Things we didn’t know: Part 2 – What’s in a name?

Okay, okay, so everything’s in a name. One of our first priorities as cofounders of a currently-not-founded company was to come up with an excellent name.

However, like most things we’ve encountered thus far (and as anyone who’s had a child, pet or car already knows) finding a great name was easier said than done. So, we did what all people do when they’re faced with something they don’t know how to do these days – we asked Google.

google
Turns out, not so helpful.

Google searching “how to name your company” brings up some very practical things to consider when naming your business (e.g. checking whether the URL/twitter/instagram is available), but very little advice about a process you could use to get to the name in the first place. This is problematic because when presented with a blank page and the limitations of your own brain, you haven’t got any ideas that you need to do a URL check on. The advice that’s missing is how to spark those ideas – and a note to all entrepreneurial blog writers: a numbered list with entry “3. Brainstorm different names” is not helpful for this.

(FYI asking friends and family for assistance, if you have friends like mine, is also of no use – they thought we should name the company ‘Blob box’. I despair).

So, what did we do? Our first attempt at a process looked a little like this:

  1. Throw lots of words to do with periods/menstruation at a page
  2. Throw lots of words to do with subscription, boxes and delivery at a different page
  3. Try lots of combinations of these together
  4. Decide we hate everything we’ve come up with so far

Although one of the results of this method was the endlessly amusing ‘fanny pack’ (which I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know is still on the names of some of our internal documents) we really weren’t happy with what we came up with. Going through this method made us realise that a name that literally described the delivery service seemed too restrictive in case we wanted to expand the company in the future. So, we decided to try the following process instead:

  1. Decide company aims and values
  2. Throw words to do with company aims and values at a page
  3. Hate everything we came up with
  4. Repeat point 2 with even more tangential suggestions
  5. Stumble upon something we liked

(I realise that “Decide company aims and values” is about as unhelpful as the point “Brainstorm different names” that I complained about above, but a good place to start with this is to have a think about the things that are important to you and your founding team as individual people, and that will guide you to your overall company ideals.)

The moral of this story: finding a great name is definitely about quantity, not quality, and trying to approach it from as many different angles as possible. Once you get the right perspective, that will lead you down a train of thought where you’ll eventually get to something you like.

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