How I got my creative juices flowing while searching a company name
In January 2016 I'm going to start my career as an independent web application developer and data visualization expert. For weeks I thought I've found a good name (raquo). Before registering the respective Internet domain I did a little bit of research on what makes a good company name. It became apparent that raquo would be a bad choice. As a consequence I dug deeper and found some good articles about the art of finding names.
I wrote up my findings in a previous blog post.
As a follow-up post, here are my experiences with the process and with which company name I ended up.
Frustration is kicking in
As described in my previous blog post I created a list of core benefits, attributes and values of my future company. This requires to think about yourself and what you would like to accomplish for your clients. Here is a list of questions I asked myself
- Why are customers going to hire me?
- Since I'm not yet active as a freelancer, which of my qualities did the customers of my previous employers valued the most?
- Thinking about the leads I already have, what would be my goals when working with them?
- Why did they even showed interest in working with me?
- What are my general strengths?
- How does the process look like when someone has chosen to work with me?
- What are my general believes when it comes to software development and data visualization?
I answered these questions (and some others) in a writing somewhat similar to an inner monologue. After that I created a list of core benefits, attributes and values. Finally I prioritized them.
Next I created a file with the three name finding strategies (derive from core company values, names based on positive connotations, metaphors reflecting core company values) as headlines.
Now I was set up to find my perfect company name. Except that ... not much happened. What followed were three to four very exhausting hours. Sure, I had come up with some names. But almost all were too generic. And almost all had data or vision as a pre- or suffix. My working day ended with me be frustrated and continuing to think about names the whole evening – without a satisfying result.
The one trick that helped to boost my creativity
I somehow anticipated that finding a company name wasn't going to happen within 30 minutes. After giving myself a one day break I decided to tackle the challenge again. After a few minutes in the process it was going to become the same straining slog again. But only until I started with something that turned out to get my creative juices flowing.
Instead of staring at the three naming strategies and trying to think about names, I went to the list of benefits, attributes and values and started to think of things, concepts, animals etc. that would reflect those qualities. Starting with reliablity I questioned myself:
- What is considered to be reliable / dependable in nature?
- tides, air, water ...
- How would I call someone I rely on?
- fellow, companion, friend ...
- On which fundamental concepts do humans rely on?
- time, natural laws ...
- Which natural laws do exist?
- gravity ...
- Which attributes would describe a reliable computer system?
- stable, constant, consistent ...
- What do we rely on when making decisions?
- instinct ...
- How are people called to whom we rely on in certain situation?
- pilots, courier ...
I'd like to emphasize that now this whole process turned to be fun. A new metaphor would come to my mind, I would look up the term on the web and would find some new metaphors. I did the same with the remaining items of my core values list and every now and then a new company name came to my mind.
The almost perfect company name
I had fun with this exercise for about two hours when ScalingCurve eventually crossed my mind. After verifying that scalingcurve.com was even available, I was sold on it.
Here is why I think ScalingCurve is almost a perfect name for my business
- composed of English words the name will allow me to do international gigs if I want to
- it's not a fantasy name, hence pretty much everyone should be able to spell it correctly
- the people in my German speaking target market should be able to spell the name too
- in terms of data visualization scale and curve are two important concepts
- the two words have positive connotations
- in the area of software startups – an area I'm particularly interested in – scaling a startup is essential
- scaling a startup manifests itself in a positive growth curve
- a lot of business owners like to have growing revenue and profit curves – which is what I hope customers are going to hire me for to help them with
- the name is not tied to my current services because ScalingCurve reflects the results I aim to achieve for my clients
I already registered the respective domains and I plan to continue writing about my journey as an independent IT entrepreneur on this blog. If you're interested how things turn out for me, ping me on Twitter or contact me via email.
If you're searching a company name yourself, I highly recommend reading the Phil Davis' articles at tungstenbranding.com.