Naming Your Company

Naming Your Company

Is the name of your company that important? For startups — specifically ones that are aiming for really high growth — I’d say no. It is not that important. Because for most startups, the only thing that is important is whether or not customers, even just a few of them, like your product.

These “extra” things — like the name of your company or the color of your footer — tend not to affect the assumptions you are testing by building your product.

I’d say most companies do not even get to the point where they should worry about whether or not their name is affecting sales.

Experts, aka people much more experienced and smarter than me, differ over the effects of how you name your company.

Paul Graham, a partner at YC, has some really interesting thoughts that he outlines in this essay. He starts with a valid point:

If you have a US startup called X and you don’t have, you should probably change your name.

The reason is not just that people can’t find you. For companies with mobile apps, especially, having the right domain name is not as critical as it used to be for getting users. The problem with not having the .com of your name is that it signals weakness. Unless you’re so big that your reputation precedes you, a marginal domain suggests you’re a marginal company. Whereas (as Stripe shows) having signals strength even if it has no relation to what you do.

Naming a company can be really hard, especially when you have to deal with the idea that most of the “good” and concise .com domains are taken.

But the statistics do show, at least for YC companies, that:

100% of the top 20 YC companies by valuation have the .com of their name. 94% of the top 50 do. But only 66% of companies in the current batch have the .com of their name. Which suggests there are lessons ahead for most of the rest, one way or another.

But to this data, I ask at what point do companies make the shift from the alternate domain to the .com. I’d venture to say that many small startups should not worry about paying top dollar for their own dot com domain. Instead, they should focus on the important things that will actually drive their customers.

If you do venture that you need a new name, there are lots of resources that may help you. Startup Stash has a whole host of them here.

Good luck naming your companies!

Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on January 2, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.