Does the name matter?


I have already registered a company name but still in the business plan phase. Now after reading some books and answers to a lot of questions on this forum, I realise that maybe I do need a partner because all this time I was planning on going at it alone.

So now I have a candidate who I want to head up the marketing side of things.
Now my question is, the name I registered is some what word play around my name. Will this matter? Will I have to change the name and re-register so we can both feel comfortable, if it makes him uncomfortable we haven't talked about this yet..

Business Name

asked May 30 '11 at 14:11
I Scotts
152 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • I will post this as a comment since it isn't really an answer. But, since the person you may be bringing on will be responsable for marketing -- and marketing will include brand development -- which includes the name; why not ask them? As them the positives and negatives of the name in the target market. Use the conversation as a great way to get to work together! – Joseph Barisonzi 13 years ago

4 Answers


I don't think it will matter much. Names are way over-rated. Clearly, they are more important for consumer based companies, but for most tech companies, the main thing is that you have a decent URL that people can phonetically spell.

There is nothing compelling about the following names, yet each company has been uber-successful. I talk a bit about what makes a good name here: Yahoo – Jerry Yang and David Filo, Yahoo’s Founders, chose the name, as they considered themselves to be “Yahoos.”.After the company became successful, the backronym, Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle was devised to “explain” the name’s origin.

Google – While arguably better than the search engine’s initial name, “BackRub“, Google based on “googol,” a term devised by mathematicians to describe inconceivably large numbers that are smaller than infinity. When included in mathematical expressions, it is represented as 10100. Google is not descriptive of the company’s search core competency nor was it particularly easy to pronounce, spell or remember when the site was initially launched.

Amazon – While arguably better than the company’s initial name, “”, “Amazon” does not convey the company’s initial core competency of online book sales. Legend asserts that the name change from Cadabra was prompted by Yahoo’s alphabetized listing of search results. However, if this is true, “Aardvark” would have been a more clever choice and equally as relevant to online book sales.

eBay – Derived from Founder Pierre Omidyar’s consulting company, Echo Bay Technology Group. “” was not available, so the firm’s name was shortened to “eBay” in order to acquire the corresponding URL. “eBay” clearly has nothing to do with online auctions and is descriptive of absolutely nothing.

Cisco – Originally called “cisco Systems,” the name was derived from San Francisco. The lowercase “c” was eventually capitalized after nearly 10 years, due to the awkward representation of the small “c” when the company was discussed in newspapers and magazines. Other than a second-rate musician, “Cisco” is descriptive of nothing, offering no hint as to the company’s initial core competency in router design and development. At the time of its launch, the name “cisco” was also confusingly similar to SYSCO, the $20B food distribution company.

Microsoft – Initially descriptive of the company’s software developed for the “micro” computer market, which eventually evolved into the “personal” computer market. The original spelling of “Micro-Soft” was not changed until twelve years after its founding, once the MBAs had transformed the scrappy startup into a BDC. The company continues to dominate a variety of markets, despite the fact that no one has used the term “micro computer” during the past 25 years.

Good luck.

answered May 31 '11 at 03:54
John Greathouse
119 points


There's plenty of companies that feature the founder's name so i don't think you have to be overly concerned about it. (Personally I wouldn't do this as my view is that my company is about my customers, not about me and so I don't want myself in the name - but that's just my personal thing)

There's only one way to know how he feels about it - talk to him. It's probably not an issue and if it is and you think it's worth changing you can come up with one together.

answered May 30 '11 at 14:30
Susan Jones
4,128 points
  • OK I still have a lot to fond out about him though so hopefully by then Ill know if i really want him as a partner. – I Scotts 13 years ago
  • Make sure you work out and discuss exactly what he is bringing to the partnership – Susan Jones 13 years ago


The key thing to remember is that until a name has some market recognition whether through advertising or word of mouth, it's just a name and you shouldn't be afraid to change it. Does your partner care? Maybe his interest was piqued by what he thinks is an awesome name.

Personally, I'd take the opportunity to brainstorm names (include the current one) with your new partner as it would be a great team building exercise.

answered Jun 2 '11 at 13:37
146 points


Don't bother being the nicest guy to your business partner Two people with different minds are eventually going to argue. When that time comes may have to give in to some of his ideas in order to get yours in practice. Such ideas can be exactly what you are now willing to do in order to make him feel confortable. In other words, have some cards up your sleeve.

Do you have to spell the name to every new customer? Try to keep things simple. A new company can take some time to spread if you have to teach your customers how to pronounce it. Google, for instance, isn't exactly an easy word in all countries and it may have had trouble expanding at the beginning. I'm sure you want to keep your marketing budget at it's lowest, right?

Do you get relevant results for your company's name in search engines? Think of a potential client who's heard of your work. Do you want him to browse through a list of companies with the same name? That said, it can be a good idea to come up with something that's never been used before.

answered Jun 2 '11 at 21:14
101 points

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