Not easy finding a name for your firm
What’s in a name? A lot, when it comes to small-business success. The right name can make your company the talk of the town.
The right name can make your company the talk of the town. The wrong one can doom it to obscurity and failure. Ideally, your name should convey the expertise, value and uniqueness of the product or service you have developed.
Some experts believe that the best names are abstract, a blank slate upon which to create an image. Others think that names should be informative so customers know immediately what your business is. Some believe that coined names (that come from made-up words) are more memorable than names that use real words. Others think they’re forgettable.
In reality, any name can be effective if it’s backed by the appropriate marketing strategy. Here’s what you’ll need to consider in order to give your small business the most appropriate and effective name.
Coming up with a good business name can be a complicated process. You might consider consulting an expert, especially if you’re in a field in which your company name may influence the success of your business. Naming firms have elaborate systems for creating new names and they know their way around the trademark laws. They can advise you against bad name choices and explain why others are good.
The downside is cost. A professional naming firm may charge you a fortune to develop a name. That generally includes other identity work and graphic design as part of the package, Naming services that charge the minimum do exist, but spending a reasonable amount of money early for quality expert advice can save you money in the long term.
Start by deciding what you want your name to communicate. It should reinforce the key elements of your business. Your work in developing a niche and a mission statement will help you pinpoint the elements you want to emphasize in your name.
The more your name communicates to consumers about your business, the less effort you must exert to explain it. According to naming experts, entrepreneurs should give priority to real words or combinations of words over fabricated words. 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. Common pitfalls are geographic or generic names.
A hypothetical example is ‘Madembe Disk Drives.’
What if the company wants to expand beyond your locality of Madembe?
What meaning will that name have for consumers in Nairobi or Bujumbura? And what if the company diversifies beyond disk drives into software or computer instruction manuals?
How can a name be both meaningful and broad?
Descriptive names tell something concrete about a business -- what it does, where it’s located and so on. Suggestive names are more abstract. They focus on what the business is about.
Consider ‘Tanzatour,’ a name that was developed by one naming company to help promote package tours to Tanzania (hypothetical). Though it’s not a real word, the name is meaningful and customers can recognize immediately what’s being offered. Even better, ‘Tanzatour’ evokes the excitement of foreign travel.
When choosing a business name, keep the following tips in mind:
only to you but also to the kind of customers you are trying to attract.
name that conjures up pleasant memories so customers respond to your business on an emotional level.
only you understand.
your name unless your company is actually incorporated.