Sunday, September 10, 2006

 

Naming a Corporation

I'm planning to incorporate my new one-man software development business. I've got the necessary advice, information, forms, etc. The biggest roadblock is finding the right name.

"Kristopher Johnson, Inc." is the best I've come up with so far. It's pretty boring, but I already have the kristopherjohnson.com and kristopherjohnson.net domain names, and there isn't already another company with that name. Unfortunately, it doesn't describe what I do, and doesn't have much zazz to it.

I could expand it to something like "Kristopher Johnson IT Solutions, Inc.," but I really don't want to have to type or write something that long. I thought about shortening the "Kristopher Johnson" to "KJ," but then I discovered many, many businesses and products with "KJ" in their names. I've learned that "KJ" means "karaoke jockey," like a "DJ," and there is a lot of software out there to help KJ's do their jobs. I wouldn't want potential clients to think that was my main line of business.

I've come up with a few fictitious names, but they all have turned out to be already in use. I think the names "X Software," "X Solutions," "X Systems," and "X IT Services" are already in use for every word X in the English, Latin, and Greek languages. I imagined a few made-up words, like "codeslinger" and "solutioneer," but I've been beaten to those too. The thesaurus wasn't much help either.

I tried anagrams of my name. For "kristopher johnson," an anagram generator came up with "Shh! Jerk on portions." For "kristopher," I got "This porker." I found those unsatisfying.

While perusing the state's business name database, I noticed a few common strategies for generating unique business names:

Maybe I'll just use my social security number, with "Inc." tacked on the end. I could even use a GUID, but I suspect I'll have trouble getting people to write a check to "{0624e1a0-4149-11db-b0de-0800200c9a66}, Inc."

I'm reminded of that game where you generate your "drag name" by combining the name of your first pet with the name of the street where you grew up. How would "Ling-Ling Ridgefield, Inc." go over with my clients?

I'd like to use an off-the-wall name like "Worldwide Pants" or "Supercool Manchu" (which are both already taken), but I'm hoping to court the customers who can afford to pay $100/hour to somebody like me, and I think they get scared off by stuff like that.

This is a little like naming a child. You want something that you like, and which you think will still make sense 20 years from now. But this is more difficult due to the need for uniqueness—I wouldn't have to worry that naming my child "Dave" might result in trademark lawsuits from all the other Dave Johnsons in the world.


Comments:
Kris:

My wife is in advertising and one of her friends does this for a living. I'll ask around and see if we can come up with anything.

Any ideas will be sent to you via email [after I register them! haha].
 
I've come up with a name. I'll reveal it after everything is fully registered, certificated, etc.
 
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