Launching a new company or product can be an intense process, requiring a large investment of both money and time. But ultimately, the reward is great, since proper planning and execution results in the creation or expansion of your organization. To ensure you’re setting your company or product up for success, one of the crucial parts to focus on is the naming. Here are three essential steps to take when deciding on a name:
1. Check for legal name availability
When brainstorming ideas for naming your company, before moving too far along with a particular name or direction, confirm that the name is legally available. This will stop time from being wasted on developing a strategy around a particular name and then discovering that an entity already exists under that name. Many states provide an easily-searchable database that is accessible for this purpose. Some states will even offer to research a list of names for you.
If you’re struggling to come up with the perfect name and need some inspiration, use these tools to help push-start ideas:
2. Check for URL and social media handle availability
Having an online presence is vital to success in today’s business environment. Before naming a company or product, verify that the appropriate URL and social media handles are available. Ideally, you should be able to claim a simple URL such as www.[Company name].com, so that way you have a URL that is memorable and can easily fit onto business cards and appended to content pieces. Much like your ability to check for company names in use, there are certain tools you can also use to check for URL and handle name availability:
An example of when this step should have been performed is when Netflix split its streaming and DVD delivery services, launching the home delivery service named Qwikster. The problem was that the Twitter handle @Qwikster was already taken by someone whose favorite topics to tweet about were far from what Netflix would want associated with their brand.
If you are set on a name, but the ideal social handles aren’t available, there are some workarounds you can take:
- Use an abbreviated version of the name (such as just the first letter of each word)
- Try applying underscores and hyphens between words
- Add “Official” to the beginning of your handle
- Say what you do (i.e., @HiltonHotels)
- Add your location (US or UK, etc.)
- Use your URL (“dotcom”) as part of the handle
3. Check for other meanings of the name
In addition to legal considerations and online availability, it is important to research any other meaning the word or phrase you have selected may have. This could be slang usage, meanings in other languages or past usage. Resources such as Urban Dictionary, translators and simple web searches can be useful for this research.
Following these three steps will help the naming process go more smoothly and can prevent a myriad of surprises from arising later in the process. Proper planning upfront and thoroughly thinking through these aspects of your naming will help prevent stress later on, allowing you to focus on all of the other elements that accompany a launch.