Business Development · Company Naming

Company Name During Idea Validation?

Jacob Johnson Artist and Creative Product Designer

July 17th, 2014

When is the best time to solidify a company name during product/business development? I've been in the early stages of validation, with only concepts and design documents created at this point.  I have a clear goal for production and an idea of how to secure some capital.

Kate Hiscox

July 17th, 2014

Its hard to give anything a name until its revealed its personality so don't sweat the name until you have an identity. This will emerge as you validate your concept and sales strategy. What is the message you are trying to get across to customers? How would you describe your product in a couple of sentences? Once that is done, the name is pretty easy. When you have names in mind, check their domain, Twitter and FB availability.

Gray Kuglen Director of UX Design / Principal Consultant

July 17th, 2014

When you are signing the legal paperwork to form your company you will need a name (and open a bank account). You're not there yet it sounds like. Each person is different, but it's easy to get sucked into the rat-hole of naming stuff in this 'my-branded-era".  You might even get frustrated if you can't find a good one and then settle.  My focus in validations is "will they buy/use?", "how many will" and "how will I make money." Besides, shit happens and ideas change. I think naming a product/company today is hard as hell and takes time if you want to really have a good one. 

Matthew Carlson Director, UI Design at Twitter

July 17th, 2014

I think Kate's feedback is great, but for the companies I've helped it's often easier to have a code name during the early stages, to make easier to talk about your company. And anything that fits the personality of the product and the audience you're trying to reach can work for that (as long as it doesn't create confusion with direct competitors in your space).

As soon as you do have your value proposition locked down, it's helpful to get the name as soon as you can, because there are a lot of design tasks that will need the name locked before they can proceed, like designing the brand identity or the app icon, etc. Often the right naming concept can inspire your team or potential investors as well.

Here's the tough part, acquiring all of the properties for your domain is one of the biggest challenges, so you should never hang all of your hopes on a single perfect name. When I did naming work, pre-Facebook we would usually go into that search process with a dozen concepts, knowing 9 of them were going to get knocked out right away. If we found one of our top 10 open, we would snap it up. It's easier to release a name you don't want than to try and purchase one from the person who buys it one week later.

Sorry for the horror stories. Once the name is chosen, things get a lot easier. Also, never start a logo design process before the name is locked, or the Gods of Design will smite your Website with lightning bolts.

Tim Scott

July 17th, 2014

Earlier is better. A name gives you a sense of identity and realness. All your conversations and even your own thought process will become much more crisp once this thing has a name.  Of course naming is really hard, and you don't want to skimp on it or rush it one bit.

Here's some great general advice for naming a company: http://thisweekinstartups.com/name-startup-wsgr-startup-basics/

Keegan Beljanski Community and Marketing Intern at FounderDating

July 17th, 2014

This is a similar discussion (definitely not exactly the same) that might also be helpful here.  http://members.founderdating.com/discuss/Company-naming

Matthew Carlson Director, UI Design at Twitter

July 17th, 2014

Building on Gray's point, The name of your business and the name of your product don't necessarily need to be the same thing. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and many more all had names that they were doing business under, while they waited for their products to launch.

Matthew Carlson Director, UI Design at Twitter

July 17th, 2014

Building on Gray's point, The name of your business and the name of your product don't necessarily need to be the same thing. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and many more all had names that they were doing business under, while they waited for their products to launch.

Jacob Johnson Artist and Creative Product Designer

July 17th, 2014

Wow great advice from all!  I've been throwing around names for awhile, and I've been in a few conversations with prospective Co-Founders that have left me wondering if I should pick one as a "Stealth Name" until the business and product has been solidified...or as Kate puts it "Has personality" (which I love btw).