Company naming for people who run businesses (not just entrepreneurs)
In recent years, 'entrepreneur’ has become a job title in its own right, often disconnected from what the entrepreneur’s company actually does. ('Serial entrepreneur' is another contemporary job description, and one that can in most cases be read as 'an entrepreneur who hasn’t quite made it'.) Across the web there are endless articles written by and about passionate, driven, frighteningly ambitious go-getters, some of whom might one day become as big as the noise they're making today.
We read giddying tales of high stakes funding rounds, growth hacking, angels, MVPs, M&As, JVs, scaleability, intrapreneurs and solopreneurs, and how at some point they'll work out how to monetise their proposition, or ideally sell their company before it needs to generate revenue. This world certainly sounds exciting and makes for interesting reading, but what about the rest of us down here on Earth?
The real world of business
In the real world we run excellent though otherwise relatively conventional businesses. Our ideas, products and services are more about delivery and quality than epoch-bending innovation and market disruption. Companies have staff, not stakeholders, and there are bills to pay. It’s still exciting enough to us; it just doesn’t always look as exciting when you write it down. And not all of us would call ourselves entrepreneurs; we simply run our own businesses.
Sure, we all want our companies to be as successful as possible, but we have to achieve this within the realms of reality. We know that having a VC mentor with deep pockets would give us a leg up. We understand that appointing high profile marketing supremos, hiring a hotshot branding agency and a team of PR gurus could give our business a major boost. But all this is out of the question for almost all business owners, who have to cut their coats according to their cloth.
This means finding pragmatic and affordable ways of 'spreading the word’ and presenting businesses professionally.
Obviously, communications and networking technologies and apps have made reaching thousands of potential customers more achievable and affordable than ever, even for the smallest companies. This potential doesn’t make it easy, but with organisation, dogged perseverance - and a bit of luck - it can be done.
The limitations of technology (however cool it can seem)
Technology still hasn't cracked the challenge of naming and branding businesses, despite some valiant attempts by online naming generators. Although software can create endless lists of keyword-based available domain names from keywords the user provides, it can’t generate or identify names that just ‘feel right' to a human. All you'll ever get from a generator is left-brained, algorithm-driven results. In other words, cold, logical and, by definition, unimaginative.
Having worked as branding consultants for most of our working lives, we believe that, along with social media, cloud-based apps and software, and countless other democratised tools, the new wave of ‘brandable domains’ can provide an alternative solution to a real problem faced by real-world businesses.
Brandable domains are pre-registered domain names that can be purchased 'off the peg', and have the potential to become brands. It's an area of branding that is beginning to mature from its rather woeful key-word based origins although, admittedly, it can still be hard to find truly 'brandable' names among the dross. Effectively, they're company names waiting for the right business to adopt them, and you can read more about them here and in other Novanym posts. Most importantly, most of them are created by humans, not algorithms. But here are some tips for picking out a great domain from the not-so-good.
Brandable domains and the democratisation of creativity
We put brandable domains in the same bracket as online photolibraries. Once upon a time you’d have to commission a photographer or illustrator to create the image you want, which could take weeks or sometimes months to organise and complete. With today’s photolibraries the photographer and illustrators are still making the images, but the access to that creativity is instant and more pragmatic than commissioning them directly. Another great parallel is the emergence of web-builders. The democratisation of creativity is, at last, arriving.
Of course, we would say that brandable domains are worth a look: it's what we do. But in age of multi-million dollar funding and entrepreneurial mega-hype, it's nice to know there's a straightforward, pragmatic naming solution for regular business people.