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“Finding a name” - Howto: In 4 steps to a great company name

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Sometimes there is a word that gives the impetus to founding a company. Then the company name is certainly not a problem. But if you suddenly want to find a suitable name for your project and startup during the start-up phase, you will encounter obstacles: It is not that easy to name something exciting, precise and meaningful. How to get a great company name and what to look out for can be found in this specialist article.

Step 1 to finding a name: Know who you are

Some brainstorm in a team, others get a flash of inspiration in the shower. Some ask the cloud or hire text agencies. There are many ways to come up with a name for your company. None of them are golden, none without stones.

In any case, founders should ask themselves a few important questions before starting their search. And you will already know the questions: You have to answer them in the business plan, the pitch and your investors. Who are you? What do you want? Who is what you are offering for? What is the USP? And why actually you? The answers to these questions will give you direction, a basis for your company name. Because this makes it clear which target group the name should appeal to.

An example: Dr. Severin, a startup from Frankfurt / M., sells aftershaves. Sure what the "Dr." should achieve: credibility, seriousness, medical know-how. But then there is no Schmidt, Müller, Krüger - who seem old-fashioned as well as random. But a cool “Severin”. The target group is young and mainly buys on the Internet.

So: take a look at your business plan and mark the most important keywords of your company. Maybe there is already a name included. Otherwise to step 2: creativity

Step 2 to find a name: Let go and then grab hold of it - be creative

Actually, this is the most fun part of the name search: Allow everything and try it out. This is how creativity works best. But most of the time people don't work like that on command. But don't worry, there are some great strategies you can use to inspire your creativity. Without a hangover the next morning.

Brainstorming methods help

Take a look at our specialist article “Developing business ideas (1) - 6 successful brainstorming methods for generating ideas”. These methods are not only suitable for ideas but also for terms and names.

Helpful tools for finding a name

Another method of getting name inspiration is online name generators: They create new words or word combinations from a pool of terms that you define. Unfortunately, these tools work best with the English language.

    • Keyword research at the beginning is especially important for the website, but also helpful when finding a name, because with strong keywords you guarantee yourself an advantage in terms of visibility. You can fall back on Ubersuggest and check your creative ideas there. Maybe this will give you great insights into which name is better.
    • A very simple tool is Nameboy, which mainly searches for free domains. Often possible combinations are created simply from a main word and a second word. so you can do two tasks in one - domain and name found!
    • Naminum is also easy and super fast. There you can enter a keyword or your researched keyword and you will then receive a wide variety of word endings as a supplement. Sounds simple, it is! But sometimes wonderful word games and sonorous names emerge that still reveal what it is about.
    • The Domaintyper comes with two functions: In addition to the name generator, which supplies a lot of fantasy company names, the search function checks the availability of domain names in parallel in real time.
    • You can find a Startup Company Name Generator here, the search for an available domain is also integrated with this tool. So you can be sure that the name and domain match, because the search results are displayed directly as domains. A wide variety of categories are available for how your keywords are combined and rated.
    • The KnowEm tool goes one step further, because there you can see immediately after entering your preferred name (important: enter without spaces!) Which domains and which profiles are still free on social media. So you can see at a glance whether you can still secure the profile and domain with the desired name.
    • StartupNameCheck is similar, because here you can also enter your favorites after brainstorming for names. The tool will then spit out whether there are any domains available for the company name and also the available social media accounts. In this respect, you get a lot of information in one fell swoop and can save you the time-consuming research using many tools or multiple platforms.
    • The one-click Hipster Business Generator makes it particularly easy - with one click you will be suggested a name with an idea for the logo. However, you cannot provide any information about your startup here. So interests, industry or the like are not included, the selection of the proposed name is random and, in case of doubt, not very appropriate.
    • Finding a name with the worksheets from WOW Branding works quite differently, because in exchange for your email address you will receive some worksheets with which you can approximate the name. Valuable tips for finding a name and the individual aspects are included. It's that easy to benefit from the knowledge and experience of the brand agency.
    • If your favorite for the company name has already been found, this tool will help you. With SurveyMonkey you can easily create surveys and check out how your name is received on social networks. Friends and family are not always representative, especially when it comes to the target group for your startup. This will help you to make a good final decision for or against a name in the end.
    • If you are completely uncreative and really don't know what to do next, then of course you also have the option of buying an existing name. There is the BrandBucket tool for this, where you can enter a keyword and then see available names with logo and the corresponding price. The prices are in USD. You also have the option of finding a name by selecting the industry or by type and style of the name; suggestions are displayed via these categories.
    • Novanym works in the same way, only that you get the prices in euros here. You can also find a name with this tool, but you will also be suggested names that have already been entered and you can then purchase them. You can get suggestions about the name via a keyword or again via the industry.

Creative people look for your name

An alternative are creative minds who create individual name suggestions according to your ideas in an online competition. The platform designen Klassen.de offers z. B. this service and has built a community with many creative minds. At the start of the project you formulate a briefing, after which you will receive suggestions that you can evaluate and give feedback on. If the desired name is found, this idea can be chosen as the winner after research and thus acquired.

No matter how and where you get inspired - give yourself time in the search. Even if there is already a name you like. Only over a period of time do you notice whether it really works.

An example: Crown jewels is a startup that wants to produce radiation-protected boxer shorts. There is no need to explain the name, it is playful and still gets to the heart of the mission. Put the man's best pieces in the safe.

Step 3 to find a name: Now check who is bound forever

Changing a company name later is costly and risky. Twix-Raider-Twix is ​​still fondly remembered. Therefore, check carefully whether your favorite name is really suitable.

What does the crowd think?

You may think your name idea is great and successful, but is it really successful? Therefore: Be sure to test your desired name. Let others read it aloud because it needs to be easy to pronounce and sound good. Should there be any slip of the tongue or if it just doesn't sound good, then the search should start again.

You can also go straight into the crowd and start the search for a great name via a campaign with the Internet campaign. The advantage: you bind your target group early on.

Domain free for your name?

Very important and not to be neglected is the free domain for your company name. If the domain is already taken, you can still check or inquire whether it is for sale. Otherwise, it's worth continuing your search for the perfect name.

What do BHK, XTZ and 3PRO4 actually stand for?

Abbreviations are critical. As a newcomer to the market in particular, it is difficult to make an abbreviation known. It is often impossible to create a meaningful connection to the activity with individual letters. At the same time, it is worthwhile to reconsider your company name with abbreviations. Maybe it will turn into a great logo?

What are the limits of your naming freedom?

You are not entirely free when it comes to naming your company. Because depending on the legal form of your company, additional names must be included.

  • In the case of registered companies such as an AG, GmbH or UG, the respective legal form must always be appended to the company name. You can almost freely choose the name itself.
  • In the case of a partnership, at least the surname of a partner must also be included in the company name.
  • In the case of a GbR, the first and last name must even be included in the company name; in the case of an OHG, the last name is sufficient.
  • Strictly speaking, companies that are not entered in the commercial register are not a company name, but a business name. This must always consist of the proper name. So if you are self-employed, you have to include your first and last name in the business name; if you work as a freelancer, at least your last name. Apart from the proper names and the legal form, other designations can of course be added.

How sure are you that your name is yours?

When choosing a name, it is very important to make sure from the start that no existing trademark rights are infringed or that the name is misleading. There are some terms such as B. Institute, international or organic, which are almost always prohibited. These terms are protected and may therefore only be used if they actually apply.

If a name is already protected, this or a very similar one may not be used a second time. So always check your ideas at an early stage in order to avoid an expensive property right lawsuit. In addition to the possible costs of a lawsuit, the name change itself is associated with high costs.

In an initial research, you can quickly find out yourself via Google whether your desired name has already been taken. Nevertheless, you should definitely carry out further research at the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA), as well as in the commercial register.

Step 4 to find a name: Protect your great name

After all the effort, of course, you don't want the name you found to be disputed. Or even stolen. Therefore: Have your name protected and register it as a trademark.

Registering a trademark with the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) costs around 300 euros and is valid for ten years.

You can find out how the trademark application works in our specialist text “How to: What to look out for when applying for a trademark”.