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What's In A Name? Six Essential Elements to Naming Your Business

By

Trade Show Coach Susan Friedmann

Trade Show Coach Susan Friedmann

Selecting a name for your new business is not easy. A name does more than identify your company.

It tells customers who you are, what you do, and more than a little about how you do it. Your name differentiates you from your peers, peaks customer interest, and invites further investigation -- if you do it right.

I didn't do it right. At least, not at first.

All entrepreneurs make mistakes, and I made one of my first ones right off the bat. Thrilled with the fledgling business I was starting, this precious enterprise so near and dear to my heart, I christened my company Diadem Communications. Diadem means crown -- a fitting name for what I felt was a crowning achievement.

What does Diadem say to you? Does it evoke thoughts of me coming into your company, training your sales team to be the best booth staff ever, ensuring that every single trade show you attend turns out to be amazingly successful? Does it make me sound so good that you just can't wait to hire me?

No. It doesn't say that to me either.

And even worse, it didn't say that to any of my potential customers. Going by name alone, no one would be able to determine the least bit of information about me, my company, or the services we offer. The name said nothing, and it did nothing for me.

The name had to go. More importantly, it had to be replaced by something effective.

How do you come up with an effective name? Consider these six elements:

An Effective Name

1. Tells Who You Are: Your name should reflect your identity. This is an essential aspect of branding.

You'll be promoting this name, getting it in front of as many eyes as possible as often as possible. How do you want the public to think of you?

For some, that means integrating your personal name into the name of your business. This is very common in some professions: legal, medical and accounting leap to mind.

Others prefer a more descriptive name. One successful small baker runs her business under the name "The Cookie Lady" because that's how her first customers identified her. It's doubtful that most of the customers even know her first name (It's Pat) but everybody in her market knows "The Cookie Lady".

2. Tells What You Do: It's incredible how many company names give little, if any, indication of what type of work the organization actually does. Take the following examples:

- Smith and Sons
- Hulbert Brothers
- Only One

Can you tell me what any of these companies does? Of course you can't. They're relying on customers already knowing who they are (a tricky proposition for new businesses!) or by having their name found in 'context', such as a yellow pages or on-line business directory.

3. Tells How You Do It: Words are very powerful. By carefully selecting what words you use in your name, you can convey a great deal about your company's image.

Consider the names of three different massage and bodywork centers:

- Champlain Valley Therapeutic Massage
- Clouds Above Massage
- Speedy Spa

All three companies are providing the same service: massage therapy. Yet the first appears to favor a more medical approach, the second, a dreamy, luxury approach, and the third focuses on fast service.

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