The absolutely gotta-have-its: A good name is easy to say, difficult to mispronounce, memorable, defensible, and appealing.

Beyond these characteristics, your name will ideally have something special about it, which makes it uniquely rich and relevant for you, your business, or your values. It is this special quality that gives your name the ability to grow and function as the seed of your brand. Your name should be that key element that resonates outward, like a pebble dropped into a pond. Your name should be rich and full of possibility, able to stay fresh and keep growing in new creative directions.

In order to function in this way, your name will ideally have at least some relevant, intrinsic meaning, but not be so narrow (geographically, descriptively) that it limits your ability to grow. And unless you have deep resources for advertising and/or lots of time – rare for a start-up – this is a powerful argument for thinking very hard before choosing a meaningless, random, arbitrary, or totally made-up name.

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