Thinking About Starting a Business? Part 2 – What’s in a Name?

What's in a Name_bitterOkay, okay – you’ve decided to start a business (see previous post). Congrats on that decision. Now is the toughest part (as long as you know what business you’re going to be in already – if not, then you need to figure that out first!) Let’s just go with the fact that you know WHAT business you’re going to be in…Step 2: You need to really THINK about the name of said business. There are so many things to consider. First how easy is it to say? Say it to yourself 50 times. Then ask friends to listen to you say it. Ask what they hear. Also, ask them in person AND on the phone. Write it out. Type it out. Does it look decent on paper?

Then find the URL (website link) for that name. You can do a simple search on to see if the URL is available. Check to see how many double letters are in the URL – does it look strange?

For the love of all that is holy do NOT pick a .info, .club, even a .net is sketchy. It may sound cute – and could even play into the name (think – but most EVERY normal person in the world is going to put a .com on the end of your business and search. If you can’t find the .com – find a different name.And please do not put dashes between the name and think that’s okay…imagine yourself saying to someone on the phone, “Please visit my website: www dot I dash am underscore an dash idiot dot com!”

If you can’t get the Facebook page – find a different name. At this point in the game it isn’t too late. Once you’ve registered and pXerox-logorinted your business cards – it is.

Hire a graphic designer to create a freakin’ logo (don’t know of anyone? Go to Fiverr and pay someone $5 to create something for you. Actually, for the money, I’d get 5 people to create a logo and see which one I like best). I am amazed at the number of businesses that start out with no logo. Sometimes the simple, typset name will do…but unless you’ve got the money of Xerox, you’re never going to be able to establish your name to be equated with your brand. (And even Xerox have added a cool image to their name). I know, I know. I can hear you whining right now, “This is too hard.” “I don’t have time for this”. If you can’t take the time BEFORE the business has started…I have very little hope in your success for the future.

Here are some examples of owners who never thought twice – they just ran with it:


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Get what we’re talking about here?






sweetIt’s so much easier to promote something that has a great name. The more that name indicates what you actually do, the better.  If it doesn’t have your actual product/service type in the name, then it should be very catchy and memorable (like The Bitter & Sweet!)

Most of all, you don’t want to confuse people by having your name say one thing, and your actual business offering another.  We have a dear friend whose business name is Red Eagle Leadership Academy.  That would be great if she were a corporate trainer or maybe a business school, but she teaches martial arts.  So now on her tiny budget she has to both define her business and market the benefits. It can be done, but just realize it makes the job of marketing and branding a whole lot harder (and more expensive).

FYI, did you know that Pearl Jam used to be called Mookie Blaylock??  Just doesn’t have the same impact at all, does it? (You can check out some other band names that were changed before the magic happened here…)

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