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What’s in a name? Why your start-up’s name is more important than you think…

When starting up a new business, the name may take a backseat at first as you find investors, refine a product, and research your target demographic. However, a standout name can make all of these tasks more effective. Furthermore, if you plan to sell your business down the road you need a name that will be transferable to another owner. A business’s name is integral to its value as a brand. Always keep the end goal of selling your business in mind as you launch a start-up, and avoid the most common naming pitfalls.

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Why Names Matter

So just how big of a deal is your new business name? Basically, your chances of getting your business off the ground and then selling it depend on a good one. The name is your brand, encapsulated in a single word or phrase. A bad name will automatically make customers dismiss your business, even if you have a worthwhile product. From a practical standpoint, the name will drive your business’s chances of being discovered online, through Google searches and social media channels. If you choose the wrong name, you could be left in online obscurity which will make it difficult to find customers and buyers.

Pitfall #1: Choosing a name that’s too generic

A good name will set you apart from the competition and be something memorable. If you’re starting an online sporting goods store, “The Ball Shop” is probably not going to make you stand out. Try to find a name that’s more specific to your niche, that’s not too long, and that isn’t overly similar to your competitors.

Pitfall #2: Choosing a name that’s too obscure

It’s possible to go too far in the other direction and choose a name that’s overly obscure in a bid to avoid being bland and generic. If you choose a name that’s hard to remember, pronounce, or spell, you’ll make it too hard for customers to connect with your brand. When the time comes to sell your business, investors won’t be interested in a name that lacks mass-market appeal.

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Pitfall #3: Using your personal name

If you’re a freelancer, it might make sense to use your personal name as your business title. This makes you recognizable to clients and puts a personality behind the brand, after all. However, the downside of this is that again, it makes it more difficult to sell a small business to someone else if it bears your name.

Pitfall #4: Choosing an unavailable domain name

Start-up entrepreneurs now not only have to think about clients and investors when choosing a name, they also have to think about online marketing. It’s unwise to launch a start-up without an accompanying website. As you choose your business name, make sure that the domain is available.

The Bottom Line

There are numerous factors to think about as you choose a name to work towards your ultimate goals. You’ll need to think about the big picture of starting up a business, from beginning to the eventual end game. Does your name appeal to new customers? Will it be easy to find online? Is there a matching domain name available? Finally, will it create a brand that’s easy to sell? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, you may just have a winner.

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  2. Podcast: Start with the End in Mind; regardless of how old your business is…
  3. why start with an Online Strategy in mind?

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