On Management

Naming Your Enterprise Inc.


Re-consider. Yes, do that at times.

I might be the 1285th odd to-be entrepreneur writing about the various things you should think through before naming your startup. Yes, but I’m also going to be someone who feels he HAS to get his opinion out, on his domain and not, so people will not think that some other dumber young wannabe is the next hot thing. Understand ‘sense’ folks and name your own startup. Allow no one else to do it for you. Its your kid, right? Here are a few things you can keep in mind before naming your kid.


1) You do not need to be a writer for this. 

Believing in yourself is essential. Name of your enterprise is highly connected to your business goals, the philosophy behind it, target customer segments and the work that your firm does. Once you know what you want from your business, naming it becomes really easy.

2) Write things down.

I got this tip from our incubator Mohit Bansal, L-pad. Even if its there in your head, writing it down helps. Write down the traits your business possesses and then mash things up. You gain clarity and your mind can wander off to greener pastures.

3) Understand the Market you’re in.

If its a software product, the audience is different. If you’re launching a bike-sharing program in rural areas, the audience is different. As the audience differs, so does the name of your company. Make sure the customer connects with the name and understands it. It is essential for the customer to be able to relate to it, otherwise there is a risk of rejection. You cannot take an ‘iTopia’ to the rural audience. You cannot take a ‘Time Bachao’ to the geek-folks.

4) “Any CEO will not choose his/her personal favorite name. He/She will choose the one that is most appropriate for the given situation.”

It is not about your personal favorites here. The name totally depends on the market, the product and the kind of positioning you want. We will discuss appropriate positioning now.

5) Positioning Matters. Yeah, it does.

It is important to have your customer relate at least one attribute to your company. Since you are here to solve a certain problem, the name needs to compliment the idea and support the entire concept. ‘What’ problem? ‘Why’ you? ‘How’ you? Answer these questions. Understand the emotions and situations in which the problem occurs and you solve it. You will have pretty much stuff to think about before finalizing a name. Listen. Understand. Learn.

6) Check out the competition.

Competitors exist to be competed against. Now, you can either launch an all-out campaign against them or behave as if they don’t exist. In the latter case, name plays an important role. When you exist without publicly recognizing the competition, the fresh change your company provides [name, service/attributes, goals] is key to your success. Be different and act different. Know your competition, study them and their policies. Know what goes on in their minds when they work. This is pretty easy if you log on to their websites and check out their blogs. Notice what things they highlight, notice what they do not. And then, drawing a map of their weaknesses- strike when the iron is red hot. Strike the weakest flank.

7) About non-English & inventing Words

You can always mash words together to create a new one. It opens up interesting possibilities but a disaster like ‘Fre-Mo’ [Freedom to Move, a Mumbai-based bike-sharing company] might garner negative feedback from people who are sensitive about names. Something like ‘Servicient’ [Service + Efficient] will not do the trick too, because people might simply fail to understand the significance. Toy around, get opinions and finalize. No fun without experimentation, no?

I would recommend non-English words only if the situation calls for it. If your customer is a broad-minded global citizen, non-English words [Dutch, French, German] might just do the trick. Do not do it for the heck of it! Not cool. If you are working on something for Dogs, ‘Barking Good’ will go miles than ‘Koester’ and ‘Steren’. Because simple English does wonders rather than going Dutch for the heck of it. Not cool.

Avoid looking desperate by doing things unnecessarily.

8) Go crazy at times. Everything does not need to make sense.

‘On Time RMS’ came up as a name for my first major project when I felt the need to pull my academic leg [RMS is Root Mean Square for engineers], ‘On Time’ being the USP for our electricians & plumbers while RMS also translated into ‘Repairs & Maintenance Services’. Later, we changed it to ‘Hammer & Mop’ on diversifying and realizing that ‘On Time RMS’ did not fit the bill anymore. Changing the name before Beta happens is cool. ‘Hammer & Mop’ has an equally irrelevant story behind it.
So does ‘Simple!’, ‘Frankaffe’ and ‘Flux Creek’. ‘Frankaffe’ is Frank+Coffee while ‘Flux Creek’ was born out of my desire to change ‘Frux Clique’. It is crazy, indeed. Yet, the names got compliments. And more importantly, the names fit their purpose [read- market, target segments] perfectly.

9) Get help.

Do get help if the task seems to be out of your reach. But do understand that no one will be able to understand your business the way you do. Even if you hire others to name the company for you, do not reluctantly agree to their choices, ever. Understand their perspective, clear out your doubts and hesitations. Be conscious and careful.

Call the shots, sensibly.

I would like to add some more points in another post.

That is one great thing about things.

You keep on learning and the perspective keeps on changing. Fun.

Drop me a mail and we can work stuff out for your Enterprise Inc.



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