to it associated with your product/business. Hope our experience and the checklist help you save time and energy in picking the right name.