Naming a startup is hard. Very hard. On the one hand, the pragmatic entrepreneur thinks: “I shouldn’t be wasting time on this — for every successful company with a great name, there’s one with a crappy name that did just fine. It doesn’t seem like a name has much influence on the outcome at all. I’m going to get back to writing code.” I sort of agree with this. You shouldn’t obssess about your name. But, you also shouldn’t dismiss it as unimportant. Part of the startup game is to try and remove unnecessary friction to your growth. Sure, you could build a spectacularly successful company despite having a lousy name — but why not stack the odds in your favor?
One more reason why spending calories on picking a great name is important: It’s a one-time cost to get a great name — but the benefit is forever. Conversely, if you short-change this and dismiss it completely, you’re going to incur what I’d call “branding debt”. Not bad at first, and maybe not a big deal for you ever, but every year, as you grow, you’ll have this small voice nagging inside your head “should I change the name of the company…”. It’s going to be annoying. And the longer you wait, the more expensive the decision is, and the less likely you are to do it. Save yourself some of that future pain, and invest early in picking a decent name. You may still get it wrong, but at least you’ll know you tried.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
17 Mutable Suggestions For Naming A Startup