Playing the Name Game With Your Company

As a coach for mom entrepreneurs, I have helped many women pick a business name that suits them and the brand they want to build for their companies.I just came across this blog post from “The Mom Entrepreneur” herself, Traci Bisson, who runs The Mom Entrepreneur Support Group I’m a member of and love so much. She did a great job explaining a simple method for choosing a name for your company.


Is the name of your company limiting your marketability?

Posted: 29 Apr 2010 06:00 AM PDT

Recently, I was listening to the 80’s channel on Sirius Radio and heard a very pretty song that I did not recognize. I was actually shocked that I did not recognize the song or the name of the group since I consider myself very savvy about music from the 80’s.

Martha Quinn the host, and famous 80’s DJ, came on the radio after the song ended and asked if listeners knew why they had not heard more from Bourgeious Tagg. She explained that they quickly faded from the spotlight and their song, “I don’t mind at all” was considered a one-hit wonder. The group’s name was too hard to remember and so they could not be easily found online or in record stores, she explained.

This made me think about mom entrepreneurs starting businesses or struggling to grow one. Very few people might not realize that the name of their company may be limiting their marketability.

Entrepreneur.com says that making your business name so obscure, customers will never know what it means, is a mistake.

It’s great for a name to have a special meaning or significance – it sets up a story that can be used to tell the company message. But if the reference is too obscure or too hard to spell and pronounce, you may never have the opportunity to speak to that customer because they’ll simply pass you by as irrelevant.

What’s the best way for start-up entrepreneurs to approach the challenge of finding the perfect business name? In an article for Microsoft Office Live Small Business, Sarah Van Dyck, managing director for Seattle-based Modo Group, and strategic branding adviser to top Fortune 500 consumer and technology companies, recommends keeping it simple.

“A company name, by itself, can’t stand for everything that a company represents,” she says. “The best approach is to select a name that is memorable, own-able, and can stand out in a specific business category.”

Picking a name for your start up or growing and changing company should be taken very seriously. This is an important exercise, and mom entrepreneurs should spend time crafting and developing a company name until they get the right combination of words to fit what they do, and that the target market will respond to.

“A great name is the beginning of a great brand,” says Scott Allen, author of the article How to Create a Great Business Name. He suggests many tips for finding the perfect company name.

Tip # 1 Brainstorm. Think about how you want people to feel when they hear the name. Write down the words on paper and then categorize them by primary meaning.

Tip #4 Experiment. Start playing with combinations of your various words and partial words. Don’t be judgmental now — just make a list.

Tip # 5 Reflect. Review your list and just give some thought to each name. How does it make you feel when you hear it?

Tip #6 Communicate. Go over the list with someone you trust. Have them tell you how each name makes them feel, and how memorable they think it is.

Tip #9 Check domain names. You want to make sure that an appropriate domain name is available. You want YourCompanyName.com, of course. If that’s not available, you may want to reconsider.

AllBusiness.com advises Get your name right the first time.

If you do not choose your name carefully, you may be requested or required to change it, which will require changing your domain name, obtaining new listings in telephone and other directories, and purchasing new stationary, in addition to other unpleasant renaming tasks. Best to do your homework and get the name right the first time. There are two good reasons for this: Your business will be identified by its name and you will (hopefully) be living with the name for a long time.

So in order to avoid being a “one-hit wonder” or “fly by night business,” do your homework, talk to your target market, conduct research and create a winning name that will be the start of a memorable brand.

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