What to Avoid When Naming your Startup

What to Avoid When Naming your Startup

Your startup name establishes the tone for all of your future business exploits. It needs to create a clear point of connection between your business and your audience, and it also needs to describe who your business is and what values you hold.

Just as a solid name helps your brand, a poor name can ruin a business. There are numerous naming faux-pas that you should avoid because they can hinder your business growth. Find out what they are and why you have to avoid them as you start on the naming your business.

Difficult Names

The most important rules of coming up with a name is that it needs to be simple to pronounce, spell, and recall.

If your potential customers have too tough of a time saying your brand name, they will stop saying it altogether and will never share it with friends or family. If you want to avoid having a difficult name make sure you don’t put intentional misspellings in your startup name in an effort to be creative. Very frequently, complicated intentional misspellings cause more confusion in potential customers and clients than interest.

If you want to make sure your name is simple enough try using the “crowded bar theory”. If you were talking with a friend at a crowded bar and said the brand name, would they recognize it easily? For example, a new restaurant named Sam and Ella’s could sound like salmonella in a loud crowded bar, which is unattractive as well as unpleasant. Make sure that your startup name only has to be heard once to be understood.

The best names are the ones that are easy to say and share because they are more likely to be remembered. When customers refer others to your startup through your business name, they act as agents of your brand. Choosing a simple, clean name makes the sharing process easier for everyone.

Boring Names

While solid names are ones that that inform people about the services that your business provides, names that are too descriptive are not appealing.

A great brand name is one that will create a small amount of suspense with your target audience without being too vague or mysterious. When trying to avoid names you need to get creative and think outside of the box. Your name needs to captive your audience so when they see it, they want to learn more about your startup and the services or products you provide.

Trendy Names

If you analyze business names from the past few decades you will see certain trends reveal themselves. For example, during the mid 2000s many companies opted to have names that were missing vowels. Examples of this naming trend are names like Tumblr, Twttr (which later became Twitter), Flickr and Grindr. Another naming fad that has emerged during the last ten years are names with suffixes like Spotify, and Gamify.

Only certain fad names endure, so choosing a fad for your name can be a possible disadvantage to your start. Some names risk being limited to their time period and can feel dated very quickly.

When you’re trying to brainstorm names for you start and you want to get your creative juices flowing, it can be smart to try out new trends for you name, but be sure that you keep the consequences in mind. If you happen to use a trend too late, your brand may be a few steps behind in this competitive world of businesses and startups. Try brainstorming business names with this handy list to get a better idea of how you can use different fads and trends to your names in a meaningful way.

Long Names

Long names are difficult for entrepreneurs because they present several challenges. The length of the long name can be an automatic turn-off for your target audience because long names come with even longer URLs. Be sure that you think a few steps ahead when coming up your name. In addition to thinking about your URL, you should also consider any potential social media handles you may want to incorporate later on. Some social media handles come with limits. For example, Twitter handles cut off at 15 characters, so you should double check that your name works within those limitations.

The longer your name is, the more perplexing and forgettable it will be to your target audience. Try to cut down your lengthy ideas by getting rid of any unnecessary descriptors. If you still haven’t discovered a startup name that has an available URL, try checking the internet for domains for sale - you might find your ideal name also comes with a perfect URL.


Despite naming your startup being a challenge, all of the time, effort and resources you put into it will give you a strong, appealing name that captivates your audience. Check out some of the basic guidelines on what type of names you should avoid rather because this type of thinking can really force you to be creative during the naming process.


About the Author

Grant PolachekGrant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Inc 500 company Squadhelp.com, the worlds #1 naming platform, with nearly 20,000 customers from the smallest startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation. Get inspired by exploring these winning ideas for business names.

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