What's in a name? The way you name your company plays a major part in how well you can scale and how readily you can expand into new arenas.
If you want a company that is innovative and imaginative, name it that way
If Google had named themselves Web Search Engine, it's hard to imagine that things like Google Glass, Google Hangouts, or Google driverless cars would even exist. "Google" references the mathematical number googol, ten to the hundredth power. This invokes the idea of limitlessness. And true to name, they have expanded into so much more than just web searching. Would they have created all of this if the company were more limited in identity and scope?
Don't tie the identity of your business to one person or thing
LexION, the name of my wealth management firm, isn't a word. It's an amalgamation of my own inspiration for founding the firm, but outside of the firm it doesn't refer to anything or anyone--which means that it becomes our jumping off point for a whole raft of businesses. We have LexION University, an idea in the works that will ultimately become a resource hub for learning about finance. We scaled from LexION Capital to LexION Access when we created a sister branch to offer the same wealth management and the LexION advantage at a lower investment minimum. As we grow, there are endless possibilities in store.
Further, it's not tied to me as the founder. There are certain industries in which you are legally required to name the firm based on your own last name, like law firms. Outside of being legally compelled to do so, this is boring and can be limiting, especially considering that your name could change if and when you decide to partner up with a significant other.
Your business name is a crucial tool for building your brand image
An excellent example of this is GoPro, who got us to completely re-envision something that we now take for granted as commonplace: video cameras. At this point, we all have them. We carry them everywhere we go, in the form of cell phones. To embrace an additional gadget on top of our existing, conveniently pocket-sized digital arsenal, that item would have to be something that we think we have to have. It has to bring social cache at a good price point.
This is the smart strategy of calling a video camera "Go Pro:" suddenly this product is aspirational. It's no longer just another tech toy, but a really cool tool for athletes--athletes at every level. From professional surfers to kids learning tricks at the skate park, from competitive equestrian teams to the first horseback riding lesson captured on film by doting moms and dads, everyone has an interest. And, it has the flexibility to be more than a niche product for athletes. Anyone, from a home chef to a new mom, might want to "go pro" in their lives. And voila--the name transforms this gadget into a marketing tool, a branding tool, and a learning tool. They took the ordinary, now-ubiquitous video camera, and in part by naming it well and keeping it broad, made it extraordinary.
What's in a name? The Bard might say that a rose by any name would smell as sweet, and that may be true in the game of love, but I have to respectfully disagree when it comes to business. A startup by any other name will not necessarily smell of sweet success.