What’s in a name?
When it comes to small-business success, A LOT. The right name can make your company the talk of the town; the wrong one can doom it. Smart business owners, put just as much effort into naming a business as they did into coming up with the idea, writing a business plan and selecting a market and location. Ideally, your name should convey the expertise, value and uniqueness of the product or service you’ve developed.
There’s a lot of controversy over what makes a good business name. Some experts believe that the best names are abstract. Others think that names should be informative, so customers know immediately what your business is. Some believe that names that come from made-up words are more memorable than names that use real words.
In reality, any type of name can be effective if it’s backed by the appropriate marketing strategy.
Given all the considerations that go into a good company name, shouldn’t you consult an expert, especially if you’re in a field in which your company name will be visible and may influence the success of your business? And isn’t it easier to get help from a professional?
Yes. Just as an accountant will do a better job with your taxes and an ad agency will do a better job with your ad campaign, a naming firm will be more adept at naming your firm than you will.
The downside is cost. The benefit, however, is that spending this money now can save you in the end. They are familiar with design elements, such as how a potential name might work on a sign or stationery.
If you can spare the money from your budget, professional help could be a solid investment. After all, the name you choose now will affect your marketing plans for the duration of your business.
The more your name communicates to consumers, the less effort you have to put into explaining it.
People prefer words they can relate to and understand. That’s why professional namers universally condemn strings of numbers or initials as a bad choice. On the other hand, it is possible for a name to be too meaningful.
Specific names make sense if you intend to stay in a narrow niche forever. If you have any ambitions of growing or expanding, however, you should find a name that is broad enough to accommodate your growth.
Before you start thinking up names for your business, try to define the qualities that you want your business to be identified with. If you’re starting a hearth-baked bread shop, for example, you might want a name that conveys freshness, warmth, and a homespun atmosphere. Immediately, you can see that names like “Kathy’s Bread Shop” or “Arlington Breads” would communicate none of these qualities. But consider the name “Open Hearth Breads.” The bread sounds homemade, hot, and just out of the oven. Moreover, if you diversified your product line, you could alter the name to “Open Hearth Bakery.” This change would enable you to hold onto your suggestive name without totally mystifying your established clientele.