Quite a few people have asked me why I called my company Swamphen Enterprises. In reality, the main reason is that the name makes me smile! But is this good enough reason to use it as your company name?
I’m going to discuss a few ideas that can help you choose your company name and get something that you like and that is fit for purpose.
THE COMPANY NAME SHOULD REFLECT WHAT YOU DO
It is a good idea if your company name reflects what you do and re-enforces key elements of your business.
However, for me, this would make an extremely long and confusing name which no one would ever remember. It would be really difficult to explain that I cover:
- the design, test and analysis of antennas and other RF parts
- design and testing of radomes
- analysis of results from testing
- signal processing of RF signals
- use of anechoic chambers
- data science, specialising on the first look at data
- instructing in RF, coding, data science
- public speaking
and more in a short snappy title. I know other business have the issue that you don’t want to make your company name too prescriptive, thus allowing for future expansion, but this was not my problem. I couldn’t go with something that fully explained the work I do or could do, so I had to go with something more generic.
TO PUN OR NOT TO PUN
In some businesses being creative with your business name is great idea as it immediately fits the business you are building; in other areas this is not the case. You know your business best and will be able to make this decision.
I love a good pun, and it was very tempting to come up with a company name riffing on all things RF, but I did manage to refrain as it would not have covered everything I wanted to do.
NOT TOO LONG AND CONFUSING
If the name is too long or difficult to remember, no one will remember it and it will make finding you or your company difficult.
I’ve worked with companies whose name just hasn’t stuck with me for these reasons and I’ve had to remember the surname of the person I had worked with to get the company name from their email. Swamphen is reasonably short and made up of 2 well known words, so it does fit this idea.
MEMORABLE AND EASY TO PRONOUNCE
Your company name should be memorable, and easy to pronounce for your main audience.
In New Zealand a swamphen is known by its Māori name pukeko. Which is a lovely name, and I really wanted to use it, but someone had already beaten me to it. The full name for a pukeko is the Australasian swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus), so I went with a shortened version of this instead. This was possibly for the best as pukeko is not always a well-known word and could be difficult to pronounce.
Having said this I’ve had a few people wonder how to pronounce swamphen. For the record it is pronounced swamp-hen, not swam-fen.
IT SHOULD BRING YOU PLEASANT THOUGHTS
You should be proud of the business you have built and it should make you happy!
This is really why I ended up at Swamphen Enterprises for a name. I spent a long time trying to find a generic name that would make sense of the different types of work I wanted to do and failing. Every time I hear the name ‘Swamphen Enterprise’ it cheers me up and makes me smile. What could be better for a business name?
SO WHY SWAMPHEN?
This story goes back to childhood. I have always loved moorhens, they have been my favorite animal since I spent my childhood feeding them at Riverhead and Newmillerdam. I’m not sure why: it could be their huge feet, their slightly ungainly walk that is something straight out of the Jurassic era, their bright red shield, their tiny black fluffy chicks or their chirp which is often a chirped signal! In reality, I think it all started because they were small, blue and have a white tuft on their tail that bobs around as they walk. Wherever I go in the world I am always so happy to see a moorhen bobbing along.
So, why not ‘Moorhen Enterprises’ then? There are a few companies called moorhen something already; and I pronounce ‘moorhen’ like the Yorkshire person I am, which confuses a lot of people. But the main reason comes from a more recent change of my favourite animal during a trip to New Zealand.
When I went to New Zealand I saw some majestic blue birds, they have the same red shield on their head and just looked and acted like big blue moorhens. I immediately looked them up and they turned out to be the Australasian swamphen, a sub species of the purple swamphen, or pukeko if you are a local. I then spent the entirety of the rest of the trip pukeko spotting and learning about them and have been obsessed with them since.
I was correct, they are related to moorhens, as they are both rails (or rallidae) who are ground dwelling birds often associated with wetlands. You can find a rail everywhere on earth apart from Antartica. Rails include moorhens, coots, purple swamphens and takahēs to name a few. They are all great, but definitely swamphens and moorhens are my favourite, with my first place now being taken by the swamphens.
Don’t be sad if you can’t get to New Zealand to meet a swamphen, you now don’t need to. During a recent trip to Chester zoo I found a purple swamphen and it made my week. In the last year they have introduced a single female grey-headed swamphen, and she is divinely blue. Chester are looking to expand their collection of swamphens, and I can’t wait to go back and see them all, along with all the lovely moorhens they have on their site.