Tips for Business Start Ups: name your business to indicate the presence of product, not its absence.

One of the first most important things to do when you’re setting up your new business is to make sure the name indicates what you intend to produce, service or experience.

Albert wants to set up a horror theme entertainment which is designed to scare people enough to wet their pants in public. So he’s called it Alpine Meadows Explorathon, just to get people really interested. Betty wants to establish Liverpool Vodka along the same lines and Carol is intent on establishing Blue Sky Human Resource Consultancy: all excellent ventures which have aspirational titles which strongly suggest the presence of a particular experience in engaging with that business.

However, there won’t be an edelweiss anywhere to be seen when punters step off the bus in the afternoon of entertainment thsat Albert has prepared for them; more a case of nettles, brambles and unending ferns which get in the hair and make the afternoon an increasingly miserable experience; Liverpool Vodka will not made in Liverpool and will contain no vodka; and Blue Sky Marketing will soon be mired in the miserable realities of behaviour control.

Quite why businesses do this is anyone’s guess: perhaps it’s aspirational, perhaps it’s wishful thinking, perhaps it’s just presentational fluff. The word ‘community’ is also frequently in this used in this context within public sector operations with community policing, nursing and indeed arts used to suggest the presence of something when all to often the reality is the absence of aforesaid thing.

The problem is that this inability to name the business according to its presence, rather than an absence gives the business a bad name from the word go: promising one thing when the reality is the diametrical opposite hardly engenders confidence in the customer that they’re getting a does what it says on the tin experience. That advert for fence varnish might have been overly loud and crude – but it had the benefit of being straightforward and promising and both delivering the promise, as well as just promising a promise.

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